By Ava Pennington—
After a severe loss, a friend told me she was done with believing in the God of the Bible. She said, “Your God is too cruel. How could I believe in a god who allows atrocities to be committed on children?”
A few months later, a celebrity talk show host said she could no longer believe in the God of the Bible because he called himself a jealous God.
Both of these instances caused me to examine my understanding of God…and theirs. If the source of our understanding is not what God says about himself, then we’re guilty of making God fit our expectations and desires.
It doesn’t help when names and attributes of God that comforted countless generations are misunderstood. For example, when God calls himself Jealous, what does that mean?
Isn’t jealousy a negative characteristic? Aren’t jealous people simply revealing their insecurities and their desire to possess what they don’t have?
In our culture, we have come to relate jealousy with pettiness or someone who is suspicious of a rival. But jealous can also refer to vigilance in guarding or protecting something or someone.
God wants to protect his people from worshipping anything other than him – not because he is insecure, but because he wants his best for us.
God is jealous in that he guards and protects us from things that are not in our best interests. Loving parents are protective of their children’s choices. They grieve when their children succumb to destructive influences in their lives. I’m glad God does nothing less for us!
“Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God” (Exodus 34:14).
Ava Pennington is thoroughly enjoying her second career as an author, teacher, and speaker. Originally from New York City, she relocated after a 20-year corporate career as a Human Resources executive. But don’t call her retired. In addition to writing and speaking, she teaches a Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) class of 200+ women from September through May each year.
Her newest book, Daily Reflections on the Names of God: A Devotional, is published by Revell and endorsed by Kay Arthur, founder of Precepts Ministries International. Ava has also written articles for magazines such as Power for Living, Called, and Christianity Today’s Today’s Christian Woman. She has been published in 25 anthologies, including 18 Chicken Soup for the Soul books.
Ava is grateful for her husband, Russ, their marriage of 35+ years, and their home in south Florida. She is a passionate speaker and teacher, and delights in challenging audiences with relevant, enjoyable presentations. For more information, visit www.AvaWrites.com or contact her at Ava@AvaWrites.com.