My Name is Jealous

  • Exodus 34:1-35:9
  • Matthew 27:15-31
  • Psalm 33:12-22
  • Proverbs 9:1-6

Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.

Exodus 34:14

God offers different names for God’s Self throughout the Bible. Here, is one Name that God uses for himself – Jealous. That kind of struck me this morning, so today, lets talk about this Name that God uses for himself.

On a side note, let me say, I use a NIV Study Bible. I REALLY like it, in fact this past year I had to purchase a new Bible, because the study Bible I was given about 10 years ago, was literally falling apart. My husband had given me that Bible and I loved it because of its many expert written footnotes, maps, and charts. It has a thorough concordance and reference section.

The footnotes for Ex 34:14 refers us back to Ex 20:5 for more about God being “Jealous”. Back in Ex 20:5 is when we are given the 10 Commandments and told about the original tablets that God inscribed. You know, those tablets that Moses broke in his fury? Yea, those tablets. (insert cringe emoji here) By the way, I love how Moses owns that moment of fury in verse 34:1. Moses messed up the tablets that God had already written when he saw the sin of his people. He got pissed off when he came down from the mountain and found everyone partying around the golden calf. (can I use that American slang with you? I hope you don’t mind my bluntness here, but “angry” just doesn’t seem to cover that feeling well enough)

Exodus 20:5 footnotes explains a couple of explanations about “Jealous God”. One is that the Lord’s exclusive claim to their love and allegiance. Another is that Jealousy is part of the vocabulary of love. But my favorite is this, “In some of these passages the meaning is closer to “zeal”. Zeal?

Zeal: eagerness and ardent interest in pursuit of something.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/zeal

For out of Jerusalem will come a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors.The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. -2 Kings 19:31

Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. – Isaiah 9:7

Lord, your hand is lifted high, but they do not see it. Let them see your zeal for your people and be put to shame; let the fire reserved for your enemies consume them. – Isaiah 26:11

Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will now restore the fortunes of Jacob and will have compassion on all the people of Israel, and I will be zealous for my holy name. – Ezekiel 39:25

Then the Lord was jealous for his land and took pity on his people. – Joel 2:18

Then the angel who was speaking to me said, “Proclaim this word: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘I am very jealous for Jerusalem and Zion, – Zechariah 1:14

This is what the Lord Almighty says: “I am very jealous for Zion; I am burning with jealousy for her. – Zechariah 8:2

Have you ever felt so much love for something or someone that you were willing to fight for them? My youngest daughter, Dakota is dyslexic. She had struggled with reading her entire elementary career, and then when she hit Junior High, BAM! She hit a wall. I had ALWAYS known there was a problem, but the school system wasn’t catching anything other than perhaps a little “difficulty reading”. Dakota was a good girl, and she was really trying. I was working with her, her older sister was working with her, Jeff was working with her, but nothing seemed to help. Her grades were a mess!! But I didn’t care as much about her grades as I did about her self esteem.

I called & emailed her teachers, the counselor, the principals. Everyone. But the poor counselor was the one who had to experience this very ZEALOT mom. I was infuriated that she seemed to be falling through the cracks! Finally, they tested her, and guess what?? Sure enough, she was dyslexic. In fact, in the 6th grade, her silent reading level was at a 2nd grade. In their defense though, many students will find coping skills to cover up their difficulties and may not even realize it themselves. Later, I did apologize for being so pushy to the counselor. Her words to me were, “That’s ok, Theresa, you are just very passionate about your daughters well being.” Dang right I am!! I’m a downright ZEALOT when it comes to my kids!

Back to the footnote: “in some of these passages the meaning is closer to “zeal” (the same Hebrew word may be translated either way, depending on context). In Zecharia – BURNING with jealousy. (I can feel that….can’t you?)

So let’s relate to the New Testament reading. How does God show his jealousness for us in the New Testament way? We read that Jesus, the Son of God, God incarnate born in a stable, made some friends, did some miracles, told us he is going to create a new thing to show us His love for us. His zealous love. The God of the Universe, the Creator of all things, the Creator of YOU and me then stood silent as he was handed over to be flogged and crucified. Pilate, who wasn’t even a Jew “knew it was out of self interest that they (the chief priests) handed Jesus over to him.” (Mt 27:18)

He humbly took the form of a criminal to show you and me, the extent of his love. He was flogged, he was mocked, he was stripped, he was crowned with a crown of thorns. They spit on God and “took the staff and struck him on the head again and again.” (Mt 27:27-30)

Then they took the robe off of him and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him. (vs 31) Jesus could have called down a band of angels to save him, but he wanted to show us how much he loves us. He was willing to take the blows for our sins.

Jealous love. And that’s how he wants us to love. Not by rioting, not by hurting each other. Is it ok to go to bat for a cause we believe in? Yes, absolutely. We should do that, like I did my Dakota. But all this violence that we are seeing for particular causes in our society? That kind of zealotness….I don’t think that’s an example of Jesus’ love? Do you?

Lord, thank you for loving me enough to take the blows that I so often have deserved. I’m sorry that I take that for granted. Help me to know when the time is right to stand up for what I believe in, and the time is right to just wait in silence for you to act. Help me to love others the way you have loved me. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance. – Psalm 33:12

What is the thing in your life that God is jealous of? What are you giving more attention, love and resources to than you are to God?

Take a moment to wrap your mind around the fact the God is so jealous for you, that he sent his only son to be beaten, mocked, and humiliated, for you. How does that make you feel?

Have you accepted and believed that Jesus is the Messiah, and He wants a deeper relationship with you?

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