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Attributes of God - Jealous

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I. Narrative:

The Word Jealousy is often looked at in a negative light. In sinful man, to be jealous is typically a sinful envious desire. It is fueled by selfishness and self-indulgence rather than love and concern for something.
Can we think of some Biblical examples of a sinfully jealous person?
Can we think of some Biblical examples of a sinfully jealous person?

a. King Ahab: A Jealous Person.

King Ahab is a great example.

A. Ahab's Proposal (21:1-4)

1 Kings 21:1–4 ESV
Now Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard in Jezreel, beside the palace of Ahab king of Samaria. And after this Ahab said to Naboth, “Give me your vineyard, that I may have it for a vegetable garden, because it is near my house, and I will give you a better vineyard for it; or, if it seems good to you, I will give you its value in money.” But Naboth said to Ahab, “The LORD forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my fathers.” And Ahab went into his house vexed and sullen because of what Naboth the Jezreelite had said to him, for he had said, “I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers.” And he lay down on his bed and turned away his face and would eat no food.

B. Jezebel's Plot (21:5-10)

1 Kings 21:5–10 ESV
But Jezebel his wife came to him and said to him, “Why is your spirit so vexed that you eat no food?” And he said to her, “Because I spoke to Naboth the Jezreelite and said to him, ‘Give me your vineyard for money, or else, if it please you, I will give you another vineyard for it.’ And he answered, ‘I will not give you my vineyard.’ ” And Jezebel his wife said to him, “Do you now govern Israel? Arise and eat bread and let your heart be cheerful; I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.” So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name and sealed them with his seal, and she sent the letters to the elders and the leaders who lived with Naboth in his city. And she wrote in the letters, “Proclaim a fast, and set Naboth at the head of the people. And set two worthless men opposite him, and let them bring a charge against him, saying, ‘You have cursed God and the king.’ Then take him out and stone him to death.”

C. Naboth's Murder (21:11-16)

1 Kings 21:11–16 ESV
And the men of his city, the elders and the leaders who lived in his city, did as Jezebel had sent word to them. As it was written in the letters that she had sent to them, they proclaimed a fast and set Naboth at the head of the people. And the two worthless men came in and sat opposite him. And the worthless men brought a charge against Naboth in the presence of the people, saying, “Naboth cursed God and the king.” So they took him outside the city and stoned him to death with stones. Then they sent to Jezebel, saying, “Naboth has been stoned; he is dead.” As soon as Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned and was dead, Jezebel said to Ahab, “Arise, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, which he refused to give you for money, for Naboth is not alive, but dead.” And as soon as Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, Ahab arose to go down to the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, to take possession of it.
It is in this kind of backdrop that we typically think of Jealousy.
A sinful, selfish, self-indulgenty envy.
We warned by Paul not to display this kind of Jealousy as Christians in 1 Corinthians 13:4.
1 Corinthians 13:4 ESV
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant
- But Jealousy does not have to be the same thing as envy. There is a right kind of jealousy.
- Further, there is a higher morally pure jealousy that is often referred to as “divine jealousy”.

b. Ninevah

What examples are there of a right kind of Jealousy in Scripture?
What examples are there of a right kind of Jealousy in Scripture?
One example that comes to mind is that of Ninevah.
Ministry of Jonah
A. Jonah Flees from God (Jonah 1:1-3)
Jonah 1:1–3 ESV
Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.” But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the LORD.
B. Jonah Preaches Repentance (Jonah 3:4)
Jonah 3:4 ESV
Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”
C. People Repentant (Jonah 3:5-9)
Jonah 3:5–9 ESV
And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them. The word reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he issued a proclamation and published through Nineveh, “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed or drink water, but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God. Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.”
D. God Relents (Jonah 3:10)
Jonah 3:10 ESV
When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.
What attribute of God lead him to relent from judgement?
What happens to Ninevah after that?
The prophesing of the Prophet Nahum, in the book of Nahum; followed by it’s fulfillment in 612 BC
NOTE: We do not have an exact date for Jonah or for the Book of Nahum.
See chart of Biblical prophecy and fulfillment from Bible Knowledge Commentary.
I want to ask a question,
What attribute of God caused him to bring judgement upon Ninevah?
Of Course Justice, Holiness, but the text of Nahum gives us one particular attribute in particular.
The prophet Nahum begins his proclamation with these words:
Nahum 1:1–2 ESV
An oracle concerning Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum of Elkosh. 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.
The first reason that God’s brings judgements: The Lord is a Jealous and avengeful God.
Part of the reason God acts the way he does at times is because He is a Jealous God.

II. The Divine Jealousy of God

A. Words related to Jealousy

1 Kings 19:9 , Jealous, or Zealous
I have been very zealous
I have been very jealous
The word jealousy in the NT is the root for zeal, clarified only by a prefix.
Summary: There is a strong relationship between jealousy and zeal in the words of the OT and NT.
J. I. Packer makes this connection:
“The bible word for such devotion is zeal, sometimes actually called the Jealousy of God.” (Knowing God, pg. 173)

B. Divine Jealousy defined:

God’s jealousy means that God continually seeks to protect his own honor

Isaiah 48:11 ESV
For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another.
What issue does scripture specifically say that God shows his jealousy over?
Exodus 34:11–16 ESV
“Observe what I command you this day. Behold, I will drive out before you the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. Take care, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land to which you go, lest it become a snare in your midst. You shall tear down their altars and break their pillars and cut down their Asherim (for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God), lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and when they whore after their gods and sacrifice to their gods and you are invited, you eat of his sacrifice, and you take of their daughters for your sons, and their daughters whore after their gods and make your sons whore after their gods.
Idolatry is principally about loyalty and devotion; worship.
God is not willing to share his glory, honor as formulated in worship, devotion, and loyalty.
In that way, Wayne Grudem clarifies his definition exactly as he should.
Now before I critique definition, I would like to clarify that most theologians do not envy deal with this attribute.
Examples of who do not: Millard Erickson, Ronald McCune, Philip Ryken, and even A. H. Stronge.
But there is a missing element within the definition of Wayne Grudem that I think needs to be added.
“God’s jealousy means that God continually seeks to protect his own honor”
Other than protecting His honor, in what other way does God show his Jealousy.

