February 18, 2022

Good Jealousy

Exodus 34:8-14

“You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, and a jealous God. . . .”

—  Exodus 20:5

Jealousy is not usually a pleasant thing to see. People who are jealous usually feel badly about themselves, so they easily see others as rivals they cannot tolerate. They feel threatened by people who are more popular, or by people who have achieved more than they have.

But God’s jealousy is different. The Lord who called Abraham and his descendants (Israel) to be his people is the one true God. And through Jesus, the Savior, this same God calls us to be part of his family. You are my people, and I am your God, he says. You are my own, and you shall have no other. This is good because God loves and always wants what is best for us.

Now God is following up on his command that we love only him. God declares that he will be jealous if we ever give our love, worship, or obedience to another. Any other thing that we might place ahead of God in our lives is an idol, a god that draws our attention away from the love and care of our Creator and Savior. Through Jesus’ sacrifice, God has saved us from certain destruction.

Aren’t you glad God is jealous for you, like a truly loving spouse? Our God is a jealous God, who fiercely loves those who love him, and who show their love by keeping his commands.

Thank you, Lord, for loving us with holy jealousy. Help us to be your loving and faithful people. We rest in the confidence that your love for us knows no end. Amen.

About the author — Kent Van Til

Dr. Kent Van Til and his wife have been missionaries in Central America. He has taught at Hope College in Holland, Michigan, and at Kuyper College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He has written a book on poverty and is currently writing an introductory textbook on Christian ethics. He and his wife, Kathy, have three daughters.

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