The Bible says that sometimes God is jealous. Now we know it’s wrong to be jealous if someone gets a new truck or a promotion instead of us. But God is different—He doesn’t need or get jealous over material things. Where we read about God being jealous, it always concerns His relationship to His people.
You see, God loves His people; He is covenanted with them. But we read in the Bible how Israel gets drawn away by desires for other gods. This makes God jealous. He alone is all we need. He loves us and commits Himself to us with steadfast love.
When Jesus was asked what was the greatest commandment, He told them it was all about love: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). It is not sin for the LORD of hosts to be jealous for His people: He deserves no less than our devoted love.
But Israel tended to ignore God and seek help from pagan nations and their gods. The prophet Hosea writes all about this, comparing God to a jealous husband. That metaphor makes sense: a wife wouldn’t feel very treasured if her husband could care less if other guys were out to charm her. (I’m still miffed at the guy who tried to put his arm around my wife when we were dating in college). We can relate to the protective passion God has for one He loves.
Our God gave His only Son to make us His own. His passion for us is undeniable. God’s heart is clearly revealed: “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘I am exceedingly jealous for [My people]’” (Zechariah 1:14). God has great passion to have you as His own, with your heart treasuring Him above all.