The Jealous God of Mercy

Aug 29
Jealousy

Jealousy is a sin which brings about spiritual death and is also one of the sins God identifies as a barrier to rending the veil. In this article, I’ll continue evaluating D&C 67:10 where the Lord tells us of the need to strip away our jealousies and fears and humble ourselves and the veil shall be rent.

In last week’s blog post on overcoming fear by faith, I explored the two aspects of fearing God and fearing man. Jealousy has a similar dichotomy.

God wants us to be jealous of him, and he wants us not to be jealous of others.

In Webster’s 1828 dictionary there are a few definitions of jealousy and we can see some fit well for each aspect.

“Apprehensive of rivalship” can apply to both. God is apprehensive that we will put our worship on some other thing than himself because he knows that will be an impediment to salvation for us. It’s for our own good that he is jealous. Another definition from Webster’s also illustrates this:

“Uneasy through fear that another has withdrawn or may withdraw from one the affections of a person he loves…”

The Jealous God

God gave Israel these commands:

Exodus 20:

3. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
4. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
5. Thou shalt not bow down 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;
6. And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

Why these commands? God knows the path to salvation and exaltation is a straight and narrow one. There is no salvation by any other way. He gives us commandments as direction how to live so that as many as will come to him may receive these blessings. Everything God does is an act of love and mercy and when we realize that, we see things through a different lens.

To protect his children, God seeks to correct those who stray so he can provide salvation for as many as will come to him. One example is in Numbers 25 where many Israelites had strayed from the covenant, committing whoredoms and bowing down to false Gods. The Lord sent a plague upon Israel which killed 24,000 people. It was only stayed because Moses and others put to death all those that worshiped false gods. The Lord knew this practice would continue to grow among the people and had to take measures to stop it. The incident became a reminder to Israel for all time that they were to worship the one true God.

Jealous for God

Prophets and righteous individuals are jealous for God as well. They try to keep people in the right way, acting as proxies for God, striving to keep others away from idolatry and false worship. This is all throughout the scriptures, but I want to share this unique text as an example.

In an institute class nearly 30 years ago, I had a teacher say to the class that the story of Job wasn’t good doctrine. The idea that God and Satan got together to collaborate on destroying Job’s life as a test of his faithfulness didn’t make a lot of sense. He then introduced us to another version of the Job story which to me, has a much more believable introduction. It looks like it was published in 1897 from apocryphal texts, but I haven’t looked deep into the origin. I have a link to the full text below but here is chapter 1 as it appears on this other site.

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Testament of Job, Chapter 1

1 On the day he became sick and (he) knew that he would have to leave his bodily abode, he called his seven sons and his three daughters together and spake to them as follows: 2 “Form a circle around me, children, and hear, and I shall relate to you what the Lord did for me and all that happened to me. 3 For I am Job your father. 4 Know ye then my children, that you are the generation of a chosen one and take heed of your noble birth.

5 For I am of the sons of Esau. My brother is Nahor, and your mother is Dinah. By her have I become your father. 6 For my first wife died with my other ten children in bitter death. 7 Hear now, children, and I will reveal unto you what happened to me.

8 I was a very rich man living in the East in the land Ausitis, (Utz) and before the Lord had named me Job, I was called Jobab.

9 The beginning of my trial was thus. 10. Near my house there was the idol of one worshipped by the people; and I saw constantly burnt-offerings brought to him as a god.

10 Then I pondered and said to myself: “Is this he who made heaven and earth, the sea and us all How will I know the truth”

11 And in that night as I lay asleep, a voice came and called: “Jobab! Jobab! rise up, and I will tell thee who is the one whom thou wishest to know. 12 This, however, to whom the people bring burnt-offerings and libations, is not God, but this is the power and work of the Seducer (Satan) by which he beguiles the people”.

13 And when I heard this, I fell upon the earth and I prostrated myself saying: 14 “O my Lord who speakest for the salvation of my soul. I pray thee, if this is the idol of Satan, I pray thee, let me go hence and destroy it and purify this spot. 15 For there is none that can forbid me doing this, as I am the king of this land, so that those that live in it will no longer be led astray’’.

16 And the voice that spoke out of the flame answered to me: “Thou canst purify this spot. 17. But behold I announce to thee what the Lord ordered me to tell thee, For I am the archangel of the God”. 18 .And I said : “Whatever shall be told to his servant. I shall hear”. 19. And the archangel, said to me : “Thus speaketh the Lord: If thou undertakest to destroy and takest away the image of Satan, he will set himself with wrath to wage war against thee, and he will display against thee all his malice. 21 He will bring upon thee many severe plagues, and take from thee all that thou hast. 21 He will take away thine children, and will inflict many evils upon thee. 22 Then thou must wrestle like an athlete and resist pain, sure of thy reward, overcome trials and afflictions.

