Prayer For Godly Jealousy For The Things Of God

A Prayer for God’s Help in Times of Trouble

Prayer For Godly Jealousy For The Things Of God

“May your God, who you serve continually, rescue you!” – Daniel 6:16

The Story of Daniel: The Power of Prayer and Faith in Times of Great Trouble

If anyone needed help in time of trouble, it was Daniel. This verse finds him sentenced to a pit of lions for praying to and worshiping God (Daniel 6:13-18).

The administrators set to serve under the current reign of King Darius were bent on removing Daniel from his seat.

Daniel had found favor with King Nebuchadnezzar and King Belshazzar prior to King Darius’ reign through his interpretation of dreams and godly wisdom.

So, they convinced the king to “issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any god or man during the next thrifty days, except to you, O king, shall be thrown into the lions den” (Daniel 6:7). The king, not realizing that the “royal administrators, prefects, satraps, advisers and governors have all agreed …”(6:7) did not include Daniel, agreed.

The rest is history. We read in Daniel 6 the infamous story of Daniel’s bravery in the face of his choice to worship the Lord over the law (6: 10).

The king, distraught over the decree he was tricked into issuing (Daniel 6:14), nevertheless sealed Daniel into the lion’s den (v. 17). Unable to eat or sleep (v. 18), the king rushed to the den at dawn.

“Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?” (vv. 19-20)

“My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions,” came Daniel’s reply from the den.

The decree was reversed, requiring all in the land to worship God, and those who had conspired against Daniel were themselves tossed into the lion’s den.

What Daniel’s Story Teaches Us about the Power of Prayer and Faith

When we are pressed up against troubling times, let us look to Daniel’s example of how to gather strength in times of distress. Turning to God for justice and answers was not new territory for Daniel. It was habit. He prayed habitually. He looked to the Lord routinely.

If we establish a daily habit of turning to God in our lives, it’s more ly to be our immediate reaction in times of trouble.

There is no way around spending time with God: we must have a relationship with Him in order to experience His peace. We must spend time in the Word. We must spend time in prayer.

Pausing to look at our current situation in the light of His perspective is the essential path to taking hold of His peace.

Christ died to give us full access to our great God. We can look to His Word, look up to Him in prayer, and embrace the power of the Holy Spirit at work within us.

The societal misconception is that we possess the strength to pull ourselves trouble. But if we rely on our own strength, we’ll surely fail. It’s His strength that makes our salvation possible.

Walking with Christ isn’t about striving for perfection, but straining towards submission.

A Prayer You Can Pray for God’s Help in Times of Trouble:


We praise You for Daniel’s life and legacy, that we are able to read and study his life here today. Thank you for the glimpse you give us of his powerfully prophetic life. Thank you for this book of Scripture and how we can see Christ in it.

Daniel, we know Jesus faithfully endured the punishment for obedience to you. But un Daniel, you did not spare him from the “mouth of the lions.

” You let Your Son die a brutal death on the Cross, paying the penalty for our sins, and through his resurrection You’ve given us eternal life and access to Your glory. Oh Lord – thank You!

In every situation in our lives, may we remember that You are sovereign over all. Justice rightfully sits in Your hands, not ours. You are bigger. You are in control. You are omnipotent – all-present in times of trouble. Just Daniel, we can trust You with our lives. It’s Your purpose that puts our feet on earth.

May every trial we go through in this life bring us closer to You. Our prayer today is for our enemies, our conspirators, and our foes. We are all imperfect, and You love us all equally. Help us to leave justice at Your feet, seeking peace and the Spirit’s sensitivity before lifting the gate on our emotions.

Protect our hearts from bitterness and suspicions, comparison and insecurity. Teach us to be confident in You, alone. Right our hearts to place You at the helm. Bless our minds to run to You for solutions to problems that put our backs up against walls. Help us to resist gossip and slander, blame and unnecessary attacks on the character of others.

May the story of Your angel, who shut the mouths of the lions, help us to remember Your power and promise. When we are in trouble, help us to remember the cross. In the direst situation of all, Christ conquered death.

In a quickly crumbling world, let us be shards of light. May we be peacekeepers, and extensions of Your love. We’re not promised this world will be easy or fair, but You guarantee Your presence and Your love. Grant us courage to stick to Your standards. You are good, all the time.

