Is A Jealous God
And Isn't Worthy Of Worship
"What do you mean by jealous, and please explain how God is jealous? Is there a possibility that your belief about the jealousy of God is different than what the Bible actually teaches? Can I show you a few verses that clearly indicates what the Biblical teaches about God's jealousy?" (see verses below)
Some have objected to the verses where God states that He is a jealous God.
Exodus 20:5 "You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God."
Exodus 34:14 "For you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God."
In the video at the link below Oprah tells how she rejected the idea of the God of the Bible because of this description of God being jealous.
OPRAH JEALOUS GOD
When we think of the human emotion of Jealousy it is understandable that some would come to the same conclusion Oprah has come to. www.thefreedictionary.com indicates the following words in the definition of Jealous:
Envious, Resentful, Fearful, and Wary
It seems almost ridiculous to even think of applying these words to God as He is represented in the Bible. That the God of the Universe would experience any of these emotions seems absurd. Considering this realization, is there another way to consider this term Jealous as used by God of Himself?
www.thefreedictionary.com lists the 5th definition of jealousy as:
“Intolerant of disloyalty or infidelity; autocratic: a jealous god.”
Ezekiel 39:25b states, "and I will be jealous for my holy name.”
When we consider this definition and this verse from Ezekiel we get a much more accurate understanding of the kind of Jealousy God is indicating. According to this definition God is jealous, or intolerant of disloyalty or infidelity, for His holy name.
This makes perfect sense when thinking of the God of the Bible. God is intolerant of our disloyalty or infidelity or anything which would contribute to intolerance or disloyalty to Him. This is fully consistent with the character of God as He is described in the Bible. Greg Koukl explained to a caller to his radio program that since God has created us and has done so much for us, He is jealous for us and against anything that would take our affections from him. God isn’t jealous of us but for us, and for what is best for us.
A verse which shows this clearly is Deuteronomy 13:5.
Deuteronomy 13:5 "That prophet or dreamer must be put to death, because he preached rebellion against the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery; he has tried to turn you from the way the LORD your God commanded you to follow. You must purge the evil from among you."
The illustration Greg used is that of a couple’s relationship. Think about most couples you know. Would one of the two persons in that couple have the right to be jealous if they found out that the other person was having romantic feelings for someone other than them? Think about yourself. If you have a boyfriend or girlfriend, fiance or spouse, would it be OK to be jealous if they were showing more than a friendly interest in someone other than you? Of course it would. You have something special with that person, and for them to be this inconsiderate would be to show a lack of concern and respect for the relationship they have with you.
God’s jealousy is similar to this but not quite the same. Since God has created us and paid the price for our salvation he is fully justified in being jealous for us when he knows that any other thing we try to find fulfillment in can never come close to the fulfillment that He can provide for us. He is truly interested in our best and he knows He can provide infinitely better for us than any other person or thing we might turn to.
In the video with Oprah, Opera asks “God is jealous of me?” I think it is much more accurate to see that God is not jealous of Oprah or jealous of us but that God is jealous for Oprah and jealous for us. Hopefully this gives you a better way to look at this objection.
HOW CAN YOU BELIEVE IN A GOD WHO IS JEALOUS?
Reading Between the Lines 60 - I Am a Jealous God
The Jealousy of God – Timothy Keller [Sermon]
Charles Spurgeon Sermon - A Jealous God
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