Summary: God’s glory is seen even in His jealousy.
Glory of God Series
May 4th, 2008
The Glory of God in His Jealousy
Odds are if you have ever really cared for another person you have experienced jealousy in one form or another. Some people experience it far more easily than others. So for those of you who might not be as familiar with what jealousy looks like, I want to start off by showing you. Picture a couple who are in love. They are out on walk on a nice spring afternoon enjoying the pleasure of each other’s company. Picture that in your head and you have the scene ready to go and all cued up. So let’s hit play and see what happens.
Now…jealousy is one of those abstract ideas that can be hard to visualize, so I thought it would be easiest to paint a picture for you. Jealousy comes in many shapes and sizes. When a boyfriend sees his girlfriend checking out another guy we might encounter some jealousy. See what happens is this couple is spending quality time together. They are in love and everything is great. The problem is when her attention drifts when she sees something else that she likes. At first she is with the one she loves and that is great. He has her undivided attention. She is with the one she loves but right here her attention is turned as this object of her distraction walks by. She is taken in and takes her eyes off of her love…and they follow this person that doesn’t love her. So this lustful emotion walks by and distracts her from what she has. The major thing here though is not her attentions shift, it is the resulting effect on him. In seeing her attention and desire move to another, the man here becomes jealous. So this face…this expression he has…this is jealousy.
This week we are looking at the Glory of God in His jealousy. God is a jealous God. Normally the word jealousy carries a negative connotation. Throughout the New Testament in places like Romans 13:13, 1 Corinthians 3:3, and Galatians 5:20 it is listed as vice not a virtue. If jealousy is something to be avoided how then can it be a characteristic of God? If jealousy is a bad thing, then how can God have anything to do with it? Maybe God is not really jealous maybe jealousy is a bad word for it. Well jealousy would be defined as being intolerant or un-accepting of rivalry or unfaithfulness. God is passionately intolerant of rivalry and unfaithfulness, so God is jealous. He is a jealous God and strangely enough it is out of His jealousy that we see even better how glorious He is. God’s glory is seen in His jealousy.
Jealousy is a strong emotion that also gets its power from passion. If there is no passion, then there is no jealousy. If you do not really care about someone then nothing about them would make you jealous. What I find really interesting though, is that we get the word jealousy from the same word that means zeal. Zealous and jealous come from the same word. This is really cool. Think about it what this means: these two ideas are similar or linked in a way. You see this word can mean two different things based on its intention or on the object of attention. You see both jealousy and zeal root in the same emotion. When you think about it, zeal and jealousy are actually very similar both in how they express themselves and in the feeling that they evoke. Zeal is considered a good thing, but sometimes it is not. Jealousy is considered a bad thing, but sometimes it is not.
Scripture even says on numerous occasions that God is jealous. Take for example Pslam 78:56:
Ps 78:56 But they put God to the test and rebelled against the Most High; they did not keep his statutes. Ps 78:57 Like their fathers they were disloyal and faithless, as unreliable as a faulty bow. Ps 78:58 They angered him with their high places; they aroused his jealousy with their idols. Ps 78:59 When God heard them, he was very angry; he rejected Israel completely. Ps 78:60 He abandoned the tabernacle of Shiloh, the tent he had set up among men. Ps 78:61 He sent the ark of his might into captivity, his splendor into the hands of the enemy. Ps 78:62 He gave his people over to the sword; he was very angry with his inheritance. Ps 78:63 Fire consumed their young men, and their maidens had no wedding songs; Ps 78:64 their priests were put to the sword, and their widows could not weep.
Or sometimes God even refers to Himself as being jealous, like in Zechariah 8: