As a child, I always pictured God off in the distance, sitting on a throne, comfortably situated, well dressed, somewhat detached in attitude. I suppose I have outgrown that image, but it still exists in my memory bank.
Thankfully, Isaiah’s description is not of a detached God sitting inertly on a throne. Isaiah’s God is impassioned and tireless, like one who rolls up their sleeves and gets their hands dirty. This God is razor focused on a goal, passionate about the desire for justice, righteousness, and peace. The God Isaiah describes will act with zeal to make those things happen.
I am a “words person.” Occasionally, I zero in on a word that I have used all my life, and suddenly wonder if I am using it correctly. When time seems to have obscured its meaning, I look up the definition. This time I looked up zeal.
Various dictionaries define zeal as “intense emotion compelling action.” Zeal implies “energetic and unflagging pursuit of an aim or devotion to a cause,” or “fervent or enthusiastic devotion, often extreme or fanatical in nature.” Its synonyms include passion, fervor, perseverance, zest, urgency, verve, sincerity, and spirit.
Wait a minute, devotional readers. Notice that the definition of “zeal” includes the word “devotion.” Devotion is “an ardent attachment or affection, religious ardor or zeal.” God’s zealous devotion to us and our wellbeing creates a devotion in us for the God who offers us salvation. If we let it, God’s zeal nurtures a zeal within us. When that happens, the circle of devotion and zeal is complete. Would you describe your daily devotion to God as a time full of zeal?
How is God’s spirited devotion to you actively reflected in your devotion to God?
Zealous God, may your zeal and passion inspire a zeal and passion in each of us, so that we, like you, will seek after justice and peace. Amen.