March 02, 2021
Watch yourself that you make no covenant with the inhabitants of the land into which you are going, or it will become a snare in your midst. But rather, you are to tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and cut down their Asherim—for you shall not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God—otherwise you might make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land and they would play the harlot with their gods and sacrifice to their gods. (Exodus 34:12-15a)
Jealousy is always viewed in humans as a horribly destructive trait. Daniel Webster described it in his original 1828 dictionary as “the apprehension of superiority.” For instance, a person is jealous when they fear that someone has taken something that they want or may think they deserve for themselves; a position, an affection, an opportunity.
But is jealousy always wrong? Is it possible to be jealous for the right things?
God, who is perfect in every dimension, shows us a completely righteous jealousy. God knows that the men and women He created will only function properly if they put Him in the highest place of their affections. Jesus said that the greatest commandment given by God was to love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength.
When God gave His most important commandments, He told us that, first and foremost, we should have no other gods but Him. He knew that if we long for and worship the gods of this world (which are, in essence, power, pleasure, and possessions), we will succumb to the worst kind of living.
He designed us for exalted purposes. All of His plans for us can only be realized if we worship Him alone. This is why He gave such strict commands to the Israelites as they entered into the Promised land, which was filled with people who had no regard for God or the things of God. He knew they would begin to compromise and that false, worthless gods would displace Him.
He is jealous for our affection and devotion in the best possible way. We must continuously evaluate our lives before Him regarding who we worship. If we walk away from Him, who loves us completely, it will arouse His jealousy. This should not irritate us but comfort us with the depth of His care and the height of His love.
Father, thank You for the perfection of Your love for me—love that is righteously jealous when I give my attention to others. Love that knows that loving You is my greatest possibility to fulfill my purpose and find the highest joy and satisfaction. Help me be quickly aware of a wandering eye and a compromised heart and give me the grace to return wholeheartedly to You.
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