[Column] God of Jealousy

God has many names among which is jealousy: “Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.”(Exodus 34:14). He described Himself as jealous God as He promulgated the first two Commandments against worshipping false gods and making idols (Exodus 20:3-5). Jealousy in this context is a holy and divine jealousy completely different from human envy. This emotion in Hebrew is Kanah, which means God’s holy and zealous love in preserving all that belongs to Him. Therefore God’s jealousy is a passionate longing for us and an expression of His love. Apostle James says, “humbly accept the word planted in you” (James 1:21). Christianity is a religion of the heart. We must decide whether to set our hearts on God or the world.

God is straightforward and decisive. He does not love perfunctorily. Song of Solomon 8:6 says, “for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.” How greatly God love us to the point of allowing His only Son to be crucified on the Cross. His desire to keep us in His bosom away from the world is described as blazing jealousy. From the realistic point of view, there is no reason for God to be jealous for us because we have no qualifications or merits to deserve God’s jealousy. The fact that God is jealous for us in spite of our deficiency is a sign of God’s love and a great blessing for us. We must remember, however, that His love that burns like blazing fire is to be reciprocated. In a relationship, affection is mutual. It is the same with our relationship with God. Worshiping of false gods or idols result in destruction (Deuteronomy 4:24). Earthly desires are also idolatry (Colossians 3:5).There is an old saying, “Avarice blinds our eyes.” Covetousness blinds our spiritual eyes so that we may not see God.

We must not love money more than God. Nor do we must love our business, worldly knowledge, and prestige more than God. Reason? Children? They are inferior to God. Loving the world more than God is spiritual adultery. The three children Hosea had from his marriage to adulterous Gomer were Jezreel, Loruhamah, and Loammi. The name Jezreel means “to scatter” signifying the wrath of God; Loruhamah means “no mercy” signifying the departure of God’s grace; Loammi means “not my people” signifying God’s abandonment. Prophet Hosea’s message is that God will take away His grace and mercy and bring His judgment if we commit spiritual adultery through worldliness. Friendship with the world is enmity against God (James 4:4). The jealous fire of God will bring destruction on our lives (Deuteronomy 29:20).

As God is jealous for us, we must be jealous for God. We must fall in love only with Him and grow jealous if someone else loves God more than we. We are to be jealous if there are those who are more Bible literate, Spirit-filled, and Christ-like in character than we are. Even Jesus Christ grows jealous (Matthew 10:39) and the Holy Spirit envies intensely (James 4:5). The Holy Spirit does not grant us joy and peace if we love the world. Without joy and peace, we cannot overcome the world. The desire of the Holy Spirit is against the bodily desire and vice versa. If we continue to love the world, God brings us to submission even by force.

We are to choose between the passion for God and the passion for sin and the world. If we are inflamed with the passion for sin, we will perish. If on the other hand we are inflamed with the passion for God, we will live. We need Phinehas’s fervor (Numbers 25:10-13) and holy jealousy. If the love for the world enters our hearts, we cannot truly love God (Joshua 24:19). Let us engrave in our hearts jealous God and love only Him.

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