Tucked away in the second commandment, about idols, is a description of God that has ruffled a few feathers over the years. Here is what I’m talking about:
“You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God...”
I read somewhere that Oprah Winfrey explained why she no longer goes to church or believes in the Bible. When she was a child, she heard her preacher talk about jealousy as being a sin. Then, a few weeks later, the same preacher talked about God being a jealous God. She thought about it and it didn’t add up that God can sin but we can’t. She bailed out on the church and never went back.
So, what’s going on here? Why can God be jealous but we can’t? Is God allowed to sin?
Of course not! Let’s look at what jealousy is all about? Jealousy is when you want something that you don’t have the rights to. We are jealous when we want something that someone else has. In this case, we are talking about worship. God desires us to worship Him and He becomes angry when we worship something else.
He is our Creator. He gave us life and everything that we have. When we worship something else, we are giving away what belongs to God. As created beings, we own nothing and can lay claim to nothing. All that we have is given to us by God. When we are jealous, we are making a false assumption. We are assuming that there is something that we deserve.
Do you see the difference? Jealousy tries to take what belongs to God. For you and I, that is a sin. For God, that is perfectly normal. Jealousy, for us, is pride. It is thinking more of ourselves than we are. It assumes that we are entitled to something that we want instead of being content with what God gives us.
God is a jealous God because He loves us and wants our love and worship in return. His jealousy is based on a love and desire for you and me.
1 Timothy 6:6-7
“But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.”