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Going Deeper—A Jealous God (with Study Guide #10b)

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Dear Readers,

The Bible says that God is a jealous God. We may have trouble seeing this quality in a positive light because jealousy is a word that evokes negative connotations. Perhaps if we substitute the word passionate for jealous we might come closer to this description of God. When the Bible talks about God’s jealousy, it means that He is passionate about the covenant we’ve entered into with Him. Unlike us, He is not naive about the destructiveness of betrayal. It decimates joy, fellowship, and oneness. Will we be faithful to Him?

A Jealous God

fire

By Ruth Wood and Kay Smith

God’s jealousy means that He is zealous for something that is rightfully His—our absolute, devoted allegiance to Him. He has a right to ask for such a commitment because (1) He is the One and only God, (2) He is our Creator, sustainer and provider, and (3) He is our Redeemer.

Because we tend to perceive jealousy in negative terms, let’s compare appropriate jealousy as modeled by God with inappropriate jealousy.

Passion—Appropriate Jealousy

Women are sometimes accused of jealousy when they try to confront their husbands about straying. To deflect her, a husband may say something like, “You’re just jealous of my fling because she’s slimmer than you are.” Or she complains about his porn and he says, “You’re just jealous of the voluptuous nudes online.” These kinds of comments can be crazy-making because they don’t address the real issue. The wife is upset because her husband breached their marriage covenant. Her rights as a wife have been grossly violated. Her jealousy is appropriate. To accuse her of petty envy, heartlessly dismisses her pain.

In marriage, appropriate jealousy seeks to protect and guard the special bond of love. It is motivated by passion, not insecurity. In a healthy marriage, freedom flourishes, but NOT freedom to cheat or betray. Partners are entitled to exclusivity because of the exclusive nature of the relationship. To be jealous in this context is to be jealous of what is “rightfully yours and best for the relationship.”

Our jealous God is after what is “rightfully His,” our exclusive love. He cares deeply about protecting our union with Him because unfaithfulness causes destruction.

Insecurity—Inappropriate Jealousy

A husband who constantly accuses and interrogates his wife, though she never gives him a reason to suspect infidelity, is operating out of his own insecurity. He suffers from an inability to trust which manifests in controlling behavior. Often in the name of love, such a spouse desires to completely possess the partner to ensure safety in the relationship.

Another kind of inappropriate jealousy is the covetous spouse, the one who is always looking over the fence, longing for someone else’s partner. Deuteronomy 5:21 addresses this sin: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife…”

God’s jealousy for us has nothing to do with insecurity or covetousness. Instead, it means that He rightfully expects strict exclusivity. His jealousy is a “consuming fire”—holy, pure passion that burns with an eternal flame for you, for me. Surely we are not worthy of such passionate love, but we are most blessed.

©2013 Ruth Wood and Kay Smith. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Published by www.Comfort-Cafe.net. Contact info: ruthywood@gmail.com

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