Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth [generation] of them that hate me; And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. Exodus 20:4-6
When I lived in Texas I would plan my personal schedule around the Dallas Cowboy games. A friend finally asked me why I do that, and pointed out to me that the Dallas Cowboys don’t care about me. He was right. I was making someone a priority who did not really care about me. After all, when did they ever show up at UPS, where I worked to cheer me on? Today I only pay homage to God because He is the only One who loved me enough to die for me. He is the only One who cheers me on by His love and mercy each and every day. He is a jealous God. Not jealous for His ego. He is jealous for my welfare and does not want me to fall into the hands of someone who will not care for and love me the way He does. God does not so much “punish” the person who hates him as much as the person who hates and rejects Him, refuses His protection and brings disaster upon himself. Mercy comes to those who keep (shamar) or cherish His promises.