A Jealous God – Part 4


Let’s consider the jealousy of God one more time, and this time I promise, it will become obvious, if it isn’t already, what emotion is linked to jealousy. 

So, let us move onto to the book of Nahum.  Nahum has one of my favorite Old Testament verses in it. 

(This one, I confess, is not it!)

Nahum 1:2
The LORD is a jealous and avenging God;
the LORD is avenging and wrathful;
the LORD takes vengeance on his adversaries
and keeps wrath for his enemies.

Nahum brings the wrath component into the mix.  The wrath and the vengeance – He is making a serious point that the reader cannot afford to ignore.  The people of Ninevah were in for judgement from an avenging God.  Nahum links jealousy and avenging together.  This seems natural in my mind.

Rabbit Trail Coming

Let’s think about this.

Nahum identifies those upon whom wrath will fall.  It is God’s adversaries and God’s enemies.  But Carl, Nahum is pronouncing judgement on the nation of Assyria, that judgement being the impending invasion of the Babylonian army.  The Assyrians are the enemies of God and of Israel.

Of course the Ninevites are the enemy, the adversary.  Why would this lone prophet be sent to this non-Israeli nation, this people group that has no knowledge of God’s holiness, expectations, etc.

jonah-and-the-whale-dan-phyillaierLet’s remember that about 150 years earlier, a prophet by the name of Jonah wandered into the city of Ninevah, preaching repentance.  The greatest non Israeli revival in history occurred due to Jonah’s preaching.  God reached out to the nation of Assyria, in the midst of their idolatry and revealed Himself, with the entire city of Ninevah repenting.  

Now, about 150 years later, Nahum is calling down judgement on the people of Ninevah.  Because He is a jealous God.  The Ninevites were going after other god’s after they had begun worshiping the true God!

You may remember in previous posts that I have sought to define the remnant within the nation of Israel, those who had faith in the living God among the general populace of Israel.  (See Daniel 9:24-27 – 8).  Nahum is warning the general populace of the nation of Assyria, but an interesting (disturbing) truth erupts in my mind, and I’m sure in yours.

battle of Ninevah
In the city of Ninevah, there may have been those that were truly God’s, and were going to experience the wrath also.  If the wrath is the invasion of Babylon, (which the nation of Israel would experience soon enough) then the entire nation would come under the judgement of God, both the remnant (if any left in Ninevah – I’m thinking there was) and the adversaries/enemies mentioned in Nahum 1:2.
This concept bothered me for many years, sometimes thinking that it wasn’t fair.  (Carl – let’s get over this thing about life being fair!  That is poppycock!)
With God’s people being in the midst of judgement on a nation, it just bugged me, that is until I came across another Old Testament verse that gave some relative comfort.
Habakkuk 3:2
O LORD, I have heard the report of you, and your work, O LORD, do I fear. In the midst of the years revive it; in the midst of the years make it known; in wrath remember mercy.



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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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A Jealous God – Part 2



Let’s continue our study on the jealousy of God, looking at one more Hebrew term translated as jealous in the Old Testament.

God’s Jealousy קַנּוֹא

The following words for jealous are used only of God, and the remainder of the post will consider God’s jealousy

The Hebrew word H7067,קַנּוֹא qannôwʼ, kan-no’; jealous or angry:—jealous, which occurs 6 times in the following 5 verses.

Exodus 20:5

You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,
Jealous for me

Moses, in the first occurrence of this concept of God’s jealousy, directly links jealousy with worship and service.  This is a recurring theme in the verses we will look at.

Jealousy is also rooted in covenant, since the law is being given in this passage, and this passage is the establishment of the Sinaitic covenant, the covenant that establishes Israel as a Theocratic kingdom on earth.

Consider the marriage covenant.  Two people promise themselves to one another.  One breaks the promise by being unfaithful.  Jealousy rears it’s head.  As humans, we tend to immediately seek selfish revenge.  Can we attribute this selfish revenge to God?

The covenant warns those entering into it the severity of the covenant.  Iniquity will be visited up.  There were no secrets, or hidden clauses that Israel could accuse God of.  And yet, the visitation of God upon the nation of Israel was not swift and severe.  It tended to be forgiving, patient and merciful.

Now Carl you have gone to far!  

Consider the verse we are looking at. Note that God will visit the iniquities of the fathers generations later.  The average Israeli could expect judgment upon his life, or 60 to 80 years after the sin, (if I read this right, given that a generation is 20 years).

