This week Ant Frederick joined us to explore the jealous nature of God.
Most of us were taught that jealousy is a bad thing. In fact, the Bible even talks about how envy is a sin. So, how do we reconcile this with the places in Scripture where the God of the Universe is described as jealous?
Ant posed two questions in order to point us to truth about the jealous love of God.
Does the Bible even say that God is jealous? In short: yes, it does. In Exodus 34:14, Deuteronomy 32:16, Psalm 78:58, and more, we find instances of God’s jealousy for His people.
And second, is it okay for God to be jealous?
There are two kinds of jealousy. Envy is sin — it’s the kind of jealousy that’s led by insecurity. And there’s another kind of jealousy: a loving one, that God Himself takes on in His pursuit of our hearts.
The kind of jealousy that our God is looks more like jealousy in a marriage. If a husband wasn’t jealous if his wife flirted with another man, we might have some concerns. The husband is not jealous because it’s a jealousy that is fighting against the extinction of love, not as a result of insecurity.
When God’s people break his commands, they break his heart. He is jealous for His people, not of them. We don’t hate our sin as much as God does and He is jealous for us to turn away from it and run towards Him. That jealousy is a good thing.
Ant then shared the image of Hosea and his wife in Hosea 1 & 3. Hosea’s marriage was a pursuit. God asked Hosea to marry a “promiscuous woman”, and for much of his story, he is pursuing her despite her rebellion and adultery. It’s a pretty good image of the way the Lord is constantly pursuing our hearts despite the ways that we consistently fall away.
He reiterated: Godly jealousy is a good thing.
In the Old Testament, other nations met their demise as a result of God’s jealousy for His people to obey the law and follow His commands. In the New Testament, God Himself meets his demise as a result of relentless love. The best example of this is found in Isaiah 53:10, “Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.”
The question we’re left with is: Are we going to embrace the jealous, overwhelming love of God or are we going to fight against it?