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Bible verses about Jealousy
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Exodus 34:12-16

God describes idolatry as harlotry, playing around with someone else's spouse. It is a case of divided loyalties. God becomes angry, jealous, when this happens spiritually. In fact, in Deuteronomy 4:24, His anger becomes so hot that He describes Himself as being a consuming fire. Fire symbolizes God's radiant glory as an aspect of His holiness.

Zeal and jealousy are opposite sides of the same coin; both of them are driven by passion. One is positive, the other negative. One is for, one is against. Zeal is passionately for something or somebody, while jealousy is passionately against something or somebody. Similarly, fire is hot, and it is both positive and negative. It symbolizes both refining and purifying, on the one hand, and death and destruction on the other.

The pattern is in the way God depicts His feelings toward us. As a consuming fire, He will either purify or destroy with His passion. He is either for something with a great deal of ardor, or He is against something with a great deal of fury. He is for those who are with Him, and He is loyal to the nth degree to them. But He is against sin and disloyalty with just as much heat as He is for those who love Him and diligently seek Him. His attitude is not cool in any way, shape, or form, but hot. He wants us to respond in like manner.

In what way are we seeking God? Diligently? Earnestly? Sincerely? With warmth, ardor, and affection? Is our seeking the ardent pursuit of one in love—one who wants to be around this personality and really desires to know Him because we are, after all, going to marry Him and spend all eternity with Him? Or is it a kind of a take-it-or-leave-it, distant, academic coolness because we do not want to make a fool of ourselves or offend others with our zeal? Think about it.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Prayer and Seeking God


 

Deuteronomy 4:21-24

There is heat in God's relationship with His people. Within the Ten Commandments, in the second commandment, He says, "For the LORD your God is a jealous God." What is jealousy? It is a passionate intolerance, even a hostility, toward a rival. It is also defined as vigilance in guarding a possession.

In this passage, God is having a passionate reaction against a rival, idolatry. God will not permit idolatry without reacting because idolatry promotes divided loyalties. We are His, and He does not choose to share us with anybody or anything else.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Prayer and Seeking God


 

2 Samuel 6:20-23

Michal, revealing another aspect of her nature, accuses David of dancing shamefully before the maids of his servants. Jealousy had set so deeply in her heart that it led her to despise her husband. Her embarrassment—which no one else seemed to share—blinded her to the larger occasion of giving God glory. She could see the celebration going on from her window, but in her self-centered jealousy and pride, she refused to rejoice with the rest of Israel.

She could only find fault. Proud Michal felt that her husband should do things the way she thought they should be done—evidently, with stately grandeur rather than wild abandon. Her jealousy caused her to try to make David feel guilty for celebrating as he did. The king does not let her off easily, but lets her have a piece of his mind!

Today, we might call Michal a "party pooper," but in reality, her transgression was far more serious. Because she could not see past her baseless pride and jealousy, she was punished with barrenness. Some commentators suggest that she was not to come before the king the rest of her life!

Ronny H. Graham
The Refuser of Festivities


 

Proverbs 15:30

For "makes the bones fat," the marginal reference reads, "makes the bones healthy."

"The light of the eyes" - One might think that the psalmist refers the light in one's own eyes, but in this case, it is not. It is the light in another's eyes. What would we consider to be the light in another person's eyes within the context of this verse? It has to be something that the person is joyous, happy, enthused, encouraged about. He loves whatever they heard, and when he brings this news, one can see the light in his eyes. What does it do to the observer? It picks him up, and it is good for a person to be in such a situation. This verse illustrates how an environment can produce positive effects.

We know from our own life experiences that this is so. If we step into a room charged with anger, depression, bitterness, envy, jealousy, prideful gossip, or suspicion, what happens to us? We sense it or discern it immediately. We may become defensive and want to leave just as fast as we can.

Conversely, instead of entering a room charged with a negative attitude, perhaps we encounter a positive one. It pulls us toward it and makes us want to join and enjoy the benefits of such a positive, uplifting, and good spirit.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Holy Spirit and the Trinity (Part 4)


 

Obadiah 1:10

Leviticus 19:17, "You shall not hate your brother in your heart," succinctly describes the fundamental flaw in Edom, hatred. Edom's hatred is the primary consequence of his pride. Because Esau—the father of the Edomites—always felt that he should have been the master and received his father's wealth and blessings, he nursed his wounded feelings of superiority, and it boiled over into hatred of his brother. This flaw became a prime feature of Edomite character.

