Weekly Newsletter

Pastor David’s Weekly Devotional
Jealousy is an ugly word.  It is often associated with envy, covetousness, insecurity and insatiable greed.  Perhaps every one of us has witnessed the damage that occurs when this “green monster” raises its ugly head.  We see many examples of this in the Bible: Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery because they were jealous of him (Gen.37:11, Acts 7:9), it was jealousy that provoked the Jewish leaders to persecute the apostles (Acts 5:17, 13:45), and it was out of envy that the chief priests and religious leaders had Jesus crucified (Matt.27:18).

However, the same word translated “jealous” in Scripture can often have a more positive connotation of being “zealous.”  Whereas jealousy is condemned, zeal is commended.  Jesus’ actions in cleansing the temple prophetically displayed the consuming zeal He had for His Father’s house (Jn.2:17; cf. Ps.69:9).  Simply put, zeal is a godly passion for godly things and jealousy is an ungodly passion for ungodly things.  As Paul stated in Galatians 4:18, it is good to be zealous “for a good purpose.”  We are to be zealous for good.

Yet, surprisingly, we read in Scripture of a “godly jealousy.”  Paul wrote to those in the Corinthian church: “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.  3But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ” (2Cor.11:2-3).  The Corinthian church was plagued by immaturity, division and sin.  Paul was not “jealous” of them, he was jealous for them.  For the church is the bride of Christ (Eph.5:22-32; Rev.19:7).  As their spiritual father, Paul had hoped the Corinthians would be sincerely and purely devoted to Christ.  His jealousy was compelled by his love for Christ, and his zeal for Christ to be obeyed and revered in the church.

Perhaps more surprising is the fact that God referred to Himself as “a jealous God” (Ex.20:5), and commanded that the Israelites “not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is jealous, is a jealous God” (Ex.34:14).  The natural question that arises when reading verses like these is, “How can God be both holy and jealous?”  The answer is that God’s jealousy, much like Paul’s godly jealousy, is not sinful.  For God is not jealous of us, but jealous for us.  In other words, God does not envy us nor does He covet anything we have (for He owns everything).  Scripture declares: “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein” (Ps 24:1), and “The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything” (Acts 17:24-26).

God’s “jealousy” is purely and supremely grounded in His divine nature and glory.  In Ezekiel 39:25 God declared, “I will be jealous for my holy name.”  He demands exclusive worship, for He is the only true and living God.  His jealousy is not evidence of any deficiency (for He lacks nothing), nor is it motivated by any insecurity (for He has no weaknesses).  God is jealous for His glory and, consequently, for our good.  Idolatry draws us away from God, and into godlessness.  God has created us to know and worship Him as God.  He is jealous for our exclusive worship because we can only find true love, joy and peace in Him.  God’s jealousy is a declaration of His divine glory, and an expression of His sovereign love for His children.

Together in and for Christ,
Pastor David

Scripture Readings for the Week (Monday – Sunday ~ Week #16):
Exodus 9-12; 1 Samuel 26-31; Psalm 45-47; Job 31-32; Jeremiah 17-21; Mark 11-12; 1 Corinthian 15-16

Recommended Reading:
“The Knowledge of the Holy” by A.W. Tozer

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