Posts Tagged ‘Exodus 34:14’

English: monument in front of the Grace Fellow...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Remember Commandment #2?

“You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God am a jealous God” (Exodus 20:4-5a, emphasis added).

God reaffirmed this trait of his several chapters later: “Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God” (34:14, again, emphasis added).

Doesn’t that seem…odd? Jealousy seems such a petty, immature emotion. By contrast, God is holy and perfect, so how can he be jealous?

First, we can’t compare God’s jealousy to that of people. Human jealousy often grows out of discontent and selfish desires. It can cause reactions of bitterness, unkindness, and anger.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By contrast, God’s jealousy is “holiness reacting to evil in a way that is morally right and glorious” (J.I. Packer, Knowing God, p. 169). His jealousy grows out of a desire to preserve his relationship with his people. After all, he made us. Every human being belongs to him, whether he/she acknowledges that fact or not.

God’s jealousy is an aspect of his love that motivates him to action. He knows that loyalty to himself and his ways is what’s best for us. So he provided the way for mankind to experience full, abundant life with him.  Through his Son, Jesus, he bought us with his own blood.

The Death of Jesus

The Death of Jesus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And what does that full, abundant life include?

Close companionship with the King of the universe. His love, joy, peace, strength, and more overflowing in a continuous supply.

And then, when our time on earth is complete, a perfect life with him in a perfect place—forever.

Therefore, God cannot bear that we would choose other gods—people, activities, or things that seize all our attention. He’s been known to take strong action when his children disregard him.

Think of the Israelites taken captive by the Babylonians.

Think of Jonah in the belly of the great fish.


Jonah (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And then consider the situation from God’s point of view. “If God has to choose between your eternal safety and your earthly comfort, which do you hope he chooses” (Max Lucado, Grace for the Moment, p. 226)?

God’s jealousy is simply a case of eagerness to protect what belongs to him, what is precious to him—you.

Thank you, Heavenly Father,  for being a jealous God, for being passionate about your children. How I want to be zealous in return, seeking to please you, to reflect your glorious moral attributes into a hurting world. Keep me mindful of my desire so that I can make moment-by-moment choices for what is good, right, and loving. Help me to be strong for you.

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