God’s Name Is Jealous

Since I’ve always considered being jealous a “bad” thing, and it’s something I know many men and women standing for marriage restoration battle, it was quite a surprise to discover that the Bible actually says God’s name is Jealous, as it does in Exodus 34:14, which says Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. While I don’t recall ever hearing anyone say that was one of His names, I knew that God is a “jealous” God, because that’s what the first commandment says, as seen in these verses from Exodus 20:
1 And God spoke all these words:
2 “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
3 “You shall have no other gods before me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.
5 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 fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,
6 but showing love to a thousand {generations} of those who love me and keep my commandments.

Since that was so surprising, I searched for more about it in the Bible, and the following verses are just a few that reveal God as a jealous God and warn us about the consequences when we fail to be obedient to His word and put Him first in our lives:

Deuteronomy 4:24
For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.

Judges 10:13
But you have forsaken me and served other gods, so I will no longer save you.

2 Kings 17:38
Do not forget the covenant I have made with you, and do not worship other gods.

1 Kings 9
5 I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised David your father when I said, ‘You shall never fail to have a man on the throne of Israel.’
6 “But if you or your sons turn away from me and do not observe the commands and decrees I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them,
7 then I will cut off Israel from the land I have given them and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. Israel will then become a byword and an object
of ridicule among all peoples.

Deuteronomy 30
16 For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.
17 But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them,
18 I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.
19 This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live
20 and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Psalm 16:4
The sorrows of those will increase who run after other gods. I will not pour out their libations of blood or take up their names on my lips.

Matthew 22
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’
38 This is the first and greatest commandment.

While I don’t fully understand why God’s name is Jealous, and some of the other Bible references indicating that jealousy is not the bad thing we usually consider it, such as Numbers 5:11-31, which addresses a husband’s jealousy when he suspects his wife has been unfaithful, it’s still VERY important for us to understand this characteristic of God as we stand for marriage restoration.

First, if we’re honest, we’re more than likely guilty of violating the first commandment, especially as it was restated by Jesus in the above verses from Matthew 22. And since God never changes, as we’re told in Malachi 3:6, we have to accept that our current marital woes are probably the result of our disobedience. It’s not just a matter of discipline or correction on the Lord’s part, but when we are not in right relationship with Him, and we’re not putting the Lord first in our lives, it’s not possible for us to love, respect or submit to our husbands as the Bible instructs, or for men to love and cherish their wives as Christ loves the church. So our marriages are not built on the foundation God intended and can not withstand the storms when they come.

Secondly, if we keep putting our spouses and marriages before the Lord, He’s not going to reward our disobedience by restoring our marriages. If we spend more time thinking about our husbands and wives, trying to please them, worrying about what they think and what they’ll do than the time we spend improving our relationship with the Lord, then we’re still putting our spouses before the Lord. And if we’re more focused on restoring our marriages than our walk with the Lord, our marriages are still first. So it’s VERY important for us to understand that as long as marriage restoration means more to us than our relationship with the Lord, He’s not going to give us that desire of our heart, because we’re not delighting ourselves in Him, not committed to His ways, and we’re not putting our trust in Him so we can’t expect the rewards promised in Psalm 37:4-6.

Perhaps what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 11:2 (NLT) best illustrates why God’s name is Jealous, because he said I am jealous for you with the jealousy of God himself. For I promised you as a pure bride to one husband, Christ. That certainly confirms the will of God as revealed in Ephesians 1, which tells us that EVERYTHING is predestined in accordance with God’s good pleasure and will for the praise and glory of Christ. And the only way to live for the praise and glory of our Lord and Savior is to put Him first and REALLY make Him the LORD of our lives!

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