Why it’s Good That God is Jealous

You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or 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 or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God. Exodus 20: 4– 5

I read these lines this morning in Joe Thorn’s Little book, Experiencing the Trinity: The Grace of God for the People of God. I was encouraged and hope you are too.

Jealousy is a word that evokes pictures of a controlling, oppressive husband who doesn’t trust his spouse and denies her freedom. But the jealousy of God for his people doesn’t stem from a lack of trust in his people . It comes from his desire to have an intimate and exclusive relationship with them. He calls them to maintain the fellowship they have with him above everything else. To say that God is jealous for you is to say that he loves you, desires you, and does not want to share you with other gods. His jealousy protects you from the false gods of the world that seek to use and exploit you. His jealousy is your good. Yes, his jealous love for you calls you to faithfulness. Does this limit your freedom? In some ways, of course it does. But why would you want to be free to dishonor the Lord? Where is the joy in finding temporal pleasure in idols that do not love you, cannot care for you, and will always hurt you? Here is what is beautiful in God’s jealousy: His love for you is fervent. His fidelity to you is unbreakable. And by his jealous love he swears to defend you and keep you. The jealousy of God for you should lift your countenance, not cast it down. You should feel safe, treasured, and compelled by his love to stay close to him. And though you fail him, he will not fail you. His love, unlike your own, is immovable.

(Kindle Locations 428-440).


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