This is what the Lord Almighty says: “I am very jealous for Zion; I am burning with jealousy for her.” (Zechariah 8:2)
The words that God is “very jealous” and “burning with jealousy” evoke feelings of worry and disbelief that God is describing Himself this way. This is because I view jealousy as such a bad or negative emotion. Jealousy is not an emotion God should have, I think to myself.
And yet, in this verse I feel God is telling about the depth of His emotions for us. He is trying to show us how strongly He feels about us, even to go so far as to come up with a seemingly negative word. It sure makes me stop and think why he would do this.
When someone is jealous it is because they feel a sense of ownership – that someone or something belongs to them. They think, “It’s mine!” Romans 7:4 says, “So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.”
Therefore, I do belong to God through belief in Jesus Christ and so it is natural that He is jealous of anything that takes my interest away from Him. There are great lengths He will go to in His jealousy to ensure I say close to Him and He will try to get rid of whatever stands in the way.
This is a side of God I don’t usually think about too much. On one hand, it makes me feel safe and secure that He has such a depth in His love for me. On the other hand, it makes me a bit worried and anxious about how He will go about showing this as a “jealous God” (especially regarding things that are important to me).
I guess that is where trust and faith come in. Trust that God truly has my best interests at heart. And faith that God is worthy of my undivided devotion. Between these two concepts I can finally begin to understand the meaning behind this verse a little more.
The next verse in Zechariah 8 also helps to shed some light on the subject, “This is what the Lord says: “I will return to Zion and dwell in Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the Faithful City, and the mountain of the Lord Almighty will be called the Holy Mountain.” (Zechariah 8:3) What is to be the end result of God’s jealousy supposed to be? It is so that He can come to live in us, to be able to call us His Faithful and Holy Ones.
I don’t know about you but that sounds like a pretty good deal to me. I would love to be known by God as someone who is faithful and holy. And if it takes God’s jealousy over me to get me there then I am all in!