God is very jealous and He has made this known to mankind in His Word. When He gave mankind the ten commandments as rules to follow, He was emphatic on the fact that He is a jealous God.
His jealousy is so strong that, it leads Him to punishing sin to the fourth generation of them that hate Him and inversely rewards those who love Him.
“Thou shalt not bow thyself to them, nor serve them for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me. And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandment”. Exodus 20: 5-6.
God’s jealousy extends greatly to the service we offer Him as people He has called to work for Him and show His glory to others. His jealousy is justified in all ways since He has greatly invested in us through the giving away of His Only Begotten Son to die for our sin (John 3:16).
His investment in us is enough to let us give Him absolute service, especially in relation to other things or persons we offer service to.
God is not just interested in service to Him but diligent service that is worthy of who He is and what He has done for us.
Hebrews 11: 6 states that, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him”.
The type of service God expects of His children is not just any other service but DILIGENT service since that is the service He rewards. There are many people serving God but it is obvious that not all Christians are serving Him diligently.
Diligent service requires total commitment to what He has asked us to do for Him without complaint, murmuring, lackadaisical attitude or nonchalance.
David said in Psalm 42: 1 that his soul pants after the Lord as the deer pants for the waters. The thirsty deer drinks water as though its whole life depends on it and that is how David described his yearning for the Lord and for that matter his service to God.
If God is a jealous God, then we who serve Him must be wary of how we serve Him in order not to provoke Him to jealousy.
A jealous person is a person who does a lot of comparison. A jealous wife is a wife who wouldn’t want to share what she cherishes much with another or other women. She wants to have her husband to herself and would not spare any other woman coming close to her. If she spares any other woman, then that must not be to the level she has access to her husband.
If God is a jealous God, then He does a lot of comparison. In Exodus 20, His jealousy is towards other gods or images that are worshipped by His people.
On the surface, it is obvious that we do not have gods that we worship besides Him but, we need to carefully consider what He expects of us in these modern days when idols may not be in our rooms or homes but we may be hiding many other gods we are not even aware of.
How do we identify such gods before our jealous God?
If we are serving a God who rewards diligence, then His jealousy would extend to the amount of diligence we put into His service as against the one we give to other things, not images or gods.
Any time our diligence to any other thing or person exceeds our diligence to God’s service, we are provoking Him to jealousy.
This is a serious thing we joke with because we do not have a God who strikes others like the other gods do when servants misbehave before them.
It is an absolute act of provoking God to jealousy if we can get to work in time but get to church late. We do our best not to miss our appointment with our bosses at work but see nothing wrong with missing our appointment with God; and we see nothing wrong with it; we do not see God getting jealous that we respect men or our salaries more than we respect Him?
Diligence may not necessarily mean the amount of time we devote to something but rather the commitment we put into it. God expects us to work for six days but leave out the seventh day for Him. Clearly, He is not asking for all our time. But, the way we commit ourselves to Him on that day and in any other thing of His, as compared to other things we do, determines how we provoke Him to jealousy.
There are many Christians who ensure that their businesses do not fail; they put all they have into it to ensure it succeeds. They look around to ensure that anything going wrong in their business or workplaces is put right. The same persons care less if the Kingdom of God is failing; they look on unconcerned in the face of problems they have the ability to help solve; they devote all their efforts into their business but are not ready to do much for the work of God. It is similar to someone worship other gods besides God.
A jealous God would not look on without a feeling of bitter jealous when the people He gave a job to, a wife or husband to, money to, devote more commitment and diligence to what He gave them than Himself.
God should be boiling with jealousy as he looks at us devoting much commitment and diligence to other things than to His service.
Nothing compares to what He has given us nothing ought to come close to getting our diligence as service to Him.
We owe the Lord a lot of diligence in our service to Him but whatever the situation, we need to make sure we do not provoke Him to jealousy by giving Him less than any other thing. God doesn’t change so He remains the same jealous God who visits the iniquity of the fathers unto the children to the fourth generation.
Let’s stop provoking Him to jealousy raising our diligence to Him about any other person or thing.
May He grant us the grace to do so.