C. Jealous Husband

Often God and His People are pictured in marriage terms. As NT Christians we think of Ephesians 5 in which the church is the bride of Christ.
However, Israel also was pictured this way.
Ezekiel 16:8–14 ESV
“When I passed by you again and saw you, behold, you were at the age for love, and I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your nakedness; I made my vow to you and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Lord GOD, and you became mine. Then I bathed you with water and washed off your blood from you and anointed you with oil. I clothed you also with embroidered cloth and shod you with fine leather. I wrapped you in fine linen and covered you with silk. And I adorned you with ornaments and put bracelets on your wrists and a chain on your neck. And I put a ring on your nose and earrings in your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your clothing was of fine linen and silk and embroidered cloth. You ate fine flour and honey and oil. You grew exceedingly beautiful and advanced to royalty. And your renown went forth among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through the splendor that I had bestowed on you, declares the Lord GOD.
The covenant between God and His people is not simply viewed as a contract, but a marriage contract.
Israel is pictured as his bride.
Israel is also pictured as committing adultery when they worshipped false Idols.
Ezekiel 16:15–22 ESV
“But you trusted in your beauty and played the whore because of your renown and lavished your whorings on any passerby; your beauty became his. You took some of your garments and made for yourself colorful shrines, and on them played the whore. The like has never been, nor ever shall be. You also took your beautiful jewels of my gold and of my silver, which I had given you, and made for yourself images of men, and with them played the whore. And you took your embroidered garments to cover them, and set my oil and my incense before them. Also my bread that I gave you—I fed you with fine flour and oil and honey—you set before them for a pleasing aroma; and so it was, declares the Lord GOD. And you took your sons and your daughters, whom you had borne to me, and these you sacrificed to them to be devoured. Were your whorings so small a matter that you slaughtered my children and delivered them up as an offering by fire to them? And in all your abominations and your whorings you did not remember the days of your youth, when you were naked and bare, wallowing in your blood.
Israel is described as an adulterous, and of course the difference between fornication and adultery is the marriage contract.
Both of these paragraphs describe Israel in graphic terms as Yahweh’s bride.
So when Yahweh becomes Jealous, Yahweh acts as jealous lover.
John Calvin put it this way;
“The Lord very frequently addresses us in the character of a husband…As He performs all the offices of a true and faithful husband, so he requires love and chastity from us; that is, that we do not prostitute our souls to Satan”
Based on this verse, what is missing in Wayne Grudem’s definition?
“God’s jealousy means that God continually seeks to protect his own honor”
It treats God as only out for his own-interest.
The reality is he is not only interested in his honor, but peruses his bride, both Israel and the church, as a faithful lover.
God and His prophets used this imagery to help understand what kind of relationship we have with God. A faithful love relationship.
Therefore God’s jealousy is equally for the purity of our relationship and the maintenance of it, as it is for His own honor.
In marriage, there is a righteous jealousy that maintains the realtionship.
In marriage, a right zeal for the pride demonstrates an anger when adultery occurs.
This means adultery greatly hurts our Husband, God.
1 Kings 14:22 ESV
And Judah did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and they provoked him to jealousy with their sins that they committed, more than all that their fathers had done.
This means also that God is zealous in love for His bride, even to the point of restoration.
Joel 2:18–19 ESV
Then the LORD became jealous for his land and had pity on his people. The LORD answered and said to his people, “Behold, I am sending to you grain, wine, and oil, and you will be satisfied; and I will no more make you a reproach among the nations.
Much of these examples are about Israel, but they can be extended to the church because we also are His bride, Ephesians 5:32.
Ephesians 5:32 ESV
This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.

D. Spiritual Application:

These implications may seem awkward for many men, but this is how God pictures his relationship with His people.
God’s Zeal should make us want to be a faithful, pure bride. (The love returned to a faithful husband)
For us, adultery is that when we are chasing after or more devoted to something other than God.
God’s Zeal should lead us to intimate, close relationship such as that in marriage.
The intimacy, that is love and trust, in marriage is like nothing else. You can tell when two people are in love with each other because they have an intimate response with each other that is not the same as anyone else.
God becomes Jealous if we should commit adultery. This is the right response from someone who values marriage as they ought.
Just as a wife or husband is hurt by adultery, and rightfully feels jealous, so does God. In addition, as judge this jealousy, resulting in anger, practically means judgement. We see this with Israel.
God is gracious to restore an adulterous wife, because he has the most honorable intentions.
God seeks to restore the relationship, not simply divorce it. His Steadfast love brings forgiveness and restoration. Perhaps, we have commited Spiritual adultery. God desires to restore you becomes he loves you.
5. God is jealous for His Honor.
- This means that we please him best when He receives the Glory.
- This means he will restore His honor when it is questioned. He will bring judgement in order to restore His name.
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