In Jesus’ Name,


This article is part of our larger Prayers resource meant to inspire and encourage your prayer life when you face uncertain times. Visit our most popular prayers if you are wondering how to pray or what to pray. Remember, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us and God knows your heart even if you can't find the words to pray.

A Daily Morning Prayer
A Prayer for a Broken Heart
A Prayer for Worry
A Prayer for First Thing in the Morning

A Prayer for When You Don't Know What to Do

Meg Bucher (Megs) encourages others to seek Him first through her life as a stay-at-home mom, career as a freelance writer, teaching Emoti-moms Weekly Bible Study, and leading the kids worship teams at her local church. She resides in a small, Northern lake town with her husband of ten years, two daughters, and their Golden-doodle. Meg writes about everyday life within the love of Christ on her blog, //

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Prayer For Godly Jealousy For The Things Of God

After the Hebrews crossed the Red Sea, God set before them the high calling He had in view for His people. “Ye shall be holy, for I am holy… ” (Leviticus 11:44). In a world that was given over to the ungodly living that often characterized pagan nations, a holy God called upon His people to set new standards of righteousness — holiness as He is holy!

Should it be any surprise to us that the same language is used in reference to His church in the new covenant! God is unchanging and He asks the church, His people today, to partake of His nature (2 Peter 1:4), to follow His teachings on holiness. “But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation: because it is written, be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:15-16).


One's daily life demands that he seek some standard for righteousness, but what is that standard? Men often use the wrong standard for righteousness.

It would have been so easy for the nation of Israel to have sought to be the nations about them. However, the Lord reminded them that they had been called Egypt (Lev. 11:45), and that they were not to determine righteousness simply by being those nations.

“After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do, and after the doings of the land of Canaan whither I bring you shall ye not do, neither shall ye walk in their ordinances” (Lev. 18:3).

As the history of man has been a history of men not abiding by God's teachings, it is folly to think that righteous standards are to be found in following what others are doing.

God's instructions, “Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil” (Exodus 23:2), should remind us that the standard of righteousness is not to be set by doing what most people are doing. Jesus himself shows that most people will not live by God's teachings (Matthew 7:13-14).

Some set as a standard of righteousness the standard taught them by their parents. If parents were sinless then they could serve as the standard, but this simply is not the case (Romans 3:23). Jesus envisioned that following him would sometimes mean turning from parents (Matt. 10:37). Parental teaching, as important as it is, cannot be the standard.

Some have thought that learned men should be the standard. However, Paul states the impossibility of men knowing the things of God apart from God. “What man knoweth the things of a man save the spirit of man which is in him, even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:12). No man knows the things of God! Man cannot determine righteousness!


There is only one standard and that is God! God created man in His image (Genesis 1: 27) and when man fell, God brought about Christianity and designed it so that we would be conformed to His image. As we behold the glory of the Lord we”… are changed into the same image (2 Cor. 3:18). God wants us to be Him! We are to partake of His nature! He is the standard of holiness!


Galatians 5:19-21 lists many of the ungodly practices that have destroyed men of long ago and are yet prevalent in our day. To show how serious these practices are, the list ends with these words, “They which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:21).

Christ's church must abhor these, for to be found guilty of them will bar the doors of heaven. These are the words of a holy God telling us exactly what He wants us to avoid.

There are sexual sins listed — adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness. Adultery is unlawful sex between two people, with at least one of these being married. Fornication is immorality of every sort. It is the Bible word to describe any sort of sexual sin.

Uncleanness literally means impurity and refers to those thoughts and actions that lead to immorality. Lasciviousness means absence of restraint, indecency, and includes unchaste behavior of dress, speech and action.

How unfortunate that men have left God's wonderful design of sex and have perverted it and set up their own standards in this area.

There are the sins of idolatry and witchcraft.

Idolatry can be either the outward worship and service of an image made with hands (see Psalm 115:3-7 for discussion of the folly of such worship) or the covetous service of any material thing (Colossians 3:5).

Witchcraft refers to sorcery, superstition, the occult and horoscopes. To follow such is to deny that God controls this world, that He determines what happens in our lives (Daniel 4:17).

There are sins of attitudes – hatred, variance, emulations, wrath. Hatred is the opposite of love and refers to bitterness of spirit and hostility toward others. Variance is the strife that results from hate. Emulations means jealousy and the uncontrolled desire to have what others have. Wrath is violent anger. Jealousy smolders in the heart, wrath is the same attitude outwardly shown.

