Six months after my wife and I started dating, she took a summer job in Amarillo performing for a musical. One of the things she did was connect with visitors who came to see the show.
To do this, the producers asked her and other cast members to stand still like a statue in the outdoor lobby. Men were then encouraged to approach the female “statues” and kiss them so they would be “released.” Knowing my girlfriend (who would become my wife) was in a far-off land getting a peck on the cheek from perverted strangers caused me to claw the eyes out of my skull.
I was so jealous. It drove me to pursue her harder.
Exodus 34:14 warns the Israelites not to worship any other God.
This word used for “worship” is the Hebrew word shachah (shaw-kaw) and means to bow down.
But then the Bible says something interesting. We are warned that worshiping other gods is bad because:
1. God is a jealous God
2. His name is Jealous
This word “jealous” is the Hebrew word qanna’ (kan-naw’) and means-you guessed it-jealous. But its only ever used about God.
What’s crazy here is the second point–that God actually names himself Jealous! The Hebrew culture was heavily identified by their name. Your name wasn’t simply what people called you, it was your identity. It had meaning and depth. It reflected your purpose and past and spoke to your future.
So when God starts throwing out names, He’s not saying, “Hey, I think I want to be called ‘Bob’ today.” He’s describing his nature and character–the meat of who He is. In fact, God’s name isn’t simply symbolic. He embodies the reality of His name.
In other words, if you want to know the full expression of jealousy, bow down to another god. He not only is jealous, He’s Jealous.
Most people look at jealousy as a poor relationship quality. We try to avoid it. It seems beneath us. But before you judge God as immature in His relationships, consider this: my jealousy for my future wife was minuscule compared to the full expression of jealousy present in God.
And just like my jealousy caused me to pursue my wife in greater measures, God’s jealousy does not push him away from us, it drives him harder toward us. He wants us all the more. He’s unwilling to give up just because a pesky little Satan is trying to steal, kill and destroy.
It is this level of jealousy that caused God to sacrifice His Son. He wanted us. It is because of God’s jealousy that we in Christ have a future. God’s jealousy isn’t poor behavior; it’s life.
So rejoice in your God, Jealous. Revel in his jealousy and shachah to nothing else. He has pursued you, and he continues to pursue.
How do you remind yourself to worship (bow down) to no one other than God?