The Lord is a Jealous God
Text: Nahum 1:2-8
I. In describing love - Song of Solomon 8:6-7
A. The Hebrew word is qin’ah means to be jealous, to be envious, or to be filled with zeal.
1. The root is from a word that means “to become red,” as in a person’s face turning red when angry.
2. It is also associated with fire. When you get angry, you feel hot under the collar. Hence, flames and heat is associated with the word jealousy
B. The Greek word is zelos. It literally means “heat” and is translated as jealousy, envy or zeal.
C. Jealousy means “vigilantly guarding your possession.”
1. It is the desire to hold on to what is yours for your own personal use.
D. Notice that the same word in both Hebrew and Greek is used for envy.
1. Envy is wanting what someone else has.
2. While it is the same burning desire, envy is a misdirected jealousy.
a. Sometimes we wrongfully believe that what someone has should be our own exclusive possession
b. For example, a girl becomes envious of another because she goes out with her boyfriend.
(1) Dating doesn’t creating an exclusive relationship, though most want it that way.
c. Marriage does create an exclusive relationship - Matthew 19:4-6
(1) But sometimes man takes it too far.
(2) A husband demands all of his wife’s attention.
(a) He becomes angry if she talks to someone else.
(b) We call him a “jealous husband,” but in truth he is envious of the attention given to another.
(c) He is claiming an exclusive possession that is not his to claim.
E. This is why I Corinthians 13:4 says love does not envy (or is not jealous). It is the same Greek word.
1. At first it seems to contradict Song of Solomon 8:6-7, but it is the other side of the same coin.
2. It is right to have a burning desire to hold on to what is yours, but too many claim more than is their right to claim. Hence, jealousy becomes envy.
II. God bluntly declares that He is a jealous God - Nahum 1:2
A. God does not have the problem of claiming more than what belongs to Him, because everything is His already - Psalm 24:1
B. Though this is truth, the unfortunate thing is that most people refuse to acknowledge God’s ownership.
C. Still, some willingly and openly accepted God’s claim
1. Israel entered into a covenant with God. But Joshua warned that it was more than the people would be able to handle - Joshua 24:19-21
2. The covenant reserved an exclusive relationship between God and Israel
a. They were to make no other gods - Exodus 20:4-6
b. They were to worship no other gods - Exodus 34:14
c. To do so would bring out God’s consuming fire - Deuteronomy 4:23-24
3. Even through they willingly entered into a covenant, Israel provoked God
a. They moved God to jealousy by carved images - Psalm 78:58-59
b. They provoked Him with things that weren’t real - Deuteronomy 32:16, 21
c. God will not give His praise to carved images - Isaiah 42:8
D. In a marriage, a wife has the right to expect faithfulness by her husband.
1. She would be right to be jealous if her husband was sharing his body with another woman because their marriage covenant made their relationship exclusive of all others.
2. But how would she feel if she found out the other woman, was not a woman at all, but a store dummy?
3. This is sample of why God was angry with Israel. They shared His worship with things that weren’t even divine!
E. Paul warns Christians not to follow the path the world walked - I Corinthians 10:20-22
III. The strength of God’s jealousy
A. The bride in Song of Solomon 8:6-7 said that love’s jealousy is strong as the grave.
1. Have you known many people who came back from the grave?
2. The grave doesn’t willingly let go of its possession.
B. How strong is the anger of a husband who finds out his wife has been cheating on him? - Proverbs 6:29-35
1. Solomon says that a husband’s anger is so strong that it cannot be stopped.
2. And you certainly can’t buy your way out because what was damaged was beyond value.
3. God said the same thing applies in His jealousy - Zephaniah 1:17-18
C. Recall that Joshua warned that God would not forgive - Joshua 24:19-21
1. While God is willing to forgive sins, that doesn’t mean He is willing to accept partial service or enter into a compromise.
a. Matthew 6:24 - Cannot serve two masters
b. John 2:13-17 - “Zeal” is that word for jealousy. The Jews were “two-timing it” in God’s own house!
2. Imagine an unfaithful husband asking his wife for forgiveness while saying he will continue to spend time with the other woman.
a. When God’s anger is aroused, it would not be quenched - Zephaniah 3:8
b. The guilty will not be cleared - Exodus 34:7
c. He will not spare punishment - Deuteronomy 28:20
d. There would be no mercy, no favor - Isaiah 27:11
e. There would be no pity - Ezekiel 8:18
D. As Christians, we willingly become a people for God’s own possession - I Peter 2:9-10
1. But we cannot keep visiting sin and expect God to be happy with it - Romans 6:1-2
2. Cannot look back - Luke 9:62; Hebrews 10:38
3. Worse are those who accepted salvation and then walked away - Hebrews 6:4-6
4. We have to understand the seriousness of our covenant with God - Hebrews 10:26-31
IV. The terror of God’s anger - Psalm 90:11
A. As the Hebrew writer mentions, a primary cause of people straying from God is their lack of fear. They don’t believe the consequences of their misdeeds will be met with all that great of a punishment, if punished at all - Ecclesiastes 8:12-13
B. Matthew 10:28 - God’s anger is real. While we should seek God’s love, we should be terrified of facing God’s wrath - Isaiah 8:13; Psalm 119:120
C. The ignorant and the rebellious will face the wrath of God - II Thessalonians 1:6-10
D. The forgetful - Psalm 50:22
E. God should be feared - Psalm 76:7
F. It is the point Jesus was trying to get across - Mark 9:43-48
V. Serve God with fear - Hebrews 12:28-29
A. Some might not understand the seriousness of their plight. But Christians do - II Corinthians 5:10-11