“[They] abandoned the God who made [them] and rejected the Rock their Savior. They made him jealous with their foreign gods and angered him with their detestable idols.”Deuteronomy 32:15b-16
God’s jealousy is related to His wrath. Both are just responses to sin and disobedience; both flow from His goodness and righteousness. I know the sorts of things that have made me jealous at one time or another, and I’m certain that never has my jealousy been good. So how do we understand God’s jealousy?
Think back to the giving of the Ten Commandments. God had delivered Israel out of Egypt (Exodus 20:2) and claimed them as His own (v. 5). This is the context in which God is jealous. His just jealousy is roused when His beloved children go after other gods. As a spouse is rightfully jealous at the thought of unfaithfulness by their beloved, so, too, God is jealous for His people.
It’s good news that God is jealous for us. It shows us how much He loves us. Because of who we are in Christ, we are never the objects of condemning wrath. We are the recipients of the rightful jealousy of our God. He only disciplines us with the end of restoring us. Then we can fully enjoy the intimacy with Him that He won for us at the cross.
Bask in the knowledge that your loving—and yes, jealous—Savior chooses to win your heart back to Himself.