Hatred against a brother can lead a person to terrible acts, most often underhanded ones. In the case of the Edomites, their vile attitudes first manifested themselves in such things as gloating and rejoicing over Israel's catastrophes, and led to actions such as pillaging, selling into slavery, and taking the other's territory when Israel and Judah were weak.

God encapsulates the reason for His terrible judgment against Edom into a single word: "violence." In Hebrew, this word is chamas, believe it or not, so strikingly similar to the name of the Palestinian terrorist organization, Hamas. In actuality, Hamas is an acronym for Harakat al-Muqawima al-Islamiyya, the Islamic Resistance Movement. Along with Hezbollah, it has been Israel's chief enemy for many years. It is difficult to see this as a mere coincidence.

Could this be a scriptural clue as to the modern-day identity of Edom or perhaps Amalek? The details revealed in Obadiah support such a conclusion. A survey of recent Middle East history shows how Hamas has set itself against the Jews; no other group bears such vehement hatred for them. Even though it has secured political power in Palestine, it will not renounce its perpetual hatred against the state of Israel—not even to become a viable player on the world stage. Members of Hamas simply want to annihilate Israel.

Chamas suggests immoral, cruel violence, going hand-in-hand with "slaughter" in the previous verse. The two words are undoubtedly linked. Edom will be cut off with the same slaughter and in the same manner by which she treated Israel: with violence, with chamas!

Why does God describe Esau in these terms? What drives Esau to hate Israel so viscerally? Deuteronomy 32 succinctly illustrates God's attentive relationship with Israel, how He found her, cared for her, and formed her into a great nation. God's love for Israel undergirds why hatred and violence against Israel is such a terrible transgression. Indeed, God's relationship with Israel is a driving factor behind Edom's hot anger—it is essentially jealousy!

Zechariah 2:8 describes Israel as "the apple of His eye." If a person pokes another in the eye, it hurts the recipient terribly. Because Esau's perpetual enmity and violence against Israel are fingers in God's eye, He takes extreme umbrage. The Edomites, rebelling against God's will, picked on one whom God has chosen. This is sin, not only against Israel, but also against God. Rather than humbly bowing before His will that the older shall serve the younger, Edom has waged perpetual war against Jacob's descendants. In doing so, she has, in effect, declared war against God - a very serious sin.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
All About Edom (Part Five): Obadiah and God's Judgment


 

Luke 15:25-31

The older brother represents the Pharisaical attitude that resents God's interest in sinners—the same attitude in the early church that looked suspiciously at the inclusion of Gentiles. His self-righteousness manifests itself in jealousy and envy. Today, the elder son is like those who, in self-righteousness, shun brethren who do not live up to their standard of righteousness (Proverbs 20:6; Galatians 6:3; Titus 3:5). Such people do not realize that their self-righteousness is as the filthy rags of the prodigal son (Isaiah 64:6).

Martin G. Collins
Parables of Luke 15 (Part Three)


 

John 3:25-30

For a person to be humble, he has to understand and fully accept the realization that came from John's innermost being. If he does not, pride will arise and muzzle humility by means of a character weakness. Here, John's disciples feel a measure of jealousy because more people were being attracted to Jesus, and the number of John's disciples was dwindling. John's reply to them is one of wisdom. He understands that God assigns a place in the outworking of His purpose to everyone He calls. John knows and accepts that he had no right to lay claim to an honor that had not been given to him from heaven. Instead of envying Jesus' success, John rejoices that both men's purposes were being fulfilled.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Living by Faith and Humility


 

2 Corinthians 11:2

Jealousy has a well-deserved bad reputation because it is essentially self-centered. However, it has a positive aspect when the affection and passion that it contains are directed at upholding the well-deserved reputation of the one who is loved.

The third commandment bears directly on this subject. It is a command that is easily and carelessly broken unless we are continually conscious of our responsibility to bring honor upon the name of God, which we will do if we love Him. We will be jealous to uphold the reputation of His name.

John W. Ritenbaugh
How to Know We Love Christ


 

2 Corinthians 11:2

Being the one who wrote about the fruit of the Spirit and the works of the flesh, Paul understood the difference between carnal and godly jealousy.

