Why is He A Jealous God?

Ex 20:5 You must not bow down to them or worship them (idols), for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods.

A “jealous woman” is considered to be a rival, a hostile, bitter person filled with petty resentment. A “jealous man” is considered insecure and childish, perhaps controlling or wildly competitive.Why and how is God jealous, and what does that mean? Are we supposed to think that our God is bitter and resentful, filled with trifling insecurities like some frail human? How can our “perfect Father” also be a jealous Father?

The word in Hebrew for “jealous” is qanna, and not only does it mean jealous but also zealous, as in caring passionately. For we know that God does indeed love us with passion, fervent zeal and wants us to be His people. He does not want us to fall under the spell of any other. As our Creator and Father, He knows what is best for us and wants to keep us safely in His fold, where He can love, guide, and protect us. His jealousy stems from a loving, unselfish concern for those under his care, which is why He demands our exclusive devotion. This is a bit like the jealousy the apostle Paul talks about having in his letter to the early church in Corinth, where he says,

“I am jealous for you with the jealousy of God himself. I promised you as a pure bride to one husband-- Christ." 2 Cor 11:2 

It’s a righteous jealousy Paul is speaking of, protective and in our best interest, and that is the kind of jealousy God reflects—only it is perfect, for God Himself is perfect.When God declares He is jealous, He doesn’t mean sinful human jealousy but the right, good jealousy that a father feels in claiming his own.



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