Saturday, July 11, 2020

How can a Holy God be Jealous?

How can a Holy God be jealous?

A few days ago, a young man asked me how God can be jealous when jealousy is sinful?

Let me explain with a hypothetical situation. Suppose you met a beautiful girl and you both loved each other and got married.  After a while, if your wife is flirting with a friend of yours, will you be jealous?  Is it wrong for you to be jealous? It is not wrong for you to be jealous, because she belongs to you and you only, and you belong only to her. It would help if you were jealous so that you can help her and correct the situation in any way possible. Instead, if you are not jealous, you are harming your marriage and your family. Jealously is not always a bad thing as righteous anger is not bad.

 Although jealousy and envy are interchangeably used in our modern English language, they mean different things.  Sinful jealousy (or envy) is coveting something that does not belong to you. Here is an example of sinful jealousy about King Saul. "So from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye  (to watch with jealousy) on David (1 Samuel 18:9, HCSB). Another example of sinful jealousy about Rachel. "Now when Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister, and said to Jacob, "Give me children, or else I die!" (Genesis 30:1)

 The right kind of jealousy is appropriate when someone takes what is rightly belongs to you. God created us in His image. We are His children and His prized possession. We need to understand that there is only one God and no rival or equal. Even the so-called opponent, satan, is a created being nothing to be compared to God. Apostle Paul writes, "...we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God but one" (1 Corinthians 8:4). But when God's people who were created in His image turn to idols, which are not gods, God should be jealous. 

 Apostle Paul was also jealous of the church at Corinth, but he expressed it as "godly jealously."  "For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!" (2 Corinthians 11:2-4). This jealousy is the same kind that God revealed in the Scriptures. God's jealously is love in action.

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