Shocking—although it should not be so. I thought I would do a simple study on the word jealous. I should have guessed that I was being set up for something really amazing. My initial mild interest in studying the term for two reasons abruptly changed. I can just imagine the heavenly interest in my immediate response upon reading this text:
“For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God” (Exodus 34:14).
His name is Jealous? And, Yes! That is with a capital J.
I am sure I have read that before a number of times. But this time was different. It hit me in a very different way.
It has long been clear to me that we are not to covet for ourselves that which belongs to someone else. We are warned against the sin of coveting. It is the tenth commandment.
Personally, I cannot recall experiencing that emotion. Rather, I have tended to surprise myself at how excited I can get over someone else receiving something similar to what I have long desired for myself. Never can I recall wanting anyone stripped of something and then having it given to me. That would take the joy out of having it for myself.
I recall how, even as a young adult, amazingly I stood back beaming with pride, as about seven ladies completely surrounded my man: hugging and kissing their goodbyes. The statewide competition was over; but they all seemed to have fallen in love with their stage manager. Their display of such emotion was pure satisfaction to me. I felt no jealousy. Actually, I was proud that he’d chosen me. I smiled as I watched. These were beauty queens in their own right. Certainly I did not judge myself superior to them. Still, I saw them as no competition.
Often through the years, I wondered about that. Was I that different? From what I had witnessed, that certainly was not the norm. More often than not, women literally fought fiercely over the affections of a man. It never made sense to me.
I have concluded, now that I am in my senior years, that watching those beauty queens was not much different from watching a crowd of young students rush to be first to my mother’s car to carry her few items into the school library. I never felt jealous of them. Instead, I smiled. I was proud to be her daughter. There was no competition—only parallel relations.
Generally, throughout my adult relations, when another woman was found to be in the equation, I was ready for nothing more than a frank discussion with the man between the two women or with the man and other woman. The issue alone made me ready to peacefully subtract myself out of the equation. Trust was gone. And I would not want to hinder anyone’s relationship. Truth may hurt; but it should always prevail. You certainly can’t change truth by bloodying someone’s nose.
Ohhh, but then it happened. I felt ready to fiercely guard one relationship against any intrusion. It was one I believed God personally designed and orchestrated for me alone. I was chosen to be his in every way. I saw it. It was amazing to me, because it took more than half the year for me to simply allow the initial direct contact. From the very first private conversation and personal encounter, I was home. That was the only way I could describe it.
It was unlike anything I had ever experienced. To proceed further and deeper into this relationship felt like God was bringing me home where I ought to remain, until Jesus comes for me. Any opposition showed itself to be clearly satanic and unChristian and dangerously insidious. What I felt must at least somewhat reflect the jealousy God has over His church—those wholly devoted to Him.
Although I was willing to walk away, painfully so, if necessary, I would not let it go without a fight. This fight, however, could not include fists. Nor could it be fought with gritted teeth as fangs and fingernails as knives. This was a spiritual battle. In stillness, it could only be fought in the closet of fervent prayer and quiet anguish.
Occasionally, God provided optic evidence that He was at work. He frequently reminded me to be mindful of not casting away my confidence in Him. He promises us rich reward when we have patiently done His will. (Read Hebrews 10:35, 36.) Perseveringly, He urged me to focus only on doing His will. Often, He reminded me that the battle was not mine, but His. Nevertheless, the experience was excruciating. And yet, I held a peaceful gratefulness beyond explanation. I knew I was abiding under the shadow of His Almighty Hand. In the stillness, I was learning that He is God.
Visually, it is like the palace guard. Selflessly and quietly—seemingly motionless—he waits. He watches endlessly in peaceful alertness. Always, he is ready to defend to the ultimate against any violation of peace and purity and safety. But mostly, He moves only to serve.
Our Heavenly Father watches over us with a godly jealousy. Not even a sparrow can fall to the ground unnoticed by Him. Yet, each one of us is far more valuable to Him than many sparrows. He numbers every strand of hair on every head. For those who trust in Him, He covers with the righteousness of His own Son’s blood, who willingly gave Himself to purchase freedom for us to live eternally with the heavenly host.
Seemingly motionless, He waits. With enduring patience and bowels of mercies, He serves. As the blood drained from the body of His Son in Gethsemane and on Calvary, God restrained Himself in gross darkness. The ultimate price was paid in selfless silence.
But the time is near. His jealousy will erupt in a devastating and annihilating rage. Isaiah 42:13, says, ”The LORD shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war: he shall cry, yea, roar; he shall prevail against his enemies.”
“The prosperity of the church depends upon the faithfulness, purity, and zealous action of its individual members. Christ ‘loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.’
“If all. . . could estimate to what a depth of humiliation Christ submitted for their sakes, and learn from the cross of humiliation to be subject one to another, there would exist in the church a simplicity and power which would have a telling influence on the world. Through the cross we may learn the love we should have for our fellowmen, and the value of souls for whom Christ died, and our works, in self-denial to save the perishing souls around us will correspond with our faith..” ST October 23, 1879, par. 11-ST October 23, 1879, par. 12
“Let all who profess to be members of Christ’s body, look at the facts candidly and carefully, and put the question to their souls, ‘Am I living in obedience to the first four commandments? Do I love God supremely?’ We should be jealous of ourselves with a godly jealousy, and be more critical over the condition of our own souls than over the condition of the souls of our neighbors. We should criticise our motives, test our thoughts. Is God the subject of our meditation? Do we love the Bible? Do we love the hour of prayer? Or will we neglect it in order to adorn ourselves to attract attention to self? Do you devote your time to dress instead of to the study of God’s precious word, which would broaden your understanding and make your heart glow with truth that you could communicate to others? Are you reluctant in your attendance at social meeting? Do you feel no zeal, no pleasure, in speaking of the love of Christ? If this is the case, you are cherishing some idol..” RH June 2, 1891, par. 12
We are to cherish none but God. For there is no god but God. We should be jealous about God. But you say, “How can I?” Defend His law: The Ten Commandments. They are the transcript of His character. In keeping them, we are jealously defending His law of love to Him and to our neighbor.
Are you jealous?