If you made a list of God’s attributes what would top your list. Like me, you might start with words like “loving,” “merciful,” “gracious,” and “forgiving.” What about “jealous?” Would you write that attribute on your list?
Most of us probably wouldn’t include jealousy in our top ten attributes of God. Yet, the Bible tells us over and over that our God is a jealous God. In Exodus 34:14, the Lord warned Israel, “Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.”
The first two commandments reveal the reason for God’s jealousy:
You must not have any other god but me. You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind… You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. Ex 20:4-5, NLT
Our God demands – and has the right to – our exclusive devotion. The one true God, Creator of the heavens and the earth, will not tolerate sharing the worship that He alone deserves with anyone or anything else.
I believe we tend to skip over this particular characteristic of God because to us it sounds negative. The Bible clearly teaches that our jealousy is sinful (Gal 5:19-21, Romans 13:13, James 3:14 ). But when we desire things or long for admiration it stems from pride and selfishness. We don’t deserve the honor or recognition we crave. Only God has the right to receive all honor and glory and worship.
“God’s jealousy means that God continually seeks to protect His own honor.” Wayne Grudem, “Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine”
As God’s child I should also seek to protect His honor. Does my life glorify Him? Have I allowed anything to take His rightful place? Have I given God any reason to be jealous? I pray that instead of rousing God’s jealousy, my life will bring Him honor and glory. He certainly deserves it. (Thursday’s post will explore whether or not we can ever display godly jealousy.)
Is there anything in your life today that would cause God to be jealous? How do you feel today about the truth that God is jealous over you?
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