Exodus 34:14

(for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God),

A reiteration of the above conditions the nation entered into at Sinai.
Deuteronomy 4:24
For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.
This verse should sound very familiar if you read the New Testament.  The author of Hebrews quotes this passage, warning the people of Israel of the coming judgement on their nation.
The nation’s rejection of the Messiah certainly roused the jealousy of God.  They not only serve other gods, and worship other gods, but they wholesale murder the God whom they were to worship and serve.
And yet note, that the judgment that fell on the nation that killed the Son of God was held off for about 40 years.  Did I mention one of the differences between our selfish jealousy and God’s jealousy is the merciful forgiveness and patience He exhibits.
Please be clear that God’s jealousy is not to be discounted, assuming He is different somehow today than He was under the Old Covenant.
The author of Hebrews bring this passage into the Christian experience in order to remind us He is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Deuteronomy 5:9

You shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,

As the book title means “Second Telling”, this verse repeats Exodus 20:5

Deuteronomy 6:14-15

You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are around you—

for the LORD your God in your midst is a jealous God—lest the anger of the LORD your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth.

God’s jealousy in this verse is directly associated with anger.  We will find this concept of anger /wrath associated with the second Hebrew word translated jealousy also, which we will look at in our next post.
But let us consider this verse for the time being.
The Lord their God in their midst is a jealous God.  Does this not imply that the Israelite’s were currently chasing other gods?  As many readers may know, this habit of chasing other gods became a consistent sin for the nation.
Due to this sin, the Jealousy of God was kindled and many passages in the Old Testament speak of this anger and wrath. (I may look into the difference on the two terms of anger and wrath in a separate post at a later time.)
The nation hobbled along for approximately 500 years before the Babylonian exile took the nation away from the land.  Even then, the Lord watched over His people for 70 years, sending them prophets and leaders to give them direction.  Eventually, the people returned to the land, with God again sending prophets and teachers for close to 600 years eventually culminating in the Messiah.
We are talking of approximately 1200 years of the Jewish nation, in varying degrees of idolatry, being patiently dealt with by the Father.  Yet the verse says He will destroy you (the nation of Israel) from off the face of the earth.
The Jealousy of God is so different from the human counterpart in many ways. 
Is anger a common thread?  Yes.  Is the competition of ones devotion involved in both?  Yes. 
Is both jealousies patient and concerned about the “traitors” life?  Not so much. 
Human jealousy is selfish and impatient, concerned only with my rights and refuses to consider the responsibilities of the relationship.
Father Son HugGod is not so.  When a relationship is broken, the Father heart of God seeks restoration. 
When the idolatry/adultery is raging, and the anger is building, the heart of restoration continues to beat in the breast of God.
Jesus pronounced woes on the nation of Israel throughout the 23rd chapter of Matthew, speaking of the judgement to fall upon that generation.   Jesus left the mount of Olives that last time, speaking of the broken heart of God, and giving a lament of the stubbornness of the nation to the patient kindness and long suffering of God.

Matthew 23:37

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!

God is a jealous God, and His patience and longsuffering in the midst of His anger is beyond understanding. 

But it isn’t beyond some limit.


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A Jealous God – Part 1


I was in my favorite Sunday School this morning, when the teacher challenged us to find out more about the God we serve.  He suggested attributes such as grace, mercy, and jealousy.


Jealous muchI told him that would be my topic for study for the following week and I would get back to him about my findings.  Hence this series on the Jealousy of God

During class he did warn us that when studying the attributes of God, a natural reaction is seeing the sin in us.  I fully expect this, and was surprised when, as a young believer experienced this for the first time.  I was hanging out with the brother who led me to the Lord, and was discussing how dirty I felt. He asked me what I had been studying and told me to get used to it.


To start with, I wanna know if the jealousy that God is defined by is the same as that which, by association, is evil in us.  

General Jealousy

The English word jealousy is first found in Genesis 26:14.

Green eyed monster

Genesis 26:14

He had possessions of flocks and herds and many servants, so that the Philistines envied him.

The Hebrew word is H7065, קָנָא qânâʼ, kaw-naw’; to envy, be jealous, be envious, be zealous.

This word occurs 42 times in 29 verses. 

I understand this word to define common or general jealousy, since it seems to be dealing with jealousy and envy between men.

Another good example of this jealousy being displayed is between the sons of Israel (God’s people?).

Genesis 37:11 describes Israel’s sons attitude toward Joseph.

Genesis 37:11

And his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the saying in mind.

In this world we tread, suspicion, fear and competition enter into our experience and create a sometimes irrational emotion described as jealousy.   Actual (or feared) loss of the love of a friend, sibling or parent will cause jealousy to rear it’s ugly head.  The results of this jealousy is at most times evil.  From spreading slander to fits of rage, to murder and self destruction, jealousy has some wicked fruits.

To be jealous is to see true love slipping away, to fear the attention of your love to be directed to someone else.  The results or outcome of jealousy can vary wildly.  I believe this will become obvious as we venture on.

As you can see from a cursory glance of the verses following, jealousy is closely associated with worship, the act of love from the saint to the Savior. 

This makes sense since jealousy is closely related to the competition for ones love. 

Hope you can visit with me next time we look at this topic of jealousy.  In the mean time, Love God and His Son.  

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

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