There are sins of false teaching and division – strife, seditions, heresies. Strife often brings about factions, and taking of sides and divisions into parties. Seditions literally means “standing apart” and refers to the divisions into selfish groups. Heresy is the teaching of one's opinions that give rise to division.

There are the sins of drunkenness and revellings. Drunkenness is the indulgence in strong drink to which so many are addicted. Revellings are the wild drinking parties that are found in every society.

There are other lists in the Bible (Rom. 1:26-32; Col. 3:5-10), but this list should help us to see that God expects His people to be holy, to have as their standard of righteousness His holy nature.


In the same section of Galatians the Holy Spirit has another list that shows us much of what is involved in holiness. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance” (Gal. 5:21-22). These are attributes of our God that He expects us to have.

Take each of these words, read the Old Testament and you'll find they describe our God. Take each of these words, read the New Testament and see each of them displayed in the life of Jesus. God's standard for holiness has been lived on this earth, we can see it without fault in our Savior.

As he was tempted in every way we are (Hebrews 4:15), it makes no difference when we live or where we live – we have the example of holiness we need! Peter describes this perfect life in these words, “… Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example that ye should follow his steps; who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth; who when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered he threatened not… ” (1 Peter 2:21-23). Christ our example – this is God's visible standard of holiness! We are to be him!


Many today have lost sight of God's holiness and the result is a world of sin. Some who claim to be religious may condone sin but the true church cannot be of this nature. She serves the Lord, she seeks his way and lives by his teachings of morality.

When she ceases to do this he rejects her (Revelation 2:5) and she is as worthless salt, useless in his hands (Mat. 5:13). In an age when society is seeking new lifestyles, when it is seeking a new morality, the church of Christ upholds His standard of holy living.


To what two groups has God said, “Be ye holy, for I am holy?”

What are some wrong standards of holiness? Why are they wrong?

What is the one standard of holiness?

Discuss sexual impurity and examples in our own society.

Give illustrations of idolatry in our own day. Of witchcraft.

Define some sins of attitudes.

What is the fruit of the Spirit? Give examples from the life of Jesus.

What happens when a church ceases to live and teach God's standard of holiness?

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What to Do When Jealousy Strikes

Prayer For Godly Jealousy For The Things Of God

Jealous. That was the only word that could describe the feeling I had when I heard a friend had gotten her book published. I was full of jealousy. 

Writing a book (and getting it published) has been a dream of mine since I was a teenager. Yet now at age 53, it still has not happened. Not for lack of trying, mind you. But it just has not happened! So, when I found out it had happened for a friend, that proverbial “green-eyed monster” consumed me.

And here’s the saddest thing of all: my friend’s book was about her journey with her young son’s cancer. It was about how God had seen, supported, and strengthened her, her son, and her family through the darkest hours of their lives.

It was a book written with such gut-wrenching honesty and humility. And, it was meant to be an encouragement and blessing to other families dealing with childhood cancer. 

How could I be jealous ofthat? But I was—to my shame!  

What Jealousy Is 

Jealousy is that sneaky sinthat comes upon us unexpectedly, unannounced, and most certainlyuninvited.  

Jealousy can take the form of eagerness to obtain something that you don’t have, and this form of it is associated with covetousness and idolatry (see Colossians 3:5).

Covetousness is the worship of something (a house, a car, a job, a ministry) or someone (a husband, a child, a friend) that another has. Covetousness is so egregious to God, that he included it in the Ten Commandments. 

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.” (Exodus 20:17) 

AndGod knows that when we idolize what another has, eventually jealous feelingswill follow. What are we to do with jealousy, then? 

Be Repentant 

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality… idolatry… jealousy… and things these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness… (Galatians 5:19-22)

For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? (1 Corinthians 3:3) 

Jealousy is sin. It is the flesh’sresponse to covetousness, and it needs to be confessed andrepented. Repenting jealousy is to agree with God that this feeling iswrong. It is not holy, healthy, or productive. 

Jealousy can be so destructive—both spiritually, emotionally, and relationally. In fact, it can literally lead one to murder, the apostle James says in 4:2: “You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel.”

