“You shall not worship them [other gods] or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” Exodus 20:5 (New American Standard Bible)
I heard a famous talk show host tell why she turned her back on the Judeo-Christian God when her pastor mentioned in a sermon that God was a ‘jealous’ God. She wrongly concluded that jealous meant He was vindictive, selfish and angry without further investigating what the phrase meant. She rejected the God of Scripture and instead embraced a philosophical god of her own choosing. Now when she speaks of God she is not speaking of the God of the Bible but one of her own preference.
Isn’t it wrong to be jealous? It usually ends in discord. Not concerning God for in this case He is saying He does not want our fullest devotion given to another. There is no one else in the universe that can make the claim to ultimate power and glory except God alone and He demands worship only be ascribed to Him. Some would say it’s audacious of God to demand worship and they’re right it is audacious but along with that He is the ultimate supremacy in space and time and therefore mighty enough to warrant it. But the other side of the coin is even though He demands we worship Him He doesn’t force us to do it. A jealous lover will interfere, threaten, rage and sometimes use physical force to keep the other person within their sphere of influence. God gives everyone free rein to choose Him or to give their allegiance to another as they please.
The jealousy of God reveals a whole different definition of the idea. It is the definition of supreme worth because of the holy and pure perfection it represents. God deserves to be venerated and He wants no other to usurp His place. It isn’t ego but Who He is that makes Him praiseworthy in the most holy sense. He is never influenced by the Green-Eyed Monster. He is the only one who is worthy of worship and because of who He is He is the only One who rightly deserves it.