Isaiah 2: 5: “Come, house of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the Lord!”

What does “Walking in the light” mean? Answers to this question range from doing what is right at any time, especially when no one is looking, to following the example of Christ. Does this mean we are supposed to be nice? Is God nice? And what about God’s Son – Was Jesus a nice guy when He cleared the Jerusalem temple and kicked the money changers out?

I believe there is a reason why the Bible doesn’t state that God is nice, but instead emphatically reiterates that God is love. In fact, when I conducted a search on the word “nice” in all 66 books of the Bible, only one verse came up, namely in the book of Jeremiah, where it says (Jeremiah 12:6):

“For even your brothers – your father’s house – even they will betray you, even they will shout out after you. Have no confidence in them, even if they say nice words to you.”

Obviously, the Bible does not seem to have very much to say about being nice – but what about love? Conducting a search on the word “love” in all 66 books of the Bible, I came up with a whopping 588 search results.  588 to 1 – love definitely wins!

So if we walk in love we definitely walk in the light. Does that mean we walk on pink clouds all day? Actually, the opposite is true, and we know it. Parents raising children know it. People engaged in relationships know it. Love’s spectrum is wide. There’s easy love, tough love, jealous love, just to name a few.

I would venture to say that love shows its true colors when challenged. If you had a nice-looking car without an engine, wouldn’t you like to get rid of it? It’s the engine that keeps the motor running. Similarly it’s passion that keeps our love going. And since we all come from God, let’s look at the originator of love, God Himself, and we will notice that His love is multifaceted and expressed with a lot of passion. In the book of Exodus we read about a jealous God (Exodus 34:14):

For you are to bow down to no other god, because Adonai is jealous for His Name—He is a jealous God.

If we see a friend habitually promoting his firstborn while overlooking what his other kids bring to the table, then we understand their jealousy. Jealousy is an indicator that there’s preferential treatment going on, and preferential treatment is not OK. If the children of said friend didn’t care about their parents, then they wouldn’t be jealous and continuously fight for their attention. Jealousy is a hot burning flame that can undermine and destroy relationships, but it is a derivative of love. So from this vantage point it makes sense that God gets jealous if we overlook Him all the time and give our full attention to something or someone else. If we didn’t matter to Him He wouldn’t be jealous. His jealousy is His declaration of love to us.

Prophet Isaiah wrote about God’s anger (Isaiah 57:17):

“Because of the iniquity of his unjust gain I was angry; I struck him; I hid My face; I was angry—but he went on backsliding in the way of his heart.”

Anger could be an indicator that there’s abuse and injustice going on. If abuse and injustice happens right before our very eyes we should get angry. While anger is mostly known as violent and destructive, it can also be constructive and promote positive change. It’s passion for freedom that ignited civil war in the United States. Without going into details, we still need a lot of anger to eliminate all kinds of slavery on this planet. And this is why God gets angry. His anger might have a bad reputation, but look at the results. We’re still here. God’s anger initiates change and brings about a new beginning. A cardinal example was the new beginning after the big flood.

Since God loves full spectrum, let’s embrace this kind of love and do the same! Let’s be involved, interested, and passionate as we go about our business today.

“When He rolls up His sleeves He ain’t just putting on the Ritz

There’s thunder in His footsteps and lightning in His fists

And the Lord wasn’t joking when He kicked them out of Eden

It wasn’t for no reason that He shed His blood

His return is very close and so you better be believing that our God is an awesome God”

(Rich Mullins)

Deuteronomy 32:21: “They have roused my jealousy by worshiping things that are not God; they have provoked my anger with their useless idols. Now I will rouse their jealousy through people who are not even a people; I will provoke their anger through the foolish Gentiles.”

This image shows a guy with two girls, subtitled: “This is the life” – maybe for the guy, probably not so much for the girls. Ménage à trois is not known to be a concept that works.

In his song “Jealous Guy” John Lennon wrote:

“I was feeling insecure
You might not love me anymore
I was shivering inside
I was shivering inside
Oh didn’t mean to hurt you
I’m sorry that I made you cry
Oh my I didn’t want to hurt you
I’m just a jealous guy”

In the realm of human relationships we run into jealousy, maybe more often than we realize.  The first thing that comes to mind is a romantic relationship. However, there’s also jealousy among siblings, jealousy at work, jealousy over physical appearance and talent. So, jealousy is found everywhere in the fabrics of human society. Some people are more prone to jealousy than others, but I believe everybody has felt it at some point – that twinge of anger rising up inside of us when we feel slighted.

Curiously, in the closing chapters of the book of Deuteronomy we read about a jealous God. What is that all about? Why would He be jealous, a God who can make anything we can’t even dream of, who has everything, the all-powerful all-knowing and amazing God – why would He say: “You made me jealous!” to mere humans?

Actually, we should feel honored that God is jealous of us. If He wasn’t, we wouldn’t mean anything to Him. As it is, we mean the world to Him – so God gets ticked off when we are more interested in xyz than in Him. Never mind that He created xyz, and He could probably replace xyz in a heartbeat with another more dazzling creation. However, that’s totally beside the point, because we matter to Him, and it’s our undivided devotion that He is looking for.

So, God is jealous because – yes, you guessed it – He fiercely loves us. And He has His way of getting our attention. To the people of Israel He basically said: “You made me jealous with foolish things, now I’m going to make you jealous with a foolish people.” And so the story goes! We know today that the Jewish people has gained an unwanted brother, a brother that is not a nation but lives all over the world. Among the despised heathen nations faith in Christ has spread like a wildfire. This unwanted brother reads and believes in the Torah and Prophets and added a few more books to the Bible, commonly known as “The New Testament”.

Generally speaking, religious wars smell a lot like like family feuds to me. All parties involved say and believe the same thing: They all claim exclusive rights to the Eternal One and spread the word around that “they” are the only ones who know God – or “they” are the ones who supposedly know God best. While this seems ridiculous to the rest of the world, I can imagine God smiling about this kind of sibling rivalry – as long as we don’t kill each other of course.

The point is, we are passionate about God, and that means everything to Him. Passionate as He is, God will be most offended by our indifference – Jesus calls such attitude “lukewarm” (Revelation 3:16):

“But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!”

Spoken like a true jealous Son of God!

God’s jealousy goes to show that He is extremely passionate about you and me.  That’s an important part of God to understand. Never forget, it’s the Passion of Christ that led to the cross and His subsequent resurrection. Without passion there’s really no Easter! We have a God whose jealousy ultimately leads to our redemption. His jealousy is a true indicator that His love knows no compromise. Such love can be trusted, and such love will never fail!

You are a jealous God, strong is Your passion. You are a jealous God; You want to be, you got to be my one and only.  (Basically Two, Bill & Evelyn Snyder)