14 Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. – Exodus 34:14
Typing the word is no better than saying it, it just makes me cringe. Jealous. It has such negative connotation, that just this one word brings into my mind a string of other less than desirable words: envy, spite, possessive, somewhere along the line a fight ensues. Nobody wants to be called jealous. Yet, God chose to be known by the name Jealous. What?
This particular thing about God really confuses me so much, especially when I let my definition of jealous define the character of God. So I needed a little help.
Jealous (adj.) a : intolerant of rivalry or unfaithfulness b : disposed to suspect rivalry or unfaithfulness: hostile toward a rival or one believed to enjoy an advantage: vigilant in guarding a possession
In my mind, jealousy was an unwelcome feeling. It’s hostile and resentful. It roots from a form of unfaithfulness, like you’ve been one-upped, and nobody likes that; or feeling like something else edged you out of your sense of importance. Of course, we all like feeling a leetle bit important, especially to people we love. Now what about God?
In the Ten Commandments, God told the Israelites that they are not to worship any other god, nor make any form of god that they can imagine, whether it’s a creature on the sky, on the land, or the sea (He pretty much covered everything – no excuses). God does not want anything to take His place in our hearts, in our devotion, in our worship (be it money, careers, ourselves, or some guy/girl). Why? He created us, each of us, uniquely, for His purposes and for His glory. He breathed life into us. He lovingly fashioned us with all our little quirks, and took delight in writing out our futures. Now, with such devotion from God and such faithfulness, doesn’t the word jealous take on new light?
I learned from Google that jealous was also interchangeably used with the word zealous, back in the days.
Zeal (n) : eagerness and ardent interest in pursuit of something
God is crazy about you. He loves you, period. He wants you so bad that He loved you at your worst, and He gave you His best. He loved you so bad He died for you, so you can have a life with Him. When we find out how much God is so devoted to us, it’s so natural to respond with that devotion back to Him. So He is jealous for us, He wants us to place nothing else in this world above Him, because He loved us first that way. He will continue to guard you and protect you, pursue you and keep you close. It’s humbling and amazing. He deserves faithfulness, because He has been so faithful. There’s no competing with a love like that.