Jealousy of God

1. God is a jealous God

Exo 34:14 Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.

God is soooooooooo jealous, the Bible says you might as well say His name is called JEALOUS.

2. What does it mean to us?

We must not have other gods before Him

The jealousy of God is so important that the first commandment is one which warns us not to violate this attribute of God

Exodus 20:3 (NIV) "You shall have no other gods before me.

In the strictest sense, it is a call not to worship other gods. However, in a broader interpretation, it is warning us against putting anything (money, career, family) before God. The Bible also uses the word god to refer to anything we attribute importance to.

Philippians 3:19 (NIV) Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things.

Discussion : How do we know if we are putting something as our god before God?

Our god is anything we attribute importance to. To many people, time and money are priced possessions. We can find out what our god is by finding out how we spend our time and money.

Question 1 : Write down how many hours of free time we have each week besides working, sleeping, eating, bathing, etc. Next, write down what proportion is spent doing what.

Do we spend 3 hours every night watching the TV and only leave 5 minutes for quiet time? We may exhaust ourselves the whole night watching TV and leave our quiet time to the end when we are tired and sleepy.

Question 2 : How much of your monthly income is spent on what?

Do we spend all our money on clothes and leave the remainder for God.

Mat 22:37 Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.

Luke 14:26 (NIV) "If anyone comes to me and does not hate (ie love less) his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters­­yes, even his own life­­he cannot be my disciple.

We must be careful to give God the glory

Psalms 29:2 (NIV) Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendour of his holiness.

All glory belongs to the Lord. It is dangerous not to give glory to God when it is due to Him. Herod was struck dead because he did not give glory to God. While the punishment may seem severe, it may be that Herod was feeling proud when the people called him a god and did not realise that it was God who sits on the throne of the earth.

Acts 12:21­23 (NIV) On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. 22 They shouted, "This is the voice of a god, not of a man." 23 Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died.

God is jealous for His people

Joel 2:18 Then the LORD will be jealous for his land and take pity on his people.

Zec 8:2 This is what the LORD Almighty says: "I am very jealous for Zion; I am burning with jealousy for her." 3 This is what the LORD says: "I will return to Zion and dwell in Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the City of Truth, and the mountain of the LORD Almighty will be called the Holy Mountain."

This sort of jealousy is different from being jealous of other gods. When we read that God is jealous for his people, it means that God loves His people so much that He is concerned for their rights to a good life. This prompts Him to want to bestow blessings on them. It is very similar to the case of a mother being jealous for his son when his son does not get the best things in life. This type of jealousy is jealous and stems out of love prompting the mother to give good things to the son.

3. Is jealousy a sin?

We are told to love everyone, including our enemies.

Mat 5:43 "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.' 44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

We are not showing true love for someone if we are jealous of them.

1 Cor 13:4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

Therefore, we must conclude that we are not to be jealous and that jealousy is a sin. Is this sort of reasoning correct?

Note that the word envy in the verse above is the verb form of the same word jealousy in 1 Cor 10:22.

1 Corinthians 10:22 (NIV) Are we trying to arouse the Lord's jealousy? Are we stronger than he?

How come God can be jealous and we can’t? Can we be jealous and not sin?

We can be jealous if our rights have been violated.

It has to do with whether we have the right to be jealous or not. Remember that jealousy is concern for one’s rights. Therefore, God has the right to be jealous because everything is due to Him. Similarly, if we humans are in a situation whereby we have rights, it is nothing wrong with being jealous. For example, in a marriage relationship, the Lord has stipulated that we can only have one partner. Therefore, it is the person’s right to total faithfulness from the spouse. Since it is a right, the person can be jealous and still not sin. The law of Moses provide for a man’s jealousy if he suspects that his wife is not faithful.

Numbers 5:11­18 (NIV) Then the LORD said to Moses, 12 "Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'If a man's wife goes astray and is unfaithful to him 13 by sleeping with another man, and this is hidden from her husband and her impurity is undetected (since there is no witness against her and she has not been caught in the act), 14 and if feelings of jealousy come over her husband and he suspects his wife and she is impure­­or if he is jealous and suspects her even though she is not impure­­ 15 then he is to take his wife to the priest. He must also take an offering of a tenth of an ephah of barley flour on her behalf. He must not pour oil on it or put incense on it, because it is a grain offering for jealousy, a reminder offering to draw attention to guilt. 16 "'The priest shall bring her and have her stand before the LORD. 17 Then he shall take some holy water in a clay jar and put some dust from the tabernacle floor into the water. 18 After the priest has had the woman stand before the LORD, he shall loosen her hair and place in her hands the reminder offering, the grain offering for jealousy, while he himself holds the bitter water that brings a curse.

That is why Jesus used the analogy of the bride to signify the church and the groom to signify Himself.

Isaiah 54:5 (NIV) For your Maker is your husband­­ the LORD Almighty is his name­­ the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth.

By this illustration, He is saying that He has the right to be jealous for the church the same way the earthly groom has the right to be jealous of his bride.

We can be jealous on behalf of someone whose rights have been violated.

If jealousy is concern for one’s rights, we can be jealous if we feel that the rights of God has not been preserved. This is called godly jealousy.

1 Ki 19:10 KJV And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.

However, we should be careful not to think that jealousy is not bad just because it is jealousy on behalf of someone else or selfless jealousy. We also have to determine if the person whom we are jealous on behalf of has the right to what he has been deprived of.

For example, God has the right to total devotion and worship from His people. Therefore, we can be jealous on behalf of God if He does not receive this. We should not be jealous on behalf of someone if that person does not have the right. Jealousy on behalf of others can be misguided as seen in the next example.

Numbers 11:29 (NIV) But Moses replied, "Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the Lord's people were prophets and that the LORD would put his Spirit on them!"

Moses’ followers were jealous for Moses because other prophets are also used mightily by God. This is a wrong kind of jealousy. Moses does not have the exclusive right to be prophet. Therefore, he rebukes his followers by saying that he is very happy if everyone can be used of God to be His prophet.

We can be jealous of God’s good gifts

Rom 11:13 I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry 14 in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them.

Paul wants to make the Jews jealous that even the Gentiles have received God’s eternal life.

1 Cor 14:1 Follow the way of love and eagerly desire (same word as jealous) spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy.

When is it wrong to be jealous?

We should not be jealous of what someone has because we don’t have the right to demand things from God.

If we are jealous of someone’s success, we are indirectly telling God that we deserve that success as well and that God has been unfair not to give it to us. This form of jealousy is sinful.

It is also sinful because it does not proceed out of love. If we are jealous of someone, it is often because we do not love that person. If someone you love is successful, do we feel resentful if that person is successful?