Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Who Are You Calling Jealous?

I admit I’ve been jealous. It’s that feeling that comes when the gold medal is lost by 2/100ths of a point. This fickle emotion can drive a man to punch someone who tries to kiss his wife. I understand those scenarios, but I have trouble attaching this attribute to the Lord. 

“They [the Israelites] angered God … they made Him jealous with their idols.” (Psalm 78:58 NLT)

Jealousy sounds out of character for a perfect and generous God. And yet even the Apostle Paul said,

“For I am jealous for you with the jealousy of God himself, ...” (2 Corinthians 11:2 NLT)

So, I asked, “Lord, help me understand this strange jealousy.” 

He then took me down memory lane.

When I was pregnant with my first child, I had planned on going back to work after he was born. What was there to do at home with a baby anyway? Change diapers. Feed them. Change more diapers. But my 8-pound-2-ounce bundle of solid boy stole my heart. Within a month of bonding, I was jealous.

I was very jealous.

I would be the one to see his first smile. No stranger was as worthy as I of viewing even this tiny miracle.

I would be there when he crawled, when he took his first step, and to hear his brilliant first word, “Doggie.”

Who carried him for 9 months? Who sang to him while he was in the womb? Who endured the pain of his birth and later on stayed by his side in sickness? I did!

No one else deserved the privilege of witnessing his first feats.

When he turned to his friends to learn about male/female relationships, he provoked my jealousy. What could one eight-year-old teach another eight-year-old about sex? Nothing but foolishness! I had the answers he needed. “Come to me, child. I will not misguide you.”

No one else deserved the privilege of teaching him right from wrong.

No one else deserved the right to instill moral values.

He learned to worship while sitting on my lap.

He listened to the stories I chose with his heart in mind.

His character was my responsibility. Our time together was short, and I did not waste a single minute.

Five years old. I activated the school-crossing signal for a four-lane road. The cars stopped, and we walked our bikes across the first lane, then the second lane. Halfway across, I noticed the 4th lane was empty but the approaching car was not slowing. My beloved son, unaware of the danger and out of my reach, continued on across the 3rd lane. He had started across with complete trust in me not to misguide him. He now headed toward unseen disaster.

Jealous for his life, I cried, “Luke, stop!”

He knew my voice and stopped instantly. A foot in front of him, the car sped through the red light. First-time obedience saves lives—a value I’d instilled in him for that very purpose.

Yes, I was jealous for my children. A shameless jealousy. They are of my blood, of my body, of my heart, and they resemble me. This is not possessive or excessive. This is heaven’s passion, and it is radical.

I get it now. 

God, my Father, is jealous for me. He alone knitted me together in my mother's womb and made me in His image. He alone heard my first word and empowered me to crawl. To walk. To run. 

He cries with me and laughs with me. Like a hen gathers her chicks, He gathers me under His wing (Matthew 23:37). He sings over me (Zephaniah 3:17). He wants my full surrender. He wants my first-time obedience. And He justly deserves the honor of “raising” me as His own.

He wants me to learn His voice and practice yielding to His nudges to avoid disaster, to discover special blessings, and to convey His love to others.

When I turn to earthly things to ease my pain, turn to mortal man for wisdom, or rely on my worldly wealth to sustain me, I provoke His jealousy.

“You must worship no other gods, for the Lord, whose very name is Jealous, is a God who is jealous about his relationship with you.” (Exodus 34:14 NLT)

He is a jealous God! And He’s radically in love with you and me.

Ask Him to show you how jealous He is for you, and may His answer surprise you. May His answer cause you to fall deeper in love with our Jealous God.

Copyright © 9/2019 J.A. Marx, used with permission.

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