A Jealous God

I have been thinking a bit this week about the idea of God being a jealous God.

Earlier in the week I posted part of a blog by Scotty Smith (from his book Everyday Prayers, which is also available online) where he says:

That you are jealous for our love is the greatest compliment you could possibly pay us. Indeed, Jesus, restore to us the joy of being loved by you in the gospel. Restore us to loving you as your much-beloved bride.

Somehow we don’t much like the idea of God being a jealous God. I think this is because, as human beings, we often see and demonstrate the ugly side of jealousy. This is substantiated in Scripture:

Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy? Proverbs 27:4.

For jealousy arouses a husband’s fury, and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge. Proverbs 6:34.

Love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. Song of Solomon 8:6.

I find what Don Carson has to say on the subject of jealousy very helpful. In his book For the Love of God Volume 1, when he talks about Exodus 33, he says the following:

‘These chapters exemplify the truth that God is a jealous God (Exodus 20:5; 34:14). For one human being to be jealous of another is sinful: we are finite, and we are called to be stewards of what we have received, not jealous of others. But for God not to be jealous of his own sovereign glory and right would be a formidable failure: he would be disowning his own unique significance as God, implicitly conceding that his image-bearers have the right to independence.’

So God is a jealous God because He is God. He is sovereign, He is unique. We were created to be His image-bearers. We messed up so He sent His Son to redeem us back from sin and Satan’s rule. Now we belong to Him and He is jealous for us – so jealous that He will stop at nothing to guard that special relationship He has with us.

Every minute of every day we are worshipping – worshipping someone or something. We were made to worship God. But we so easily make other things and other people the goal of our worship. Any minute of the day when someone or something else is more important to me than God, my worship has been displaced. And God is jealous. He wants my love. He wants me to delight in Him as He delights in me.

That you are jealous for our love is the greatest compliment you could possibly pay us. Indeed, Jesus, restore to us the joy of being loved by you in the gospel. Restore us to loving you as your much-beloved bride.

 

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