Jesus Is Redemptively Jealous

Most “jealousy” is simply avarice turned outward, an anger born of greed and nursed in contempt:

“You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel.”

But true righteous jealousy—redemptive jealousy—is as fierce as a bolt of lighting:

“For jealousy makes a man furious, and he will not spare when he takes revenge. He will accept no compensation; he will refuse though you multiply gifts.”

And just as a good husband will tolerate no rivals for his wife’s affections, so God resists our idols. We are by nature spiritual adulterers who cheat on our Heavenly Husband:

“I will go after my lovers, who give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.”

He is unequivocal in calling us to purity and faithfulness:

“You must dwell as mine for many days. You shall not play the whore, or belong to another man; so will I also be to you.”

But our idols are not easily defeated:

“It is hopeless, for I have loved foreigners, and after them I will go.”

Like Joseph, God is righteous and would be justified in writing us a decree and sending us away. But instead He has chosen to do what no earthly husband could ever do—He changes our hearts!

“Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her.”

He rends our souls by tearing us away from our illicit and idolatrous lovers, but then clothes us in unparalleled splendor and binds us up in His love:

“All glorious is the princess in her chamber, with robes interwoven with gold. In many-colored robes she is led to the king.”

“He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.”

Thank you, Lord, that you love us and will never allow our hearts to be held captive by another! Fill me with the same jealousy that you have for Your holy name that I might love you forever:

“You shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.”

“You shall have no other gods before Me.”

Jesus Is Our Heavenly Husband

The Scriptures refer to the people of God as the “bride of Christ,” and to Jesus as our heavenly Bridegroom. The nature of this union is indeed a great mystery, but the role we are to play is not. As Christ’s betrothed, we are to love Him, to submit to Him, and remain pure for Him:

“I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.”

The people of Israel were given the same promise of divine matrimony:

“For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name.”

And yet, just like the Israelites, we too are possessed of that same sinful proclivity to deny our Husband and commit spiritual adultery:

“Surely, as a treacherous wife leaves her husband, so have you been treacherous to me, O house of Israel.”

Jesus is altogether righteous, and like Joseph would have been justified in writing us a decree of divorce and sending us away. But His self-sacrificial love washes us clean from sin, adorns us with beautiful righteousness, and draws us into an eternal covenant:

“For the Lord has called you like a wife deserted and grieved in spirit, like a wife of youth when she is cast off, says your God. For a brief moment I deserted you, but with great compassion I will gather you.”

Christ loves His bride with such zeal and devotion that our hearts will one day forget every competing affection and seek only Him:

“In that day, declares the Lord, you will call me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal.’”

“Hear, O daughter, and consider, and incline your ear: forget your people and your father’s house, and the king will desire your beauty.”

Thank you, Lord, for betrothing us to Yourself in faithfulness and everlasting love. How we look forward to the great wedding feast that awaits us, the consummation of our eternal union!

“And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

“As the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.”