“For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.” (Deut. 4:24). The dictionary defines “jealousy” as “resentment against someone because of their success or advantages,” or “characterized by suspicions or fears of losing love.” More importantly, Galatians 5:20 says jealousy is a work of the flesh! How can God be jealous? Is He jealous of our success? Is He like a paranoid husband stalking His wife for fear of losing her love? Is He sinning? Of course not.
The dictionary also gives a less familiar definition for “jealous”: “vigilant in maintaining or guarding something.” For example, “The American people are jealous of their freedom.” We’re protective of what rightfully belongs to us, and this is the key to understanding God’s jealousy. Sinful jealousy yearns for what belongs to someone else. Righteous, Godly jealousy yearns for what belongs to oneself. Sinful jealousy is jealous of. Righteous jealousy is jealous for. Husbands are jealous for their wives (Numbers 5:29-31). Parents are jealous for their children (2 Sam. 17:8). We must be jealous for one another in the fight against sin (Numbers 25:11-13)! We belong to God! He created us, sent Jesus to save us, and He’s passionate about keeping us for Himself! How comforting to know God will vigilantly protect us from Satan’s forces — and if we’re lured away by sin, He’ll come find us, bring us back, and rain down judgment on our enemies! (Deut. 4:29-31; 32:36-43)