Numbers 25 … Consider His Jealousy

I remember hearing a famous celebrity talk about God’s jealousy. This person found the concept of a jealous God as highly offensive and made the claim something like, “my God would never…”

And therein lies the problem. He is not “my God;” He is God. We do not have the right or privilege to define Him. He has defined Himself, with all He intends for us to know, in the pages of His Holy Word.

In the book of Exodus after the golden calf rebellion, the LORD renewed His covenant, claiming for Himself the very name Jealous.

Watch yourself that you make no covenant with the inhabitants of the land into which you are going, or it will become a snare in your midst. 13 But rather, you are to tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and cut down their Asherim 14 —for you shall not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God15 otherwise you might make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land and they would play the harlot with their gods and sacrifice to their gods, and someone might invite you to eat of his sacrifice, 16 and you might take some of his daughters for your sons, and his daughters might play the harlot with their gods and cause your sons also to play the harlot with their gods. 17 You shall make for yourself no molten gods, (Exodus 34:12-17: emphasis added).

The Hebrew word translated as “Jealous” in Exodus 34 is defined in Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance: “7067. קַנָּא qannāʾ: An adjective meaning jealous. This word comes from the verb qānāʾ (7065), meaning to be jealous or zealous. In every instance of this word, it is used to describe the character of the Lord. He is a jealous God who will not tolerate the worship of other gods (Ex. 20:5; Deut. 5:9). This word is always used to describe God’s attitude toward the worship of false gods, which arouses His jealousy and anger in judgment against the idol worshipers (Deut. 4:24; 6:15). So closely is this characteristic associated with God that His name is Jealous (Ex. 34:14).”

I’ve been in a covenant relationship with my husband for thirty-six years, and I thoroughly understand this concept of jealousy. While I am not the least bit suspicious nor consumed in distrust, I am jealous over our covenant. He is my husband and no other’s. I guard our covenant relationship with passion and zeal, and I am not about to share him as anyone else’s spouse!

None of us would stand by and tolerate unfaithfulness in our marriage covenant, why would we expect anything less from Holy, Faithful, Covenant-Keeping God?

Consider His Jealousy

  • His Jealousy endorses His Holiness. The worship of other gods was likened to playing the harlot, an act of sexual impurity, a brazen affront to His Purity and Holiness.
    • While Israel remained at Shittim, the people began to play the harlot with the daughters of Moab. For they invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. So Israel joined themselves to Baal of Peor, and the Lord was angry against Israel, (25:1-3).
  • His Jealousy endorses His Faithfulness. The worship of other gods provoked His jealousy; never would He neglect His faithfulness to His covenant relationship.
    • Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 11 “Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, has turned away My wrath from the sons of Israel in that he was jealous with My jealousy among them, so that I did not destroy the sons of Israel in My jealousy, (25:10-11).
  • His Jealousy endorses His Covenant. His Covenant would be jealously guarded and upheld through atonement, satisfying His holy wrath.
    • Therefore say, ‘Behold, I give him My covenant of peace; 13 and it shall be for him and his descendants after him, a covenant of a perpetual priesthood, because he was jealous for his God and made atonement for the sons of Israel,’ (25:12-13).

How do we respond to His Jealousy?

He is God. He has defined Himself as Jealous. We will never fully comprehend the character of God, but with our limited understanding let us consider His Jealousy in light of His Holiness, His Faithfulness and His Covenant.

  • His Holiness
    • For thus says the high and exalted One
      Who lives forever, whose name is Holy,
      “I dwell on a high and holy place,
      And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit
      In order to revive the spirit of the lowly
      And to revive the heart of the contrite, (Isaiah 57:15).
  • His Faithfulness
    • Your lovingkindness, O Lord, extends to the heavens,
      Your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
      Your righteousness is like the mountains of God;
      Your judgments are like a great deep.
      O Lord, You preserve man and beast.
      How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God!
      And the children of men take refuge in the shadow of Your wing,
      (Psalm 36:5-7).
  • His Covenant
    • And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 20 And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood, (Luke 22:19-20).

Let’s be honest; would we truly believe we were loved if our spouse was okay with us dating around? Let us find comfort, encouragement and strength in this also, His Jealousy endorses His Love for us.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life, (John 3:16).

Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end, (John 13:1).

He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?… 37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord, (Romans 8:32,35,37-39).

Oh may we jealously guard our love for Him Who passionately, zealously and fervently loves us; His Jealousy is in perfect keeping with His Holy, Faithful, Covenant Love.

Let’s Grow Together!

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