What was Paul's motive for teaching and guiding the church? What was the object of his jealousy? Was he hoarding this little group for himself or keeping enough people in his group to support his lifestyle and agenda? The various definitions of the Greek word zeloo (often translated as "affect," "covet," "desire," "envy," "jealous," or "zealous") provided by Vine's Dictionary of New Testament Words give us some insights: "to seek or desire eagerly," "to desire to have," "to take a warm interest in," "to seek zealously." From this perspective, we see that Paul's motives were virtuous. He was eagerly desirous to do everything in his God-given power to present the church to Christ as a chaste virgin! He was closely watching over these people with godly jealousy.

Notice, Paul was not jealous of these people but for them, and maybe that is part of our misunderstanding of godly jealousy. God has no reason to be jealous of us or anything else, but He certainly has a burning desire for us!

Has something ever caught our interest so much and fired a yearning for it that we could not rest until that desire was satisfied? These two ideas, jealousy and consuming fire, have something in common, as Deuteronomy 4:24 suggests: Our jealous God is a consuming fire!

This is one of God's attributes of which we might at first be afraid, as the author of Hebrews points out (Hebrews 12:29). When we think of fire, chances are we first think of being burned or consumed. Yet, fire can also be used as a purifier, and it can sure feel good on a cold winter morning. Many people can sit and watch a fire in the hearth for hours, listening to the soothing crackle and pop of the wood and enjoying its warmth.

A fire is a beautiful sight. It contains many different shades of red, orange, and yellow flowing together, and if it gets hot enough, one can see deep shades of blue in it as well. The coals or the burning embers seem as if they are pulsating with heat and energy all the while they are slowly being consumed and their energy dissipating.

Yet, recall the burning bush where God commissioned Moses to lead His people out of slavery (Exodus 3:2). It was totally enveloped in fire, yet it was not destroyed. As long as God was in it, the energy never diminished! The sight was so brilliant in depicting God's glory that Moses dropped to his knees and bowed to the ground. This event demonstrates that godly jealousy comes first, and it issues in fire!

What, then, is the motive and object of God's jealousy? In seeking to reproduce Himself, God is preparing a bride for His Son. The practice of parents' choosing their children's spouses is not common in our Western world, but many of us wish our children were so likeminded with us that they would totally trust us with their happiness for the rest of their lives.

Jesus trusts His Father because He knows that He is a jealous God, and His jealousy is directed toward Him and the perfecting of His bride, the church. The Father desires that we be given a spirit body and be filled with His mind and power. He is eager to give us His only companion in wedlock, bestowing on us His Family name and making us heirs of His mighty Kingdom!

On the other hand, Satan begins very early in our lives to plant seeds of carnal jealousy, never missing a chance to tempt us to react according to his evil spirit. The sin of jealousy begins in our minds, and if it is not eliminated, it will inhibit God's Spirit from dominating our thinking. The two cannot dwell together.

Ronny H. Graham
The Jealousy of God


 

James 1:13-15

It is not wrong to want something. We can want a spouse, a house, or a car, but not if it belongs to our neighbor - unless he is selling a possession, and we acquire it in a fair and honest manner. However, when "desire has conceived," it may result in breaking any of the Ten Commandments, including covetousness, to which everyone is susceptible. Uncontrolled lust for power, land and wealth can drive men to murder, if necessary, to obtain a coveted prize.

Martin G. Collins
The Tenth Commandment


 

James 2:1

God provides us with dozens of examples of men and women who were partial to various people or things, and along with the examples come important lessons we can learn to avoid their mistakes. Sometimes, a right and godly favoritism is shown—particularly by God Himself—and an unrighteous, human reaction causes a great deal of trouble. Yet, more often, human partiality toward or against others opens the proverbial can of worms. A number of examples come immediately to mind.

» When God accepted Abel's offering but rejected Cain's—favor based on obedience and proper attitude—hatred, jealousy, resentment, and murderous rage resulted (see Genesis 4). This first example is one of godly favor taken badly.

» Through favoritism, Isaac (toward Esau) and Rebecca (toward Jacob) instilled a spirit of competition, strife, and resentment between the two brothers, which led to an even-now ongoing feud, more than 3,500 years later (see Genesis 25 and 27)!

» Jacob's partiality to Rachel was the source of a great deal of hostility and scheming among Jacobs's wives and concubines (see Genesis 30). This also created rivalries between their sons.

» Jacob's favoritism for Joseph made his half-brothers so jealous that they were ready to murder him (see Genesis 37). Instead, they "only" sold him into slavery, telling their father that he had been torn to pieces by a wild beast. This caused the patriarch no end of grief.

