Doctrinal · Jealousy

A Jealous God – Part 3


Last we discussed the jealousy of God, we considered the first two Hebrew words in the Old Testament that are translated jealousy.  

We understood jealousy to be in the nature of God and in the nature of man, and yet there is a difference.  Jealousy is a characteristic of God that is a part of His image, and as such, when man was created, became a part of man’s being.

Of course sin twisted the entire image of God in man, including jealousy.

As I mentioned above, we looked at the first two Hebrew words translated jealousy in the Old Testament, and with this post, will proceed with one additional Hebrew word. 

This word includes a corollary emotion that needs to be considered in it’s relationship with jealousy.  (Can you guess what that emotion this is?)

Gods Jealousy קַנּוֹא

One additional word is used when referring to God’s jealousy.

The Hebrew word H7072, קַנּוֹא (qannow’), jealous or angry:—jealous, which occurs 2 times in 2 verses

Joshua 24:19

But Joshua said to the people, “You are not able to serve the LORD, for he is a holy God. He is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions or your sins.

I have never really understood what Joshua is trying to say here.  It turns out that Joshua’s statement is true, but it seems so anti-motivating to bring it out to the people of God.  I can’t see it as a prophecy of the future of the nation, because he says “they can’t” so it isn’t associated with destiny or free will, as far as I can tell.

Also, the admonition to serve in verses 14 – 15, which includes Joshua’s commitment to serve, adds tension to the passage.

Joshua 24:14 – 15

“Now therefore fear the LORD and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD.

And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

Joshua’s first verb in verse 19 is a clue I think.  They are not able.  They have no strength?  Maybe. 
Let’s continue with the verse. God is described in two ways.  He is holy.  He is jealous.  They are not able to serve the Lord because He is Holy.  He is a jealous God.

I think the issue is the differences of nature in man and God.  With Israel’s decisions of the past 40 yrs in Joshua’s rear view mirror, he is calling them to repentance.  He is telling them they are not able to serve Him in the manner they live.  He is a jealous God and will not accept their current manner of life.

Could it be similar to the Master’s statement in Matthew 6?

Matthew 6:24

No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

Joshua 24:19 will continue to give me more questions than answers, but the core truth is the challenge to live according to God’s nature, and not our own.

I intended to get to the corollary emotion associated with jealousy, but didn’t quite.  I promise to address it with the next post.

By the way, have you got a thought on what emotion might be linked with jealousy?

Hope to see you next time as we continue Considering the Bible.


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