Let’s look at a couple of verses that speak of jealousy. Exodus 20:4-5, “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD THY GOD AM A JEALOUS GOD, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.” Romans 13:13, “Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy.”

What does it mean to be jealous? According to the dictionary, jealousy is “feeling resentment against someone because of that person’s rivalry, success, or advantages.” We can automatically see that this definition cannot describe the Lord’s jealousy. Who can rival Him? Who can have greater success or advantages than the One who is so powerful that He simply spoke the world into existence?

Let’s consider a couple more verses that speak of the Lord’s jealousy.

*Deuteronomy 4:23-24, “Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, which the LORD thy God hath forbidden thee. For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a JEALOUS God.”

*Deuteronomy 5:9, “Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a JEALOUS God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.”

*Joshua 24:19-21, “And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot serve the LORD: for he is an holy God; he is a JEALOUS God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins. If ye forsake the LORD, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he hath done you good. And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the LORD.”

Do you notice the common thread running through these verses? The Lord does not want us to give to anyone else, that which belongs to Him. Whether it be a ‘graven image or the likeness of anything.’ Whether it be ‘strange gods’. It may even be ourselves or our loved ones, even our possessions. There is a certain awe or reverence that belongs only to the Lord. There is a certain obedience, praise, worship, adoration that belongs solely to the Lord. He refuses to share that with anyone or anything else. Isaiah 42:8 teaches us, “I am the LORD: that is my name: and MY GLORY WILL I NOT GIVE TO ANOTHER, neither my praise to graven images.” So, we see that when the word ‘JEALOUS’ is applied to the Lord, it is not speaking of this sinful, covetous jealousy that we are told not to have in our lives.

However, jealousy is not always wrong. The Greek word for jealous in the New Testament is ‘zeloo’ which means: to have warmth of feeling for or against:—affect, covet (earnestly), (have) desire, (move with) envy, be jealous over, (be) zealous(-ly affect). It is used in a negative sense in:

*James 4:2, “Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and DESIRE TO HAVE (zeloo), and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.”

*Acts 7:9, “And the patriarchs, MOVED WITH ENVY (zeloo), sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him.”

That same word ‘zeloo’ is used in a good sense in:

*1 Corinthians 12:31, “But COVET EARNESTLY (zeloo) the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.”

*1 Corinthians 14:1, “Follow after charity, and DESIRE (zeloo) spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.”

*2 Corinthians 11:2, “For I am JEALOUS (zeloo) over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.”

In the general sense of being jealous over others because they have more or better things or advantages than we do, we are told not to be jealous. The Lord CANNOT be jealous in this sense! (262.6)