» Through his partiality as a father, Eli allowed himself to become complacent to the gross sins of his two sons (see I Samuel 2-4). This led both to calamity for Eli's house and national defeat at the hands of the Philistines.

» King David's partiality blinded his eyes to his children's evil actions, particularly Amnon's rape of his half-sister, Tamar; and Absalom's murder of Amnon and his rebellion against David himself (see II Samuel 13-18). Later, he ignored Adonijah's preparations to take over his throne, in spite of his expressed desire to have Solomon succeed him (see I Kings 1).

» In the story of Esther, Haman's prejudice almost cost the lives of all the Jews living in the Persian Empire (see Esther 3-8). Only an act of great courage and self-sacrifice saved the Jews from annihilation.

The Bible contains a host of other examples that thoroughly demonstrate the insidiousness of this potential sin. It is clear that the effects of partiality are the real problem. A person can have the best of intentions and reasons for his bias—as God's favor certainly is—but the reactions of those not in favor cause events to spin out of control. At other times, and certainly in most cases of human bias, the respect of persons is clearly wrong from the outset, and the carnal reactions of those it affects just makes matters worse.

Dan Elmore
The Sin of Partiality


 

James 4:1-3

When we think of nations at war, do we also think of what a happy situation it is that people are being killed, families separated, property destroyed or confiscated, hopes and dreams shattered, and futures ended? War produces terror, fear, pain, anger, uncertainty, guilt and - if it could be weighed - tons of heartache. War, God's Word informs us, is a fruit of coveting.

Apply these thoughts to a microcosm of national wars, family wars, that so often end in divorce. What causes these family wars? They frequently erupt for the same basic reason as national wars. Somebody is coveting, and though the scale is smaller, the results are the same.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Tenth Commandment (1998)


 

James 4:1-3

This world is filled with wars of every size and magnitude, declared and undeclared. The strong attack the weak, and oppressed minorities fight to throw off the yoke of tyranny. Labor and management throw verbal bombs at each other. Husbands and wives do not divorce because they have peaceful, productive marriages! Increasingly, parents and children seem to look upon each other with scorn and sometimes break into open anger and fighting.

James shows ever so clearly that the root of these problems is lust, merely one expression of human nature. Human nature expresses itself in vanity, jealousy, lust, greed, murder, hatred, avarice, competition, lying, stealing, dishonoring parent, fornication, adultery, and - the most damaging of all - idolatry. In fact, we could say that all the above flow from idolatry!

John W. Ritenbaugh
Preparing to Rule!


 

1 Peter 3:8

A short definition of courtesy would be “polite behavior that shows respect for other people.” Does God have anything to say about courtesy? Remember the “Golden Rule”? Jesus exhorts His disciples in Matthew 7:12: “Treat others as you want them to treat you. This is what the law and the prophets are all about” (Contemporary English Version).

If we truly lived by this, we would always treat others with courtesy. Chivalry would not be dead. For those younger folks who may not know, chivalry was an ancient, knightly code emphasizing the virtues of service to others, honor, love, and courtesy.

Consider, for instance, how we treat the “hoary head(s)” among us. Leviticus 19:32 commands us: “Show respect for old people and honor them. Reverently obey Me; I am the Lord” (Good News Bible). There have been times when I have come up on the rear of a slow-moving car and muttered, “Come on, grandpa, let's go!” only to remember that I, too, am a grandpa!

In all seriousness, though, do we revere the older folks as we should? Do we encourage our children to go last in line at a potluck? Do we take the time to do the simple things like teach our kids to look an adult in the eye when he or she speaks to them? Do we insist that they say, “Yes, sir [or ma'am],” not interrupt an adult conversation, hold doors for them, and generally, as God urges, “Show respect for old people and honor them”?

Why would we be impolite to the elderly—or anyone, for that matter? Why not move over on the road and let others going faster drive by? Why be rude to sales clerks and wait staffs? Why not use the simplest of courtesies like “please” and “thank you”?

The apostle Paul gives the answer in Philippians 2:3: “Don't be jealous or proud, but be humble and consider others more important than yourselves” (Contemporary English Version). Now that is truly a hard thing to do. I can hear it now: “Treat others more important than moi? How can that be? The left lane was built for me! All others must go around. Why, if I were to move over and let you by, then I would lose face. I would be admitting defeat. I would be a loser in life's rat race.” Most people fail to consider that, even if they win the rat race, they are still a rat!

Mike Ford
Courtesy


 

Find more Bible verses about Jealousy:
Jealousy {Nave's}
 




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