Jeff Long: Jealousy

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 2, 2016

I would like to discuss a trait that I believe is the root of all evil; jealousy. This trait is found both in God and in Satan with two different definitions. When referring to God, jealousy is defined as the act requiring exclusive loyalty. In reference to Satan, the meaning differs: it is the act of resentful envy, having suspicions of a rival or of a rival’s influence. Since we Christians have both human desires (mostly of Satan) and spiritual desires (God’s) in us, it is often difficult to distinguish between the two jealousies.

Let’s look at the human desire (Satan’s) aspect first. This is usually jealousy as we see of others’ actions and/or possessions being better than we view our own. The Bible lists many encounters of jealousy; one example is Cain and his brother, Abel. Genesis 4:3-5 tells of Cain’s jealousy of his brother Abel’s offering to God, which was more respected than his own. This lead up to Cain killing Abel as stated in Genesis 4:8, “And Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and slew him.”

Another you can read about includes Esau and his brother, Jacob. Genesis 27 tells of Jacob stealing Esau’s first born blessing given by their father, Isaac. Could this have been due to jealousy? I believe so. Yet another example is Joseph and his brothers. We are told in Genesis 37 about Joseph’s dreams of ruling over his brothers and even his own parents. Genesis 37:11 says, “And his brethren envied him; But his father observed the saying.” I understand this as Joseph’s brothers were jealous of him and their father was curious about his dreams; which, by the way, came to be true in later chapters of Genesis (40-45). These all show examples of human understandings of jealousy, in that they were troubled by what someone else had, would have or are better at, than themselves as they perceive it.

The spiritual side of jealousy, although very similar, is really quite different. In Genesis 32, God became angry and, I believe, jealous as well over a situation with a golden calf that Aaron (Moses’ brother) and the Israelites (those rescued from Egypt) had made and were worshipping instead of God himself. This jealousy differs in that God wasn’t jealous of the golden calf itself, but rather the disrespect due to the worship that was denied Him and given to the calf. It states in Exodus 34:14, “For thou shalt worship no other god; for the Lord whose name is Jealous is a jealous God.” There are many accounts in the Holy Bible representing God’s jealousy, some with favorable results and some ending in catastrophes. All end with the results that God wanted.

There are more than 50 references to derivatives of the word jealous in the King James Version of the Holy Bible. They break down to 4 differently defined Hebrew words in the Old Testament and 3 different Greek words in the New Testament. Most of the mentions when God was jealous result in total devastation unless a prophet or someone pleads with God and God shows His mercy on those that made Him jealous.

There are also many different reactions to jealousy by those experiencing this feeling. Someone could murder due to jealousy of desires, both material and emotional. The same is true with honoring parents, committing adultery, stealing, bearing false witness against others, etc. I think you see where this is going; yes, jealousy, I believe, is the “culprit” responsible for someone breaking any one or more of the Ten Commandments given by God to Moses on Mt. Sinai, described in Exodus 20:3-17. The words of God through James seem relevant here (James 3:16): “For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.” Also in James 4:2, “Ye lust, and have not; ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.”

The only way to successfully battle the evil side of our jealousy is with Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. This is stated best in I Corinthians 10:13, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye many be able to bear it.” So now after the holiday season has passed, let’s not diminish our praise to God. If we have celebrated the holiday season properly, we have lifted, praised and glorified the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. However, If we suddenly drop this behavior, I believe just as we would be jealous if attention were suddenly taken away from us, God will also be jealous as well. For it says in I Corinthians 10:22, “Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He?”

So believe in Jesus Christ, His crucifixion for our sins and His resurrection for our salvation. At all times, follow God’s guidance as given to us in his word the Holy Bible and by the Holy Ghost. Also, minister to others, so that we all can receive God’s grace and mercy leading us to that “jealousy-free” promised land of perfection called heaven. God bless all!

 

Jeff Long lives in  Salisbury.

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