Jealousy is one of the most painful and intense expressions within the heart of man. It assaults the heart and our body with gut-wrenching agony. It twists the soul downward in a spiral of anger, revenge, hatred, and isolating pain.
It erupts in the heart of a lover who has been replaced with another. It screams when the attention we thought we deserved is given effortlessly to someone else. It cries in sorrow in the face of betrayal, deceit, and rejection.
The jealousy of man is ugly.
It erupts from hurt, disappointment, rejection, and need. It lashes out, demanding its way. It wants its needs met. It comes from a place of hurt and seeks to hurt in return.
The jealousy of God is far different.
Let us step back for a moment and remember some things about God. He needs nothing. He is and has an endless supply of love, forgiveness, compassion, truth, and more! All that He is flows from Him in a one-way direction without need of anything in return. As a result, He is able to love even when we are unlovely. He is able to forgive before forgiveness is asked. He is able to give without expectation of anything in return.
The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. Acts 17:24-25
He does not need our worship to be God. He does not need our obedience to fulfill His plans. He does not need our submission, love, or service. He has all that He needs, not just within Himself, but flowing from Him. He is not like us.
The Bible does say however that He is a jealous God.
Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. Exodus 34:14
Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He? 1 Corinthians 10:22
While the jealousy of man is born out of weakness, hurt, and need, the jealousy of God comes from a very different place. He is not upset because He is not getting what He deserves. He is not angry because His feelings are hurt. He is not seething because our disobedience somehow touched a place of need within Him. He does not sulk or pout.
The jealousy of God is aroused for a different reason.
While we were still stuck in our guilt, shame, and attempts to justify our own existence, God loved us. He sent His Son to demonstrate the depth of His love for us. In the face of rejection, He lavished us with the overwhelming. He poured out the fullest demonstration of love ever possible. The Bible calls this grace.
There is only one way this love can be received and experienced in man. It is by the righteous act of believing. It is by faith. It is by coming to the end of any effort at trying to appease God by our actions. He is not looking for something to make Him feel better. He has all He needs and overflows with it continuously. There is only one thing that can be done in response to the One who only gives life – receive all that He has! Those humbled by His greatness in the face of their weakness, receive His forgiveness, favor, acceptance, love, mercy, hope, righteousness, and so much more!
God delights when we receive all that He is giving.
He not only delights in it, but is passionate for us receive every spiritual blessing that He has for us. He is even jealous for it. He is not jealous or hurt because we don’t. He is jealous for us to be immersed in, bathed in, and stunned in all that He has for us. He is jealous for us to believe, experience, and receive what He has already poured out on us through His Son!
His jealousy is selfless.
While this jealousy is foreign to our human experience, it apparently is possible for man to not only experience it but begin to demonstrate it toward others. The apostle Paul in the New Testament said that he experience this selfless passion for those he loved and ministered to.
I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. 2 Corinthians 11:2
He longed for them to know the single-hearted joy of all that awaited them in intimacy with God through Christ. He wanted them to see His passion, His fullness, His great gift. He wanted to them to open themselves to none other but Him. He wanted them to open wide their heart to receive all that their lover wanted to give.
The jealousy of God so moved Paul that he felt it for those he loved.
God is a jealous God! He jealously longs for you to humbly receive the wonder of all that is in Him and is Him! Hear His words of passion and receive all that is for you!