Ryan, a previous participant in the Bethany prayer room will soon be going to Central Asia with his wife and their baby. He has served faithfully on the worship team, diligently seeking the Lord, and is eager not only to be discipled but to disciple others as well.
Jealousy! Wikipedia defines this word as “an emotion and typically refers to the negative thoughts and feelings of insecurity, fear, and anxiety over an anticipated loss of something that the person values, such as a relationship, friendship, or love. Jealousy often consists of a combination of emotions such as anger, sadness, and disgust.” At first glance I agree with this definition, and yet I find over and over again as I read the Word that the Lord is displaying this emotion. A quick search with Blue Letter Bible will turn up at least 10 times that there is reference to the jealousy of the Lord.
We know that the Lord does not feel “insecurity, fear, or anxiety” so how then can He feel jealousy?
We are made in the image of God, and many things that we experience have their foundation in Him, but the thing that we observe is but a shadow, a mere glimpse, a sometimes twisted representation of the pure expression that is found in God. We then have a great trouble trying to understand this God of ours when we project our fallen human experience on Him. Richard Dawkins, a well know atheist and author, writes in his book The God Delusion “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it…” As men begin to study God without the revelation from the Holy Spirit, and without knowledge that He is the source and we are the broken down, morally deficient, utterly incapable, shadows of what we were created to be, it becomes easy for men to assume fallacies about Him. In this case the assumption is: if we feel and He feels we must have the same reasons for feeling the same things. This is a problem, and as Kenneth Krause (Director of BCOM) said “Every problem is a ‘knowledge of God problem’”.
So then we must base our understanding of this emotion on the Perfect One, instead of on our fallen selves.
Wikipedia defines this word as it is used today, but if you look at the Merriam Webster definition, which has roots a little farther back, you find a much more accurate definition. it says that it means one who is “intolerant of rivalry or unfaithfulness, or disposed to suspect rivalry or unfaithfulness, or hostile toward a rival or one believed to enjoy an advantage, or vigilant in guarding a possession”. I think that this gives a much better picture of what the Lord meant when He said that He was jealous. In this definition we lose most of the negative baggage that we have strapped onto this word. The Lord is mostly referring to His relationship with Israel when He says that He is jealous. They were to be His people and He was to be their God, and if you insert this second definition in place of the word jealousy it all becomes clear. The Lord has a legitimate claim to His relationship with the nation of Israel, and because of that He will not tolerate any who would rival His claim, nor does He need to tolerate any sort of unfaithfulness. To this end He is vigilant in guarding His possession.
Think of this: we are grafted into salvation. We are now included in that group labeled “God’s people”, He now is as jealous for our hearts as He is for the hearts of the Jews. The Almighty God of the Universe, the Omnipotent One, the one of created everything with a word, will not tolerate any claim to your heart but His own. The unimaginable power of His will is bent on “vigilantly guarding” His possession….you!
The amount that our desire is for Him is miniscule, no, laughable, compared to the unending ocean of His desire for us!
Your God is jealous for your heart!