“…I the LORD thy God am a jealous God…”
“Thou shalt not covet….”
Pride-filled Idiot: “So the Bible says we shouldn’t covet others, right? Bible believer: That’s right…. P-F I: Well, then there is a contradiction because in the 10 Commandments God calls Himself a jealous God… Bible Believer: You are misunderstanding the definitions. In Scripture jealousy means… P-F I: Gotta Go.
Recently our family went to Florida on vacation. The family enjoyed the Magic Kingdom and we all spent a day at Universal as well as The Holy Land Experience. (We are not supporters of the TBN network.)
While at Universal we went to the Harry Potter Theme Park (Romans 14; John 13:34) and my eldest daughter was chosen to take part in a presentation. She was very excited to say the least. We noticed some others were disappointed or even envious that their birthday boy wasn’t picked we then looked at our twins and all we saw in their expressions was happiness and excitement for their big sister. Afterwards the twins demonstrated jealousy over their big sister’s fun yet still no envy.
Some might see a contradiction in terms in the last sentence. Some might query, “How can there be jealousy without envy?”
If we look at our texts above we see God stating that He is a jealous God and then He forbids us from coveting or being envious. Is this a contradiction in Scripture as the pride-filled idiot thought? Of course not.
Jealousy deals with what one owns and envy deals with what another has. God forbids envy or covetousness because it could lead one to break all of the other nine commandments to obtain the envied object. God starts the commandments by declaring Himself jealous or hyper-protective over His own peculiar people (Peculiar is another word that lazy preachers wrest out of it meaning). And because God is so jealous/protective over His people He provides them/us with what will allow for a good life.
Elsewhere in Scripture we find that Elijah, the prophet is jealous/protective over the Name of God and Ahab is covetous/envious of Naboth’s field. Judas is envious of the expensive ointments that were so rightly “wasted” on Christ.
The Lord Jesus demonstrates great jealousy when He over throws tables in the temple and drives out the men with His scourge of small cords and as He excoriates those that would use the temple differently than that of God’s intended purpose of prayer.
His divine jealousy is showcased as well when He steps in as His disciples are being questioned by bully pharisees.
In prophecy we learn that God will show the nations of the earth how jealous He is over Israel when these puny grasshopper nations, which are less than nothing to Him, seek to destroy Israel. And why do these puny nations hate Israel so much? They covet the blessing of God that Israel has enjoyed.
This hatred, due to envy, is a spiritual principle that our Lord teaches us in John 15:19,“If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”
He goes on to pray this, “I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are [T]hine.”
He continues His prayer with, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on [M]e through their word…” If you missed it the “for them also…” is you and me!!!
The Christ-ian is loved by a very jealous God and therefore, he shall envy no one; yet he shall be envied by every one.