Godly Jealousy!? Pt. 1 of 4

Written by: Inés Franklin
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Jealousy is a powerful emotion.  Most of us have been subject to the destructive forces of another person’s possesiveness.  Therefore, it makes sense that we view jealousy as a sinful act.  However, as we study Deuteronomy 5:6-10, we will develop a different perspective on jealousy.

God not only describes himself as jealous, but he also names himself Jealous. You might be saying, “Wait a minute, God does not sin!”  That is true.  God’s jealousy is not flawed like our human jealousy.  Therefore, over the next four posts we will learn about a different jealousy, a good jealousy: godly jealousy.

Three revelations found in Deuteronomy 5:6-10 present a different perspective on the powerful emotion of jealousy; what this jealousy teaches us about God; and why godly jealousy is good news for all of us.  Please read Deuteronomy 5:6-10.

The first revelation is GOD.  The LORD reveals himself.

We just read the first two commandments that God gave to Moses at Mount Sinai.  It is important that we remember that Moses is not speaking for God here.  The Ten Commandments are given to humanity by direct revelation:

“When the LORD finished speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two tablets of the covenant law, the tablets of stone inscribed by the finger of God.” Ex. 31:18 NIV

 A good friend of mine once said, “One of the BIGGEST obstacles to spiritual growth is our view of God. If we are going to grow in relation to God, then we must know who God is and what he is really like.”  Amen Brother!  Who God is and what he is really like, is the solid rock foundation upon which all of God’s commandments rest. This foundation is found in verse 6:

“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery,” Dt. 5:6 NIV

Praise God!  From this short and powerful verse, we learn who the LORD is and what He has done:

  1. He is the Commander – We see this in his name. In the language of the Old Testament, Hebrew, YHWH is God’s proper name.  It is so sacred that the Jews did not pronounce it.  Instead, when they read the Scriptures, they would pronounce God’s name by saying another word, Adonai, meaning LORD.  From this we learn that God is a commander and master.  But we also learn that God has a specific and unique name.  Notice that his name is not Allah, Krishna, Durga, etc.
  2. He is alive – active in history and still today.  Notice the “I am.” The Scriptures tell about God’s activity in history, from the story of creation to the miracles of the early church.  God is still active today through the power of the Holy Spirit.  He still does miracles, restores relationships, transforms lives and redeems the lost.  Of this I am a witness.
  3. He is loving, loyal and faithful to his people and to his creation.  He had promised to rescue his people, heard their prayers and set them free.  This is a demonstration of God’s hesed love (hesed is the Hebrew word for loving, loyal and faithful love).  His hesed love is eternal and never changing.

The LORD gives Israel these commandments not for the purpose of restricting life, rather to lead to fullness of life.  This is not unlike the list of guidelines I give to my daughter. I do not wish to restrict her life.  I want her to live to the fullest. But because I know the dangers of this world, my wish is to protect her.  God’s jealousy comes from his perfect love, whereas our jealousy comes from our imperfect humanity.

God’s commandments demonstrate God’s loyal commitment to his people.  He promised Abraham to make of him a great blessed nation (Gen.12:2-3).  God kept his promise.  He promised deliverance of his people from the yoke of the Egyptians (Ex. 6:6-8).  God kept his promise.  He promised to be with His people even through the difficulties of the desert (Ex. 15:26,19:4-6).  Again, God kept his promise. God ALWAYS keeps his promises.

This foundation of who God is, graceful and faithful, thus becomes the basis for the first commandment in v.7, “you shall have no other gods before me.”  No other gods are like YHWH or have done as YWYH.  Who God is earns him the right to exclusive worship.  Let us be mindful not to worship any other god, but the One who is alive, has a name YHWH, is our Lord and is loving and forever faithful.

On our next post, Godly Jealousy!?, Part 2 of 4, we will see further how what God does also reveals why GOD’s jealousy is not like ours, but it is good.

See also Part 2Part 3 and Part 4 of the Godly Jealousy?! series.

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