“God is jealous, and the LORD avenges; the LORD avenges and is furious. The LORD will take vengeance on His adversaries, and He reserves wrath for His enemies; the LORD is slow to anger and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked. The LORD has His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet.”
Nahum gives us essential insight into the true nature of God. He declares that “God is Jealous.” Jealousy is a common term in our vernacular; usually used in reference to relationships. The dictionary defines jealous as, “feelings of envy or suspicion.”
We have all felt the effects of jealousy in ourselves, seen it in others, and even read about it in the pages of our Bibles. We know that both Joseph’s brothers and Saul were plagued by jealousy, which caused them to do things harmful to themselves and others. The Hebrew word for jealous literally translates as, “becoming dark red”, and illustrates the emotions that stem from jealousy. Psychologists tell us jealousy is birthed out of concern for self, is often coupled with possessiveness, suspicion, and commonly produces rage, and even a desire for revenge.
Without question, jealousy is a character flaw, yet we read, “God is Jealous.” In order to properly understand what Nahum is saying about God, we must realize, the jealousy of God is quite different than the jealousy of man. God is Jealous, not because He is selfish, but because He loves us so much, and wants what is best for us. God’s jealousy is not a character weakness, but strength. It does not cause Him to be resentful against us, but reveals His deep love and desire for our best. We read much more in Scripture regarding the Jealousy of God.
First, He is Jealous for his glory or His name.
Exodus 34:14 “. . .for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God, . . .”
As a result, He will not allow false worship, because false gods cannot save sinners. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6
Second, He is Jealous for His law.
Exodus 20:5 “You shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me,”
Sin is destructive to the individual committing sin and to those within his or her circle of influence. When a man commits adultery, he, his partner and his family, are all drastically and negatively effected by his actions. God must judge sin for the sake of those who are impacted. Like a doctor removing a cancerous tumor, God must deal with sin, lest it continues to destroy.
Finally, God is Jealous for his people.
Zechariah 2:8 “For thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘He sent Me after glory, to the nations which plunder you; for he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye.’”
2 Corinthians 11:2 “For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.”
God will not tolerate infidelity. We are His alone; we may not have other ‘gods’. We are to love Him first. It is because of His great love toward us that He is our best, and wants what is best for us.