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Jealous Love

Jealous Love

You shall have no other gods before me. 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. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God . . . Exodus 20:3-5

When I first met my wife, it was love at first sight. I’m not saying that this should happen to everyone. I’m just saying it happened to me. I simply knew she was the one from the moment I met her. She, however, was definitely not struck with this same knowledge or feeling. So, we remained in the friend-zone for seven long years, during which I experienced significant heartache. Love desires to be loved back and when it goes unreturned, it hurts. During that time, the thought of her dating someone else was maddening. My love was jealous. What’s strange is that if you ask when things began to change for her, she’ll tell you that it was when I began to move on and date someone else. Suddenly, the tables were turned, and she experienced loss and jealously.

Now, having been married for 25 years, we still feel a jealous love for each other. I love her and I desire that she loves me back. She feels the same. We have this expectation that each of us will meet the other’s emotional needs and that we’ll seek to have our emotional needs met by each other. We understand and expect that it’s inappropriate to find our deepest emotional needs met by someone outside our marriage. If I find myself in a relationship where I’m sharing intimate conversation or recreational time with another woman, my wife should be hurt and offended. I should be ashamed and repent. Our love is jealous in a good way – we have specific expectations and boundaries in our relationship with each other.

This helps me understand God’s jealous love for us, which is the lesson of today’s passage. In it, God delivered the Ten Commandments to Moses, and the first rule of life was that there is only one God. He loves us and he desires to be loved back. We were created to live in a loving relationship with him and when we wander from that relationship, we’re unfaithful. This hurts him and it hurts us. God’s love is jealous – in a good way – expecting that we love him above all. Only in doing so, do we experience the life, joy, and peace for which we were made. There is only one God and if we desire to know the lives for which he created us, we must daily follow him.

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