Deuteronomy 32:16 They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger.


Historically, the word jealous is connected to the word zeal rather than to envy. Unfortunately, the world has perverted man’s understanding of jealousy by likening it to a detestable sin. The Bible student recognizes that jealousy cannot always be sinful because God says that He is a jealous God (Nahum 1:2) and God does not sin. A scriptural study proves that jealousy can be righteous, or it can be wicked depending upon the intent of the one in whom this jealousy originates. In a very basic sense, jealousy is the unwillingness to share or allow anything to rival the object of one’s desire. Since man has sinful desires, jealously is often viewed as sinful and can lead to other sinful practices. In the Lord’s case, His righteous desire to be man’s only true and living God drives Him to just judgment and godly jealousy.


• (For children): God will not share the glory or praise due to Him with anyone else (Isaiah 42:8). When we want our own way, we place ourselves ahead of Him and tell Him we are more worthy and important than He is. This is idolatry and should be avoided at all costs (1 Corinthians 10:14; 1 John 5:21).
• (For everyone): Why is it important to learn scriptural definitions of words found within the Bible? How could it mislead you if you accepted the common thinking on jealousy?
• Is God’s jealousy a just response? If so, why? Can man’s jealousy be just? In what ways could jealousy be right and just in men? How can one know the difference?


• Ask God to give you a scriptural understanding of jealousy.
• Ask the Lord to teach you when it is acceptable to be jealous.