Themoment jealousy rears its nasty head, confess it. Don’t let it steep in yourmind and embitter your heart. Confess, and find immediate and unfailingforgiveness and cleansing (1 John 1:9). 

Be Counteractive 

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)

There is a reason why Paul contrasts the flesh and the Spirit in Galatians chapter 5. The two are constantly at war with one another. But that war was won when Jesus died and rose again, and we can also be victors through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.

We can, through His help, conquer and counteract the sinful flesh with spiritual fruit. 

Love for another and forthe goodness God has shown them (whatever that may be), having patience withourselves and God’s timing, and exercising self-control of our emotions allcounteract jealousy. 

Be Content 

A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot. (Proverbs 14:30) 

Jealousy is not only covetousness but discontentment. Jealousy says, in effect, “God, I’m not happy or satisfied with who I am or what you’ve given me. I want to be more. I want more. I want what so-and-so is and has!”

I have had to come to the realization that God has not allowed me to publish, for whatever reason. I have had to accept that and find contentment in the writing opportunities he has given me.  

I have to work at it, though. It does not come easily. I can relate to Paul’s comment in Philippians 4:11-13, that I, too, am “learning” to be content. It is an on-going process as I wait upon God and “learn” to be satisfied, content, with what he has given me already.  

Jealousy is, in a way, saying that Jesus—who he is as ourSavior and Lord, and what he graciously did for us on the cross—is not enough.None of us would say that outright. But jealousy is the feeling that expressesit, and it is an affront to him. May it not be so! 

Be Joyful 

Rejoice with those who are rejoicing. (Romans 12:15) 

Another counteractive “cure” for jealousy, as I found with my friend’s publishing success, is to rejoice with that person.

Rejoicing with another person takes the focus off of ourselves and puts it on God: what he has done for that person, how he has blessed them, the gifts he’s given them, the opportunities he’s provided for them. 

Rejoicing with another is also borne love and kindness. Another manifestation of living out the fruits of the Spirit rather than the flesh.

Rejoicing in another’s good and godly fortune also maintains unity and harmony within the body of Christ. For where there is jealousy, there is strife, quarreling, disunity (1 Corinthians 3:3). 

So, make the choice torejoice. 

Be Jealous…for others andfor God! 

I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. (2 Cor. 11:2, NIV) 

If ever there is good jealousy, the Apostle Paul says it is jealousy for other believers and for God. 

This “godly jealousy”is outward and upward focused, rather than self-focused. It is an eagerness for thegood of others, especially spiritual welfare (i.e. theirsalvation and sanctification). 

It is an eagerness for God to be glorified in this darkened world. That his name and power would be seen and manifested in miraculous ways. That sinful mankind would repent and turn to him, accepting the free gift of grace he offers through Jesus Christ. That they would find forgiveness and a relationship with God, their Heavenly, Holy Father (Ephesians 2:8-9).  

Expressing holy, godly jealousy for his saving work on our behalf, and on the behalf of others, is acceptable and perfect. That jealousy does not offend him. 

May it be that this outward, upward jealousy is the only type of jealousy we manifest in our lives. 

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Bible Verses About Jealousy: 20 Important Quotes

Prayer For Godly Jealousy For The Things Of God

The battle that rages inside all of us is that even when our intentions are good, we still have a sin nature and often yield to sin.  One of those sins is jealousy, which is closely related to one of the “seven deadly sins” called envy or covetous.

  There are a number of verses that deal with this topic because when we fall into jealousy or envy, we will often spiral down very quickly in our spiritual life.  It is easy to fall into jealousy in our materialistic society.  The mantra of culture seems to be to keep up with the Jones’.  Grab all that you can.

  Put yourself first in all things.  Consider what Scripture says about jealousy and envy…

Bible Verses Where Jealousy is Contrasted with Good Characteristics

Song of Solomon 8:6 Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the LORD.

1Corinthians 13:4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it his not arrogant

Philippians 2:3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

James 3:14-15 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth.  This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.

James 3:16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.

Scriptures Where Jealousy Leads to Destruction

Genesis 4:8  Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him.

Psalm 37:1-3 Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers!  For they will soon fade the grass and wither the green herb. Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.

Proverbs 6:34 For jealousy makes a man furious, and he will not spare when he takes revenge.

James 3:16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.

James 4:1-2  What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask.

Proverbs 14:30  A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.

