Is God Really Jealous?

In high school, I was jealous when the guy I liked decided that he preferred my best friend. [Sad confession alert…] As an adult woman, I’ve been jealous when a friend spent more time with another friend than with me.

Jealousy has been personified as the “Green-Eyed Monster,” and it’s a really icky emotion when a human experiences it. Its root is covetousness, which we know is a sin, so it has to be bad. Right?

Years ago, I heard Oprah say that she no longer believes in the God of the Bible since the Bible states that God is jealous. She deemed jealousy as an impossible negative emotion for a great God.

It may be easy to pile-on and criticize Oprah’s beliefs, but based on our human version of jealousy, it’s a strange emotion for God to have. Can we agree on that? It’s a “negative” emotion that a newcomer to the Bible wouldn’t expect from God.

The important thing to remember is that God is jealous for us, not of us. We don’t have anything that God lacks and wants, that He would covet, but He desires that His people give Him their whole heart.

The first time we read that God is “jealous” is in the Ten Commandments where it says, “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.” (Exodus 20: 4-6)

Over and over again in Scripture, God’s jealousy is referenced in relation to idol worship which breaks the first commandment, “You shall have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3)

I’m fascinated by the end of Exodus 20:6 because it shows us the root of God’s jealousy for us. He’s jealous for us because of His great love for us. God, our Creator, also knows that serving only Him is best for us.

God’s jealousy is founded on His goodness–His love and His good plans for us.

That’s also the origin of the last “negative” emotion of God that I’ll cover, grief. Psalm 78:40-41 says, “How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness and grieved him in the wasteland! Again and again they put God to the test; they vexed the Holy One of Israel.”

God is grieved by our rebellion and sin. Why? He knows that sin separates us from Him, leading to a life less than the one for which we were created. Walking close to God in holiness and repentance brings Him glory, and it brings good into our lives.

We see the whole gamut of God’s emotions through His Son, Jesus, too:

  • Anger as He turned over the money changers tables. (John 2:13-17)
  • Jealousy/zealousness for His Father’s house in the same circumstance.
  • Grief over the death of His friend, Lazarus (John 11:35)
  • Grief as He faced a terrible death and the withdrawal of His Father (Luke 22:39-46)

In our Bible, God defines Himself, both His character and emotions, and Jesus is the exact representation of His Father (Hebrews 1:3). Jesus displayed a beautiful gamut of emotions that His Father also possesses.

As those made in God’s image, we’re created with a range of emotions too that can be employed for good. So… why are we as a culture determined to numb ourselves?

That’s what I’ll dig into in upcoming posts. Thanks for sticking with me as I wrestle through these new areas of study and thought! I’d love to hear your thoughts on God’s emotions. I’m learning too, and our community is so helpful.

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I’m excited to be booking speaking events for 2020! Spring is close to being full, but there are February and April dates still available. Summer and fall are wide open, and I’d love to speak for your group.

My Exhale Retreat, which can also be done as a keynote, is what I’m most fired up about right now. Why? Because I’m seeing an unprecedented response among women to these messages that are rooted in Colossians 1. Jesus is setting His women free through His Word! Here’s a description:

Exhale: Lose Who You’re Not. Love Who You Are. Live Your One Life Well.

Do you feel like you’re suffocating under the pressures of being all things to all people? The pressure of filling every unfilled spot at church, work and home. The pressure of trying to do it all right, make decisions that benefit everyone else, and keep everyone happy.

There’s a process that can release you from the unbearable weight. Then you’ll be able to live the combination we all long for–fulling the desires of your heart, loving your people well, and bringing glory to God.

Rather than adding more to your to-do list, in this retreat Amy will help you to:

  • Move from running-on-empty to spent-and-content by investing your life in soul-filling ways.
  • Lose the ill-fitting rolls you’ve been trying to fill so that you can be lighter and freer.
  • Love your truest, God-created self with all your glorious gifts instead of trying to shove yourself into someone else’s mold.
  • Live your one and only life in a way that you know truly matters.

DREAM BIG and have Cheri Gregory, my co-author, and me both come. If you want to fill your spring small group studies, imagine using the Exhale retreat with Cheri and me as your launch!

To book me for your women’s event, please click here and fill out the form. Karen Christian, Proverbs 31 Ministries’ speaker coordinator, will get in touch with you for fees and scheduling. I hope to be in the room with you soon!

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Comments

  1. Jane Ann says

    Great post! What stood out to me this morning reading was, “God, our Creator, also knows that serving only Him is best for us.” I’ve had a little trouble at my 8-5 lately, let’s just say not wanting to work in an environment where no one is very happy and people are quite vocal about their unhappiness with how things are going. So just yesterday I made a little poster of Colossians 3::23-24 to hang in my desk area to remind me who I am really working for, not humans, but for God, whom I receive all things good. I can’t wait for the next post!

  2. Kellie Demouchet says

    Thank you for using your words to help explain that for those who have a hard time reading scripture in the purpose for which it was provided. So often Christians lose perspective; all people, actually. So often we put human qualities on God, or use human reasoning to understand our God. While He is a jealous God, we are not encouraged to have the same “negative” emotions as God for reasons justifiable by our understanding of His word. We are to trust in Him completely and have faith that if our emotions align with the fruits of His Spirit, He will make all things righteous in His time, not ours. The fruit of self control is a hard one for many people, and this doesn’t mean being numb. It means being slow to react, for the emotional person; to feel – let the emotion pass through you – and let God have His way with you to give Him glory in your reactions to whatever triggered your emotions. And so this “self control” is actually giving yourself away to the Holy Spirit!

    Anyway, I’m going elsewhere. Thank you for these emotional posts. I’m so interested now 😳, and can’t wait to read on. I am not an emotional person, which makes it a LITTLE easier to control my emotions. And we’re born with these personalities, right 🤗?!?! Being a believer doesn’t change your personality, it changes your perspective 🙌🏾!

    God bless you Amy🙌🏾😘

    • Amy Carroll says

      Such great thoughts, Kellie. “The fruit of self-control isn’t being numb.” I hadn’t thought of it that way, but so true!