This has been a topic that I have had marinating in my head for the last month or two. It was my boyfriend, Mario, who brought it to my attention (though not intentionally.) On this day a Jehovah Witness came to the door asking him if he knew who God was, to which he replied yes he did. The conversation quickly turned to talking about the different names of God. Although the person at the door was quite set on Jehovah as the main name to be used to describe God, it was Mario who mentioned that God has many names and even calls Himself Jealous. I had forgotten this and at that moment many things began swirling in my head, two of which were a) how could God call Himself jealous when it is shown to be a negative trait? and b) the song How He Loves by John Mark McMillan.
There are a few verses that I found that talk directly about God and His name Jealous. As I began reading some of these verses I came to realization that God’s jealousy is not the same as the jealousy we are told to avoid. God’s jealousy refers to His deep love for His people.
“But you shall tear down and destroy their [pagan] altars, smash in pieces their [sacred] pillars (obelisks, images) and cut down their Asherim –for you shall not worship any other god; for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous (impassioned) God [demanding what is rightfully and uniquely His]–” Exodus 34:13-14
The verse above occurred after the two Tablets (The Ten Commandments) were replaced, since Moses had smashed them. This verse was a part of the renewing of the covenant between God and His people. But let us back it up slightly, why did Moses smash the original Ten Commandments? Well after spending a long time on Mount Sinai the children of Israel became anxious and felt like Moses was never coming back so they decided to build a golden calf and worshipped it. Upon seeing this, Moses threw the tablets to the ground because he was angered over Israel’s betrayal (Exodus 32). As a result, in God’s covenant renewal He tells Israel of His name – Jealous.
I love the part that says, “… the LORD… is a jealous (impassioned) God.” He had intense, strong feelings for His people, He was angry and sad that He was not enough for them after all He had done. He had rescued them from slavery and performed amazing miracles that they lived through and saw! Yet, His people, whom He loved with a passion, deserted Him for a hunk of gold in the shape of an animal.
This notion made me question how this applied to me today. Since God is the same yesterday, today, and forever then this must mean that He can still be jealous. So I thought about my own life. Am I allowing God to have all of me? Am I serving Him, or am I serving something else? Do I see that God is enough, that He is all I need? Or am I readily willing to leave Him?
““I have longed to help Jerusalem because of my deep love for her people, a love which has made me angry with her enemies.” – Zechariah 8:2
The song How He Loves is a beautiful song written by John Mark McMillan and has been covered by numerous artists. The song starts “He is jealous for me, loves like a hurricane, I am a tree bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy.” I feel like this sums up God’s jealousy for us quite nicely. Above I have linked two versions of Zechariah 8:2 because I thought they help get a better picture of what it means for God to be jealous for His people. He has a deep love. His love comes over us as strong as hurricane force winds and reaches out to us. He wishes that we would see that He is all we need. He is more than enough for us. He wants us to know that it reaches beyond us. There is nothing that can separate us from His love (Romans 8:37-39): He will always pursue us. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves…
*Sorry about the lighting… could not do a thing about the window behind me.