Article of Faith

May 12, 2021

Jealous God

Walking by faith and not by sight (1)

By Femi Aribisala

God is a person with a personality. He is the most important person in the universe. It is imperative to know His likes and dislikes. The only authority on God is God Himself. How does God say about Himself?

“You shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” (Exodus 34:14)

God is not only jealous, His name is Jealous. He says: “And now, O priests, this commandment is for you. If you will not hear, and if you will not take it to heart, to give glory to My name, I will send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings.” (Malachi 2:1-2).

Green-eyed monster

William Shakespeare calls jealousy the green-eyed monster in Othello. Jealousy has overtones of selfishness, suspicion, and distrust. It involves resentment at others because of some advantage we perceive they have.

Jealousy is possessive, demanding, and overbearing. It stifles freedom and individuality. It degrades and demeans. It destroys friendships and marriages.

In English, the words jealous and envy are often used interchangeably. Nevertheless, they are slightly different. We are jealous about something or someone we consider belongs to us. We are envious about what belongs to someone else.

Jealousy often leads to sin. Joseph’s brothers were envious of his father’s affection for him, so they sold him into slavery. The Pharisees and the elders of the people of Israel were jealous of Jesus’ ministry, so they conspired to kill Him.

The bible says: “Love is not jealous.” (1 Corinthians 13:4). How then can God who is love, and kind, describe Himself as jealous?

Godly jealousy

There is sinful jealousy and godly jealousy. Godly jealousy is the jealousy of God.

God is jealous for his glory. That means He is passionate about His glory. He says: “I am the Lord, that is My name; and My glory I will not give to another, nor My praise to carved images.” (Isaiah 42:8).

God is jealous when we give His glory to ourselves or to others. The psalmist says: “Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to Your name give glory, because of Your mercy, because of Your truth.” (Psalm 115:1).

We often fight for the glory of God. We claim to be responsible for things we could not have done but for God. Again, the psalmist counsels:

“If it had not been the Lord who was on our side,” let Israel now say — If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, when men rose up against us, then they would have swallowed us alive, when their wrath was kindled against us.” (Psalm 124:1-3).

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God is jealous when something that rightfully belongs to Him is attributed to someone else:

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image — any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me.” (Exodus 20:4-5).

Jesus amplifies this: “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” Money belongs to Caesar. Worship, reverence, and fear belong to God.

Desire of nations

God is described in scripture as the desire of all nations. (Haggai 2:7). God is jealous when we desire something or someone more than Him. Moses says: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5).

But instead of loving God with all out heart, we love money, riches, men, women, gold, houses, cars, power, fame, positions etc.

This makes God jealous.

Jesus says: “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.” (Luke 14:26-27).

If you love your wife or husband more than the Lord, He can kill your wife or husband.

God says: “Jacob I love.” Jacob says: “Rachel I love.” I say Jacob is in trouble. God’s jealousy does not accept unrequited love.

God shuts up Rachel’s womb. She cries to Jacob: “Give me a child or I die.” God gave her children and she died in childbirth.

Jacob does not learn his lesson. He transfers his affections to Joseph, Rachel’s son. God sends Joseph into captivity. Jacob then transfers his affection to Benjamin. Benjamin is called to Egypt.

God says to Ezekiel: “Son of man, behold, I take away from you the desire of your eyes with one stroke; yet you shall neither mourn nor weep, nor shall your tears run down. Sigh in silence, make no mourning for the dead; bind your turban on your head, and put your sandals on your feet; do not cover your lips, and do not eat man’s bread of sorrow.” (Ezekiel 24:16-17).

So, Ezekiel spoke to the people in the morning, and in the evening, his beloved wife died.

Excellency of God

If you love beautiful cars, beautiful houses, and beautiful places, you cannot see the glory of God. Their beauty is going to obscure the glory of God from you. Until you realize that that which is highly exalted among men is abomination before the Lord, you will not see the glory of God.

To see the glory of God, every mountain and hill must be made low. Paul says we must cast down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God.

Observe this, only high things exalt themselves against the knowledge of God. Low things do not. Mountains and hills exalt themselves against the knowledge of God, that is why they must be made low before the glory of the Lord can be revealed.

God says: “I abhor the excellency of Jacob, and hate his palaces” (Amos 6:8)

For this reason, he is determined to destroy everything that we hold dear and to bring them to nothing. He will destroy cars, he will destroy houses, he will destroy everything that men exalt out of jealousy.

“For the day of the LORD of hosts shall come upon everything proud and lofty, upon everything lifted up– and it shall be brought low- upon all the cedars of Lebanon that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan; upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up; upon every high tower, and upon every fortified wall; upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all the beautiful sloops. The loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be brought low; the LORD alone will be exalted in that day. (Isaiah 2:12-17).

Once you compare Jesus with anyone or anything, you have missed the boat. Once you compare the spiritual with the physical, it shows you have no appreciation for the spiritual. There is no comparison between the physical and the spiritual.

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