One of my favorite songs is by David Crowder. Over and over in my head I will hum the line, “He is jealous for me, loves like a hurricane I am a tree…” It just brings a certain kind of joy and peace to my spirit whenever I dwell on the jealousy of God and how it impacts His relationship with us. But when we think of jealousy, we don’t always think of it in the same way that God describes His own jealousy. Instead, we think about when we have become jealous of someone. These are what really come to mind: the clothes others wear, the way their hair always seems to be perfect, the way they appear to be lifted up on a platform in ministry that we hope to have one day.
Oprah Winfrey once said that she did not understand how anyone could worship a God who would be jealous of them. How could He be so great and so awesome if He is jealous of us? This thought process follows down a wrong understanding of what God’s jealousy for us truly means. Deuteronomy 4:23-24 shows us the facets of God’s jealousy: “So watch yourselves, that you do not forget the covenant of the LORD your God which He made with you, and make for yourselves a graven image in the form of anything which the LORD your God has commanded you. ‘For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.'” God’s jealousy is expressed for us through our relationship with Him and His love for us.
A Jealous Relationship
In verse 23 we see where this jealousy stems from. Much like a marriage, our relationship with God and Christ is a covenant relationship. When we gave our lives to the Lord, we essentially made a wedding vow to Him. This is why in the New Testament we read God’s commands to husbands to love their wives like Christ loves the church and to wives to submit to their husbands like the church submits to Christ (Ephesians 5). We are in a covenant relationship with God, and like a husband who is jealous for his wife’s love, God does not want us to seek out others to take His place. Now God’s jealousy is not quick to spark like ours is, and it is not fueled by insecurities. God’s love is ever present and fueled by the fact that we are His, and He does not want us to break the integrity of our relationship.
I get married tomorrow to my sweet fiancé Caleb, and when that happens we will be forming a relationship that is intended to reflect this relationship that we have with the Lord. I can already tell you that Caleb would not be okay with me pursing other men or checking someone else out. I will be his and he will be mine, and there is a jealous love that forms in the midst of our relationship.
A Jealous Love
The second verse explains what can fuel God’s jealousy for us (verse 24). When we make idols for ourselves like this verse warns against, we are creating something to take the place of God in our lives. God cannot stand this for many reasons. Not only would this break our covenant with Him, but it would lead us down a path of destruction. Many times in the Old Testament, we watch as God’s people were led astray by the gods of other lands. They began to take on pagan practices, many of which were destructive and vile. During all of this, God became angry, and we read how He chastens His people to bring them back to Him. God does not want us to bring in another into our relationship with Him; first because we are His, and second because they would cause us harm.
In 1 Corinthians 6:19 we see more into how much we truly are His, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?” We are not our own because we belong completely to God. We often ignore this when we take in items that mess up the temple the Lord has in our body. We are to remain holy. We cannot remain holy and take in inappropriate songs, videos, and desires. When we begin to pursue unholy things, we are sullying the temple created for Him, we break that relationship, and His jealous love begins to fume.
When taking all of this in, we realize that God is not jealous of us like we tend to be of others sometimes, but rather, He is jealous for us. This can make everything seem so different. Think about this when you are watching your favorite TV show. Does it glorify God? Does it make you desire things that are not godly? Does it glorify sin? There are so many things in our life, even small things, that can tug us slowly away from our relationship with God. We cannot flirt with sin like a wayward wife, but rather we must remain faithful to our groom, Jesus Christ. What things in your life draw you away from your God who is jealous for you? Instead of fueling God’s jealousy for you, how can you fuel His love for you? This week let’s look over the passages listed below. We not only want to become familiar with what God’s jealously looks like, but we also need to know what our relationship with Him truly means.
God, thank You for Your all-consuming love for us, a love so strong that You do not want us even to consider other gods. Thank You that through Your jealousy, You show us how valuable we are to You. Keep our paths straight so that we may in turn remain faithful to You. We love You.
1 Corinthians 6:19
2 Corinthians 11:2