There’s no mistaking it: God loves a zealot. A real, off-the-beaten-path wacko.
John the Baptist, clothed in animal skins, wandering around the wilderness.
Saul of Tarsus, persecutor-at-large turned Paul the Apostle, author of over half the New Testament.
Peter, jumping out of boats and hacking people’s ears off.
Another Simon, “Simon the zealot,” was a disciple.
Just about all the OT prophets were zealots.
And there’s David, who danced in front of the Ark.
“the zeal of the Lord hath eaten me up”
…wreaking holy havoc in the Temple…(but it was HIS HOUSE).
Chances are, if you aim to please God, He will give you plenty of opportunity to make yourself a fool in the eyes of men. You might be the one shouting a little louder, dancing a little wilder in His presence, and dressing a little stranger than the norm. If it is truly to His glory, there is nothing more beautiful. It’s the overflow of something built up, something utterly consuming inside. The presence of a Holy God that by necessity overwhelms His fleshly house and spills over. It’s messy, loud, and a little strange. But it’s the glory!
Lest I cause someone to stumble, let me clarify: this zeal was not a ploy to attract positive attention; it usually had the opposite effect, in fact. The attention gotten was rarely (if ever) positive, but a disruption to the atmosphere, a shaking-into-the-present of minds lulled to sleep by the rhythm of the day.
For seven days, during the Feast of Tabernacles, the people watched as priests poured water over the altar from the pool of Siloam and worshiped in ritual. On the last great day of the feast, as they gathered in solemn assembly, Jesus stood up at a climactic moment and disturbed the peace.
“Ho, every one that thirsteth come to me and drink!“
He shouted. Total zealot.
“How dare he!” huffed the Pharisees, straightening miter and tallit and shooting him a withering look. Ironic, when they were the fig trees withering from the inside, whited sepulchres with no life within. “Disturbing our beautiful tradition!”
I do not advocate chaos–let all things be done decently and in order (1 Corinthians 14:40). But it is within the perfect order and design of God to fill us to overflowing with His presence. While the spiritual evidence is unmistakeable and demonstrative, the humanity is still humble and does not seek its own glory. This is the order He has chosen. Spiritual zeal, humble humanity.
When was the last time you were eaten up from the inside, so hungry and thirsty and desperate for Jesus that it didn’t matter how you looked, how loud you were, or who heard you?
“Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.”(Psalm 42:7)
Next time you find yourself quoting this, you can humbly blush to those around you, “Pardon my messy worship–that’s just my cup overflowing!”
..”be zealous therefore, and repent…” (Rev 3:19)