Can God Do Wrong, Such as Get Jealous?

The Bible says that God gets jealous over us. But we’re taught early on that getting jealous is wrong. So is God capable of doing wrong?

No. Scripture promises us that “Everything he does is just and fair. He is a faithful God who does no wrong; how just and upright he is” (Deuteronomy 32:4). And Hebrews 6:18 states, “For God to do wrong would go against his very nature and character, which he cannot go.”

So the issue must be with our definition of the word jealous. Although jealous in English is mostly used in an evil sense, in Hebrew, the words “jealous God” are el qana, which express passion and caring, most often in connection with a marriage relationship. God considered the Israelites to be his marriage partner, and he wanted them to love him as a wife would devote herself exclusively to her husband. Exodus 34:14 states, “You must worship no other gods, for the Lord, whose very name is Jealous, is a God who is jealous about his relationship with you.”

As relational beings we can relate to wanting to be loved exclusively. We are designed to jealously crave each other’s exclusive love. And because God is perfectly good and holy, his jealousy is not in any way selfish. He knows that when we love him exclusively—with all our heart, soul, and strength—it allows us to experience the joy and meaning we seek in life. God’s jealous love is a model for us to follow.

Question: Have you ever been crazy jealous over someone? What emotions come to mind as you recall that relationship? Did you do anything really dumb when you were caught up in jealousy?
Question: Can you see how God’s jealousy for us is completely opposite, that it’s a good thing? How do you feel knowing that God desires a relationship with you so badly?

Content adapted from Josh and Sean McDowell’s book, 77 FAQs about God and the Bible.

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