Fear and Hope in God’s Jealousy


“The Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” (Exodus 34:14)

God is infinitely jealous for the honor of his name, and responds with terrible wrath against those whose hearts should belong to him but go after other things, like a spouse running after another lover.

For example, in Ezekiel 16:38–40 he says to faithless Israel,

“I will judge you as women who commit adultery and shed blood are judged, and bring upon you the blood of wrath and jealousy. And I will give you into their hands, and they shall throw down your vaulted chamber. . . . They shall strip you of your clothes and take your beautiful jewels and leave you naked and bare. They shall bring up a crowd against you, and they shall stone you and cut you to pieces with their swords.”

I urge you to listen to this warning. The jealousy of God for your undivided love and devotion will always have the last say. Whatever lures your affections away from God with deceptive attraction will come back to strip you bare and cut you in pieces.

It is a horrifying thing to use your God-given life to commit adultery against the Almighty.

But for those of you who have been truly united to Christ and who keep your vows to forsake all others and cleave only to him and live for his honor — for you the jealousy of God is a great comfort and a great hope.

Since God is infinitely jealous for the honor of his name, anything and anybody who threatens the good of his faithful wife will be opposed with divine omnipotence. That’s good news for the faithful wife — the faithful people of God.

God’s jealousy is a great threat to those who play the harlot and sell their heart to the world and make a cuckold out of God (James 4:3–4). But his jealousy is a great comfort to those who keep their covenant vows and become strangers and exiles in the world.