[1] I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me! [2] For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.

2 Corinthians 11:1-2

The sarcasm of Paul is quite evident in the opening words of 2 Corinthians 11 where he writes, “I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me!” (vs 1). In effect, “you think me a clown, humour me a little longer”. This is what I think and feel about you, “I feel a divine jealousy for you for I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ” (vs 2)

Look at that incredible statement that fills Paul’s heart. “I feel a divine jealousy for you,” another way of putting it would be “I am jealous for you with God’s own zeal.”

It’s good to remind ourselves that God is a jealous God.

[4] “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. [5] You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,

Exodus 20:4-5

One of God’s names is jealous. In the ancient world one’s name was not merely a label or a title, but a declaration of one’s character. So, in the very depths of God’s divine character burns the fire of jealousy. Jealousy is central to the essence of who God is. Jealousy is at the core of God’s identity as God. There are many reasons to worship God, one of them is that he is a jealous God and as God he burns with jealousy for the undivided allegiance and affection of His people. So….

[11] “Phinehas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, has turned back my wrath from the people of Israel, in that he was jealous with my jealousy among them, so that I did not consume the people of Israel in my jealousy.

Numbers 25:11

For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God

Deuteronomy 4:24

This is an interesting verse,

He put out the form of a hand and took me by a lock of my head, and the Spirit lifted me up between earth and heaven and brought me in visions of God to Jerusalem, to the entrance of the gateway of the inner court that faces north, where was the seat of the image of jealousy, which provokes to jealousy

Ezekiel 8:3

There are many other scriptures proclaiming God as a jealous God. It is a concept of God that stretches our minds. He experiences within the depths of His being genuine passions and affections. The fact that we balk at the suggestion that God is jealous indicates that we have a weak, even ‘nice’ view of His divine nature. Absolutely fundamental to God being God is the presence in his nature of this passion called jealousy.

We have probably seen, felt or been on the receiving end of human jealousy which is destructive and horrible so we shrink back at the idea that God is a jealous God. But to say that God is jealous certainly does not mean that he is suspicious because of some insecurity in his heart.

This kind of jealousy is the result of ignorance and mistrust, features that cannot be found in the heart of God. He is not, and cannot be envious of others

J. I. Packer. Knowing God. “God’s jealousy is not a compound of frustration, envy, and spite, as human jealousy so often is, but appears instead as a . . . praiseworthy zeal to preserve something supremely precious”

Divine jealousy is His zeal to protect a love relationship or to avenge it when it is broken. Jealousy in God is that passionate energy that provokes and stirs and moves him to take action against whatever or whoever stands in the way of His enjoyment of what he loves and desires. How is this divine jealousy expressed?

John Piper has bashed us rightly over the head till we get this. God is most jealous for his own glory, fame, and honour. He desires above all else that His name be preserved and promoted and He will act quickly and powerfully to vindicate His glory.

The jealousy of God is that intense drive He has to protect the interests of His own glory. He will not allow any eroding of His majesty, power, uniqueness etc.

[25] “Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Now I will restore the fortunes of Jacob and have mercy on the whole house of Israel, and I will be jealous for my holy name.

Ezekiel 39:25

God is also jealous for the devotion and wholeheartedness and loyalty and love of His bride, His people, His church. John Calvin said this,

“The Lord very frequently addresses us in the character of a husband . . . As He performs all the offices of a true and faithful husband, so He requires love and chastity from us; that is, that we do not prostitute our souls to Satan . . . As the purer and chaster a husband is, the more grievously he is offended when he sees his wife inclining to a rival; so the Lord, who has betrothed us to Himself in truth, declares that He burns with the hottest jealousy whenever, neglecting the purity of His holy marriage, we defile ourselves with abominable lusts, and especially when the worship of His deity, which ought to have been most carefully kept unimpaired, is transferred to another, or adulterated with some superstition; since in this way we not only violate our plighted troth, but defile the nuptial couch by giving access to adulterers”

So it is that God’s jealousy acts to prevent anything that detracts from the glory of His name or threatens the purity of His relationship with His bride, the Church.

It is this very jealousy, this same divine and godly zeal, that now fills the heart of Paul as he contemplates the dangerous path down which so many of the Corinthians appear to be walking. It is this jealousy that alone accounts for the passionate appeal that is to follow. In Paul’s case it is a mixture of love, outrage, and fear: love for the Corinthians manifests in deep concern for their spiritual well-being; outrage at their fickleness, the ease and speed by which they have been seduced; fear for their future if they do not repent and return to the Lord. He is jealous for them

Our God is a jealous God in whose heart burns a passionate love for He people, a love that will forever labour to win our full affection and unqualified devotion.