Our God is Jealous
You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God…
One of the ways that God has consistently revealed Himself, especially throughout the Old Covenant is as a God who is jealous.
We don’t talk about God being jealous very often. I think if we were honest, most of us have tried to put jealousy behind us, seeing the damage it’s done to ourselves and others. In our experience jealousy is selfish. We’ve rarely met someone who is jealous and has our best interest at heart. God’s jealousy is different than ours. The jealousy of God is not unstable or unhinged. It’s a burning fire within God that causes Him to pursue the ultimate desires of His heart and the best for mankind.
When God created us, He designed us to have hearts that were totally in love with Him. We were designed to be in love God and only function properly when our hearts are focused on Him and everything else comes second. This is why when Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was He easily replied that it was to “love the Lord Your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind,” (Matthew 22:37). But when sin entered mankind’s experience, we began to give our hearts on other loves.
Think about this for a moment: One of the places where jealousy is appropriate is when holy love is denied. As a husband, if my wife were ever to start to see another man, I would be filled with jealousy, and it would be right. The rightful love that was once mine was given to another. This is the kind of holy jealousy that fills God when He looks at His people. It’s an all consuming love that desires love to be fully shared between Him and His people.
Why is this important? In order to understand how God responds and why He does the things that He does, we need to understand God is a jealous God. He’s promised that He will yet again shake the Heavens and Earth so that everything that can be shaken, will be (Hebrews 12:26-27). The reality is, He’s constantly doing this throughout our lives and He will do this in a final way before the end of the age. If we don’t understand that these things come out of jealous love, we’ll be tempted to believe they come from anger.
Friends, we serve a God so committed to winning us back that He gave us His very Son. He’s loved us, laid down His life for us, and given us His Spirit. He’ll stop at nothing to bring forth the most love possible out of the human heart. His jealousy drives Him there. We don’t serve a God with weak love that doesn’t really care whether you walk away or not. His love burns deeply for you. We serve a jealous God.
Photo Credit: Amor Dei by Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P.