February 17, 2019

365 Days of the Great Names of God, Day 79: Jealous


Jealous

"Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God." (Exodus 34:14)

I mentioned a couple days ago how it thrills me to come across something in the Bible I feel like I've never seen before, and it happened again with today's name.

The representation of God as a jealous God strikes me as something I've known for awhile. But that His actual name is "Jealous"? This feels like brand-new information. Clearly, "Jealous" was going to be a stop on our journey, but first I needed to deal with some potentially hesitant reactions to this name.

God cannot be anything that is not good. So even if we normally have a negative connection to jealousy, if God is it, it must—at least in relation to Him—be good.

I also had to deal with the realization that I could not, if pressed, articulate the difference between jealousy and envy. According to the website Diffen,* envy is wanting what someone else has, whereas jealousy is being afraid that what you already have will be taken away by someone else.

Of course, fear plays no part in who God is. Patheos** clarifies that the Hebrew word used to describe God's jealousy is "qana," which means "jealous only for God." 

God is righteously jealous for us because He does not want to lose what is rightfully His. This jealousy is not born out of some errant possessive nature, but out of God's love for us and His desire for our best. He longs for us, and so He is jealous of anything or anyone that might take us away from Him

This is such incredible truth: God so fiercely guards our relationship with Him that His very name is Jealous. 

And what name does He give us—His treasured possession? Hear it in the inspired words of the prophet Isaiah (43:1):

"Now this is what the Lord says—the One who created you, and the One who formed you—'Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.'"

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I'd love to hear from you! Feel free to tell me what you really think. Years ago, I explained to my then-two-year-old that my appointment with a counselor was "sort of like going to a doctor who will help me be a better mommy." Without blinking, she replied, "You'd better go every day." All of which is just to say I've spent some time in the school of brutal honesty!