Summary: We should be captured by the idea that the God of the Universe is jealous for us. God in His infinite power and glory is concerned about you and me.
“He Is Jealous for Me
I was recently listening to a contemporary Christian song “Oh, How He Loves Me.” by David Crowder and my heart was particularly captured by one line in the lyrics. “He (God) is jealous for me?” The lyrics say, “He is jealous for me, Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree, bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy. When all of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory, And I realize just how beautiful You are, And how great Your affections are for me.”
This song refers to a passage found in Exodus 20:4-6, “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; (5) you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, (6) but showing mercy to thou-sands, to those who love Me and keep My command-ments.”
Exodus chapter twenty is of course Moses deliver-ing the Ten Commandments. Verses four through six are the Second Commandment, “Thou Shalt Make No Graven Images.” But today I do not us to look at the second commandment per say. I want us to look beyond the mere command not to worship anyone or anything but God and look at why Moses tells us that one should not give our affection and worship to anyone or any-thing but God.
I was captured by the idea that the God of the Universe is jealous for me. God in His infinite power and glory is concerned about me. He is like a loving parent He cares what I do. A parent who does not care what their child does or what becomes of their child does not love that child. God is jealous of my best interest! How amazing is that?
So for just a little while this evening I want to explore the idea that God is jealous for me.
First, The Meaning God’s Jealousy.
So what does it mean when it says that God is jealous? Is this simply a way of God using human characteristics to describe Himself? Is He saying this to make us feel good about ourselves, when in fact He is not jealous? No! Or did the translators just get this word wrong when it should have been translated merciful or something? No! The Hebrew word translated “jealous” literally means to become intensely red. It seems to refer to the changing color of the face or the rising heat of emotions which are associated with passion over something dear to us.
When we think of the characteristics of God, jealousy is not one that immediately leaps to our minds. Yet five times in the Old Testament the Hebrew word (qannâ') translated “jealous” is used to describe God. What these five verses (Exodus 20:5, 34:14, Deut 4:24, 5:9, 6:10) have in common is that they all share the same Hebrew adjective, qannâ' (Strong's H7067), translated with the English word "jealous." The interesting thing about this word is that it is only used in reference to God. In no instance is the word qannâ' used to describe human jealousy. But God not only accepts jealousy as a trait, He even takes it on as I His name, Exodus 34:14 states, “…whose name is Jealous…”
What does is mean that God is a jealous God?
Wait a minute. Jealousy, isn’t that a sin? Normally the word jealousy carries a negative connation. Through-out the New Testament in places like Romans 13:3, and Galatians 5:20 it is listed as a vice not a virtue. In I Corinthians 13:4, when the Apostle Paul lists the char-acteristics of true love, he says, ‘Love is not jealous.’ So how can God be jealous? Great question. Not understanding the answer to that question was Oprah's point of departure from orthodox Christianity. Oprah states that “I was in my 20s, and I remember sitting in a church… (interestingly this is purported to be Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s church) the minister was preaching about—….about how God—"the Lord thy God was a jealous God and the Lord thy God would condemn us for whatever," and I remember I—I had a spiritual aha! There. And I was in my late 20s, and I suddenly thought, "How can this God who is all loving and all powerful, why would God be jealous of me?" [Finding Your Spiritual Path Webcast Transcript January 14, 2009 www.oprah.com/spirit/Finding-Your-Spiritual-Path-Webcast-Transcript/6]
Oprah states that this was as an “aha” moment for her. This was a moment that caused Oprah to turn from her childhood faith to a New Age faith in God of her own making because she could not believe that a God of love could be a jealous God. Note the specific point which caused her spiritual “aha” was in fact an utter misunderstanding of what the Bible says.