Bible Quotes that Show That God is a Jealous God

Exodus 20:5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me

Exodus 34:14 (for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God)

Deuteronomy 4:24 For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.

Psalm 79:5  How long, O LORD? Will you be angry forever? Will your jealousy burn fire?

Verses About Jealousy and Sin

Exodus 20:17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.”

Proverbs 27:4   Wrath is cruel, anger is overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?

Acts 7:9 “And the patriarchs, jealous of Joseph, sold him into Egypt; but God was with him

1Corinthians 3:3-5 for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? 4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it his not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful

Ephesians 5:3 But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.

4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.

5 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Romans 13:13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy.

There are many more examples that I could point to in Scripture.  If we are honest with ourselves, we all get envious or jealous at times.  Sometimes it may be subtle in our own minds as we wish things were different.  Maybe we question God about some of the circumstances in our life.

  God can handle any question that we may have but we need to ask if we are honestly seeking an answer to a struggle in our life or questioning the ways and will of God.  That is a fine line.  Thankfully, we serve and love a great God.  He is the God of the Old Testament and the New Testament.

  He is the same yesterday, today and forever.  He loves us so much in spite of our sins.  My prayer today is that we all would evaluate our own life and if convicted by the Holy Spirit about the sin of jealousy, that we would ask forgiveness and repent of our sin.

  God wants to give us freedom over our sin that comes through the shed blood of Jesus.  Praise Him!

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Jealous God? What Does That Mean?

Prayer For Godly Jealousy For The Things Of God

From our own experiences, we all know what human jealousy is. Jealousy is commonly understood as resentment against a person for having or enjoying what we think should be our own. As novelist, poet and essayist Erica Jong put it, “Jealousy is all the fun you think they had.”

But is this the only type of jealousy discussed in the Bible? What is godly jealousy?

One man who tells us he had the kind of jealousy that God has is the apostle Paul.

Paul’s “godly jealousy”

Would you have thought of the great apostle Paul as someone who harbored jealousy? But he said he did. Let’s consider the context of his statement.

On his second evangelistic tour, he stopped in the bustling city of Corinth. While living there, Paul learned firsthand about the difficulties the Christians living in Corinth faced.

Corinth was a wealthy, multiethnic port city. The business of the docks brought exposure to languages, ethics, cultures and religions from all over the known world; and it was a center for pagan worship.

Cults for the gods of Egypt, Rome and Greece were all found there.

The famous temple of Venus (also known as Aphrodite, the goddess of love) was said to have 1,000 “priestesses” or temple prostitutes.

The city’s reputation for rampant sexual immorality was known everywhere and inspired the phrase to Corinthianize, meaning “to live the Corinthians; hence, to lead a life of licentiousness and debauchery” (William Dwight Whitney, The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia: Dictionary, 1906).

It’s no wonder Paul had a soft spot in his heart for those striving to maintain their Christianity in spite of daily difficulties in Corinth. Even after he left Corinth to continue his journeys, the members there were often in his thoughts.

Two letters he wrote to the Corinthians show the deep love and concern he felt for them—even to the point of correcting them and trying to protect them.

Dangers from sin and false teachers

In his second epistle to the church at Corinth, Paul reminded them to beware of false prophets and not give their words any credence.

Then he wrote, “Oh, that you would bear with me in a little folly—and indeed you do bear with me. For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy.

For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:1-2, emphasis added throughout).

“Jealousy” here is from the Greek word zelos and can be either an “intense positive interest in something—zeal—ardor, marked by a sense of dedication” as in 2 Corinthians 11:2, or the word can refer to “intense negative feelings over another’s achievements or success, jealousy, envy” as in 1 Corinthians 3:3 (Frederick William Danker, The Concise Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament).

Paul knew that the Corinthians’ faithfulness to the one true God was threatened by the prevalence of sin in their society and by the influence of false teachers.

He spoke to the Corinthian members as a father would to a daughter he loved and wanted to protect, because he loved them in that same way. He was on guard for them. Dictionary.

com defines jealousy as “vigilance in maintaining or guarding something.”

We all have the desire to guard and protect something or someone we care for, with every available means—to be jealous for them (not of them). This is the sense in which Paul was jealous for the Corinthians, and it is the type of jealousy God feels for His own children as well.

