Allow me to address the matter of jealousy. Not in the normal sense that we see in human relationships, but in our relationship with God. First, there is the negative connotation associated with jealousy. This is typically evidenced in relationships where one or both parties are insecure about their standing in the relationship. We often see this with teenagers who have not had the time yet to develop healthy associations with members of the opposite sex. This sort of jealousy is frequently destructive, causing a rift of distrust between the pair, leaving both bitter and resentful.
Second, jealousy can have very positive connotations. This is what prompted me to write about this topic. Recently I was reading an article about Oprah Winfrey and her New Age Theology. There were several audio/video clips from her daytime TV program where she routinely espouses her admixture of religious dogmas that seem to encompass practically every religious practice and belief currently in the universe.
What struck me was a particular comment she made. She was describing a time when she was attending a Baptist church sometime in her late 20’s. The preacher was waxing eloquent about the love and forgiveness of God, all of which resonated well with Oprah. Then the pastor said something that didn’t ring right with her. He said that God is a jealous God. This didn’t make sense to her. Why would God be jealous? And jealous of what? Try as she might, she simply could not reconcile this paradox. This is when she departed from the Christian faith.
Now, her questions are very legitimate. Her mistake was in not seeking out her pastor to explain this apparent enigma. Even a cursory search in the concordance of a typical Bible would have produced the desired results. If she had looked up the word jealous she would have discovered several verses that would have shed light on the meaning of God’s jealousy.
When God gave Moses the Ten Commandments he said in regard to the second commandment, “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything . . . You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God.” What is he jealous of? His creation! Specifically, the crown of his creation – the human race.
Let me attempt to put this in terms that personalize God’s jealousy for you. I come from a very small family. How small is it? Well, let’s just say that if my family had been our original parents (Adam & Eve), the human race would have long ago died out. My wife, Isaura, is Portuguese. Need I say more? So when Isaura and I were married thirty-two years ago we were looking forward to having children, possibly in bunches (my mother-in-law had triplets!). During our first year of marriage my wife took sick. Because of this, the doctors suggested we might not be able to have children. That’s not quite what we had envisioned. So, thankfully, a little more than a year later our oldest daughter, Laura, was born. Three years later we welcomed our youngest, Jenny. Each daughter has now provided us with a granddaughter, Alyssa Grace and Brooklyne Paige.
Now let’s suppose that some other man came along and declared that he was in fact the father of Laura and Jenny, and therefore, the grandfather of Alyssa and Brookie. How do you think I would react to this? Exactly! I would challenge his claim by saying something like, “Who are you? What right do you have to make so blatant and absurd and assertion as to claim parentage to my daughters and granddaughters?” I would jealously guard my relationship with my daughters/granddaughters. Even if my girls were to say, “Yeah this other man is our father,” I would not stand for it. Besides that, Laura is the female version of me. So much so, that my mother-in-law called her “Little Chuck” when she was small. Laura’s daughter, Alyssa, looks like her mom, who looks like me. No denying it. And if necessary, with today’s modern technology we could always revert to a paternity test which confirms parentage through DNA testing. I am their daddy. Period! And there are few joys greater than being called, “Daddy.”
Now let me put this in perspective with our relationship with God. He is the one who made you. He is the one who established parentage. This is why the first commandment is, “You shall have no other gods before me.” Let me reword that a bit. “You shall have no other fathers before me.” In Exodus 34:14, we read, “Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” You see, when you and I follow after other gods (meaning: false gods, false religions, false philosophies, false beliefs), God will not simply say, “Oh, that’s okay. It doesn’t matter. True, I’m the one who created you. I’m the one who has loved you. But if you want to claim someone else as your father, that’s no problem for me!” Folks, that simply isn’t going to happen, any more than you would tolerate someone else claiming to be the parent of your child.
Had Oprah taken the time to investigate this with her pastor, she would rejoice in God’s jealousy for her. God doesn’t want her following other gods. And he won’t let her go so easily, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Who’s your Daddy?