Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. —Song of Songs 8:6, NIV
Friend to Friend
Shakespeare described jealousy as a “green-eyed monster.” Mark Twain called it the “trademark of small minds.” I once heard it described as “the gangrene of the soul.” Not a lovely picture, is it? In fact, in human terms, jealousy is usually thought of as a negative trait we need to carefully guard against. However, when it comes to God, jealousy takes on a whole new meaning.*
God is a jealous God. The root idea in the Old Testament word jealous is to become intensely red and refers to the way our face can change color with rising emotion when something or someone very dear to us is threatened.
Been there? I have! In fact, both the Old and New Testament words for jealousy are also translated “zeal.” In other words, being jealous and being zealous is basically the same thing in the Bible.
God is zealous – eager about protecting what is precious to Him. It’s the kind of jealousy that compels God to pursue each one of us relentlessly, no matter how we try to evade Him with our indifferent attitude or our propensity for sin. The jealousy of God is comparable to the jealous passion of a parent for their child. As a mother, I know what that kind of love is like.
When our son was only six weeks old, he developed a potentially serious medical condition. When the doctor told us to immediately bring Jered to the hospital for tests, I panicked. Dan rushed home from work, and we raced to the hospital where we were met by caring nurses and our wonderful pediatrician.
After an extensive exam, the doctor said, “Okay. Let’s get an IV in this little man and get him upstairs for X-rays.” Seeing the look on my face, Dr. Schultz wrapped his arm around my shoulders and said, “He is going to be fine. We will take good care of him.”
Words of comfort, but they were not nearly enough to assuage my anguish as I pictured needles being thrust into my precious baby. And he couldn’t eat in case they had to do surgery! Jered was all about eating. After his regular feeding time came and went, he screamed for food until he was hoarse. I cried along with him because I knew he was hungry, but I couldn’t feed him or make him understand why I couldn’t feed him.
The nurses were obviously accustomed to dealing with almost hysterical mothers like me and reassured me repeatedly that everything was going to be fine. I wanted proof!
This was not just any baby they were dealing with. Jered was my baby! I fully expected the claws to pop out of the ends of my fingers at any moment because, for the first time in my life, I understood what a mama bear must feel like when her cub is threatened.
The nurse who was assigned to insert Jered’s IV was wonderful. I held him tightly as she expertly and gently inserted the needle, and quickly secured it with surgical tape. She then took a Styrofoam cup, cut it in half, and taped it over the needle so Jered couldn’t accidently kick it out. And let me tell you, he was indeed kicking at this point!
The nurse then left the room so I could rock my baby and try to calm him down. Just as he drifted off to sleep, the door slammed open as an X-ray technician wheeled a gurney into the room and sharply ordered, “Let’s go!”
He had no idea who he was dealing with. My husband did and quickly took charge, escorting the technician into the hallway and said, “We will carry him up to the X-ray floor and will be glad to follow you, but we will not need that gurney until we get there.” The technician started to argue, but evidently reconsidered when his eyes found mine and he caught my death glare. “Fine,” he said and grabbed the IV pole, and told us to follow him.
When we reached the X-ray unit, Dan gently pried Jered out of my arms, and laid him on the gurney. The technician said, “We are really backed up today so let’s make this quick!” He then jerked the gurney and the IV pole in opposite directions, yanking out the carefully inserted and securely taped IV. Blood spurted out of my son’s leg, and he began to scream.
I don’t exactly remember what happened next, but Dan does. He said I scooped Jered up in my arms, stomped my foot so loudly that nurses came running as I growled at the offending young man. I guess the technician had reached his patience limit, too, because he glared back at me and said, “Lady, do you need to leave this unit?”
Dan said he quickly began calculating how he was going to raise my bail money when, out of the corner of his eye, he saw me approach the doomed technician, plant my finger in his chest and whisper through clenched teeth, “Listen carefully to me, young man. I know you have a job to do, but you need to understand something right now! This is my baby! I am not going anywhere! And you need to watch how you treat him!” The young man quickly apologized … as did I … sort of … but I meant every word I had spoken to him.
Fortunately, Jered did not have to have surgery. He downed two full bottles in record time, and I let the technician live. Thankfully, we headed home instead of to jail. I was and still am a jealous parent who is passionate and zealous about her children.
Don’t doubt for a minute that God is jealous for you, Girlfriend. He is standing right beside you, wrapping His arms of love around your wounded heart. Listen closely as He declares that you are His child. You belong to Him, and He is not going anywhere!
Father, I want to thank You for loving me like no one has ever loved me. I cannot comprehend that kind of love, but I know it is real because it has changed me. Thank You for Your faithfulness and provision in my life. I praise You!
In Jesus’ name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Set aside time today to spend with God. Read and meditate on the promise of John 3:16:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Record this verse in your journal.
Circle the action words. What do they mean to you personally?
More from the Girlfriends
The love of God is like no other love. Mary’s MP3 download, Love That Never Fails, is a powerful message that will help you understand and celebrate the amazing love of God. Check it out.
Looking for a Bible Study? Check out Mary’s weekly online Bible Study, Light for the Journey and learn how to deal with the anger in your life. Be sure to connect with Mary on Facebook or through email.
*This article was originally written/published by the author under the title “God is Jealous for Me.”