One of my favorite worship songs is “How He Loves” by David Crowder Band. The first line of the song says; “He is jealous for me, loves like a hurricane, I am a tree bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy.” Those first five words used to puzzle me. I had always thought of jealousy being a sin—so wouldn’t that mean God was sinful if He was “jealous for me”? I did not understand what the bible meant when it said He is a jealous God.
As a child of God, I am His. He created me. He adopted me as His own. He saved me. Because I am His, He absolutely has the right to be jealous for my attention, my heart, my all.
Anything that holds my affections above the Lord is considered an idol. As part of the Church, I am the Bride of Christ. As His Bride, He should be first and foremost in my affections. Whenever my love strays from Him to something else, I am committing adultery with my heart. Because of the sinful nature of the human heart, God made it abundantly clear throughout Scripture that His people should not worship idols, false gods, or anything other than Him; “14 for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God,” Exodus 34:14.
I recently read a blog post on Proverbs31.org by Wendy Pope that discussed the difference between jealousy and envy. In her post, Pope described the two as this: “Envy longs for what belongs to others. Jealousy passionately desires what rightly belongs to you.” (What’s In Your Heart? by Wendy Pope). I found her description to be both beautiful and easy to understand. To think that God passionately desires my heart makes me feel overwhelmingly loved!
What I did not fully understand before was the difference between envy and jealousy. When I was young and first heard that “God is a jealous God,” I mistakenly thought of envy. Recognizing the difference between envy and jealousy has had a huge impact on how I view God’s love for me. I rightly belong to Him, therefore He should be jealous for me.
It wasn’t until the Lord showed me that I had put things in place of Him in my heart that I saw His jealousy in my own life. He wanted me to see that He is all I need for satisfaction—for true joy. In order to get my focus off of other things and onto God, He placed me in a season of change where the one thing I clung to was Him. During that season I experienced a closeness with the Lord that I had never felt before and through it I found a new sense of gratitude for His pursuit of my heart.
Because of the ways I have seen the Lord work in my heart and life, I can joyfully sing praises to Him and understand just how beautiful it is to have a God who is jealous for me. “Oh, how He loves us so!”
“7 How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.” – Psalm 36:7