Is Jealousy Really That Ugly?

Biblical Authority Devotional: God’s Character, Part 7

by Steve Ham on May 19, 2010

We can rejoice in jealousy when it shows a pure and righteous character—when jealousy is associated with God.

For you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. (Exodus 34:14)
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Today’s big question: is jealousy really that ugly?

Jealousy is usually pretty ugly. However, we can rejoice in jealousy when it shows a pure and righteous character—when jealousy is associated with God. This brings up the following question: what makes God the exception?

Righteous jealousy is being jealous of something that was yours is now being defiled or destroyed (e.g., if your wife is messing around with someone else—this is a righteous jealousy). Unrighteous jealousy is when one wants something that is not theirs to have—a form of coveting.

God can righteously be jealous because everything is His, so when people sin and/or turn from Him, these actions against God justify his jealousy. Most people use jealousy in the wrong fashion of wanting something or even thinking something is theirs when it really isn’t.

The Bible tells us God is a jealous God. The Bible also tells us that everything was made by God as Revelation 4:11 states: “You are worthy oh Lord to receive glory and honor and power. For you created all things and by your will they exist and were created.” In the Genesis account of creation, we also read that God created us in His image and we were created to worship Him through obedience to Him as King. The purpose of our very life was to reflect the glory of our Maker and, yet, this is something that we rejected for our own glory seeking. Humanity has attempted to take God’s glory for ourselves. The difference between God and us is that God owns everything because He created it all for His own perfect purpose.

As I read God’s Word, I consistently find the jealousy of God to be an overwhelming attribute—that no human could possibly invent—in such a way that it resounds of both logic and wonder. It is entirely reasonable that a self-existent, unchangeable, and unlimited God would desire His own glory and that it would never cease. God desiring His creation to reflect His glory is entirely expected and wonderful. God’s jealousy is also consistent with His justice upon sin and His plan of salvation. Skeptics have criticized the Bible for its description of a jealous God, but this is only because they are not accepting that He truly is God.

Today’s big idea: God’s is jealous for you.

What to pray: Ask the Lord to take the idols from your life, and thank Him for being willing to die on a cross to save you.


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