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The Sojourner Blog

Jealousy

Posted by Steven Light on

“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” So goes the old saying about a love betrayed.  Solomon put it this way, “...love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the LORD” (Song of Solomon 8:6). In marital jealousy, there is a burning flame.  If you have seen such betrayal in love, you know the fiery visceral reaction; an intensity unmatched in the realm of human emotions.

The word jealousy can be used in the sense of an overly suspicious attitude or in the sense of being envious of another’s possessions.  In those senses, it is a vice.  But in its right sense, as Mirriam Webster defines it - “intolerant of rivalry or unfaithfulness; vigilant in guarding a possession” - it is actually reflective of God himself.  Exodus 34:14  “...for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God…”

Jealousy is the name of God - an attribute intrinsic to who he is.  If a spouse felt no reaction toward betrayal, something would be terribly wrong.  Similarly, if God was not jealous over the people he has created, something would be terribly wrong.  But he is indeed jealous, with a holy jealousy.  

Human jealousy is nothing to be toyed with. All the more divine jealousy.  Deuteronomy 4:23-24  “Take care, lest you forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you….For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.”  And so the Apostle Paul asks, “Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy?” (1 Corinthians 10:22)  The answer is plain; we dare not.

Not only do we belong to God by virtue of creation, he has also sent his Son, the bridegroom of the church.  Paul wrote, “For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:2)  He died for sinners, the lover sacrificing his life for the beloved.  Never in heaven or on earth has there been such great love.  And never has there been such righteous jealousy.  Will you abandon competing allegiances?  Are you fully his?

Tags: jealousy

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