23 But when thou endurest, I shall make thy name renowned throughout all generations of the earth until to the end of the world. 24 And I shall restore thee to all that thou hadst had, and the double part of what thou shalt lose will be given to thee in order that thou mayest know that God does not consider the person but giveth to each who deserveth the good. 25 And also to thee shall it be given, and thou shalt put on a crown of amarant. 26 And at the resurrection thou shalt awaken for eternal life. Then shalt thou know that he Lord is just, and true and mighty”.

27 Whereupon, my children, I replied: “I shall from love of God endure until death all that will come upon me, and I shall not shrink back”. 28 Then the angel put his seal upon me and left me.

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http://wesley.nnu.edu/sermons-essays-books/noncanonical-literature/noncanonical-literature-ot-pseudepigrapha/testament-of-job/ (You may want to add this link to Job 1:1 or the chapter heading for Job 1 in your Scripture Notes account.)

To me, this makes so much more sense than what is recorded in the Bible. Chapter 2 continues with Job (jealous for God) taking a small contingency to destroy the altar, after which Satan comes after him. I’m not sure if this story is accurate, but I love the courage Job shows while knowing it means the devil was going to come after him.

Are we this faithful? Do we seek to pull down the sanctuaries of Satan around us? They may not appear as outward altars like in ancient times, but Satanic influence has spread across the world and requires courage to speak out and warn our neighbors of these altars of worship.

Jealousy of Man

Now the other kind of jealousy which the Lord warns us about in scripture is that of coveting and envying what others have. Are we jealous of others’ property? Their spouse? Even their spiritual experiences? This is sin.

Exodus 20:17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors house, wife or servant.

Seeing that someone else has something and wanting it simply because you’re envious they have something you don’t, is a position of pride and ego. You want it simply because you are comparing yourself to them and want to feel superior. This is the attribute the Lord warns us of in D&C 67:10.

Why does the parting the veil require that we strip ourselves of jealousy?

I think it’s because as soon as we compare ourselves to others we enter a mode of pride that closes off the heavens. Wanting more than another or putting yourself in a position higher than another is the opposite of a God who wants to share all that he has with others (D&C 84:38). We know an angel in power got carried away with jealousy and transformed into a devil demanding a higher station than he was at (Moses 4:1).

How do we remove this jealousy? Can’t we be happy for others in what they have? We can know we can have our needs and wants met as well without being jealous that someone else has something we don’t have.

Covet the Good

Seeing the good in someone else, or the positive experiences they are having and desiring them for yourself can be a positive thing. God intended us to have good examples and share our “pearls” (spiritual experiences) with others so they would be inspired to receive those things into their own lives.

“I want that spiritual experience because so-and-so had it and if they can, I should be able to as well.”

We can read that sentence as if it’s spoken in pride and we arrogantly want to catch up or exceed someone else, or we can read it in the sense where someone’s spiritual experience is motivating us to reach higher and believe it’s possible to obtain for ourselves.

The scriptures were provided not for us to be jealous of others’ experiences we read about, but to seek them for ourselves knowing that God is no respecter of persons. If one person can have that experience, then everyone can if they prepare.

Paul taught it’s good to covet things of righteousness, not in trying to excel above others, but to use those gifts to bless others.

1 Cor. 12:31 Covet earnestly the best gifts.

Where our heart is, there is the motive for obtaining things. Do we want a boat simply because our neighbor has one? Or do we want it knowing the memories we will create with our family and how we might take others out on the lake to provide enjoyment?

Seeking spiritual blessings is the same. Is it pride pushing us to have spiritual experiences? Sought wrongfully, we should beware because Satan can provide those as well. Or is it to bless others’ lives and draw closer to God and his way of life?

Jealousy is just a form of pride where we compare ourselves to others and want to excel and exceed their success. We need to be grateful God is pouring out his spirit on others and giving them spiritual experiences because it gives us confidence it can happen to us, and desire to seek for them to strengthen our faith as well. Only in seeking them righteously can we receive them and part the veil. God wants us to part the veil and gain first hand experience instead of reading and relying on the experiences of others.

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About the Author

Oak Norton - Sometimes inspired, sometimes perspired.

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