“Jealous God” misunderstood

Godly jealousy can be easily misunderstood when considering a scripture such as Exodus 20:5, which says in the context of the Second Commandment, “For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations.”

This can sound as though God punishes innocent people! But is that what this is really saying? This would instill terror instead of love into our understanding of who and what God is.

This interpretation is contradicted directly in Ezekiel 18, which states plainly that the father who sins will be accountable for himself only, and his child will not bear the spiritual consequence of his father’s sin.

But even the sinner, if he repents and “turns from all his sins … and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die.

None of the transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him” (Ezekiel 18:21-22).

A caring father corrects his child when he does wrong or persists in an activity that is dangerous, because parents want the best for their children. So does God.

The context of Exodus 20 shows that God was concerned that His people would worship idols and false gods, taking them away from the knowledge of the one true God and into sin.

The passage in Exodus 20 states that God would visit “the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me [continue in sin], but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments” (verses 5-6).

Although God does not punish later generations for the sins of their predecessors, there is a tendency for sin in one generation to carry forward, often down to the third or fourth generation following.

Note, for example, Leviticus 26:39, in this connection: “And those of you who are left shall waste away in their iniquity in your enemies’ lands; also in their fathers’ iniquities, which are with them, they shall waste away.” Too often, children follow the poor examples of their parents; that is the meaning of this statement.

The loving God of the Old Testament

People often think of “the God of the Old Testament” as an unfair, tyrannical judge—perhaps as a God showing the human form of jealousy. But a glance at just a few scriptures counters that assessment.

  • “The LORD your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17).
  • “But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth” (Psalm 86:15).
  • “Thus says the LORD: ‘Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might, nor let the rich man glory in his riches; but let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,’ says the LORD” (Jeremiah 9:23-24).

The beautiful word lovingkindness implies mercy, kindness, favor, graciousness and forgiveness. Does that sound a harsh and angry God who doesn’t love you? He is not a God who is jealous with the selfish, human type of jealousy.

And of the New Testament

God’s goodness and love are exemplified throughout the New Testament. Jesus Christ tells us, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

The apostle Paul also wrote a lot about God’s love.

What kept Paul going in spite of everything others did to him? He had come to know the love, mercy and faithfulness of God, and he trusted Him. Paul sums it up in his letter to the Christians living in Rome:

“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:37-39).

Growing to understand God’s love

As disciples of Jesus Christ, James and John were jealous and zealous for God. Christ even called them the “Sons of Thunder” (Mark 3:17). But Jesus showed that their hotheaded jealousy was misguided. When a village in Samaria refused to receive Christ, James and John angrily wanted to call down fire from heaven and destroy the whole town.

Jesus sharply corrected them for their impetuous, angry attitude: “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of,” Jesus told them. “For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them” (Luke 9:55-56).

This rebuke must have left a deep impression on John. The disciple known as a “Son of Thunder” later became known as the apostle of love. In the Gospel and epistles that bear his name, we gain much insight into the nature of God’s love.

As we come to know God more deeply, understanding His love, our natural response should be to love Him in return and to learn to always put Him first. We love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).

Even while we were sinners, God sent His Son to die for us so that we might live. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Obviously, God does not want us to turn our backs on His love or to trample the sacrifice of “the Son of God underfoot” (Hebrews 10:29). He is jealous for us for our own good—because He loves us.

John, the apostle of love, shows how God’s love begins to work in us, writing in his first epistle, “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:2-3).

This brings us back to what we are told in the Second Commandment, that God is a “jealous God” who shows “mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” God knows that keeping His commandments will bring us blessings and that breaking them will hurt us, so godly jealousy— love—He greatly desires for us to obey.

For more about God’s love and how He wants us to respond, see the following articles:

  • God Is Love.
  • Love of God.
  • The 10 Commandments for Today.

Another resource that can be helpful is “Knowing God,” our free seven-day Journey. Let us be your guide as you spend a week discovering who God is and what He has in store for you—in this life and the next.

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Dealing With Jealousy {Growing in Godliness Series for Kids}

Prayer For Godly Jealousy For The Things Of God

It begins with a seed of discontent. A thought of insecurity. Jealousy is a green monster that must be slain. Helping our children understand why jealousy is harmful is a step in the right direction on the narrow path of godliness. {Deuteronomy 5:32}

Scripture Focus:1 Samuel 18:6-16; 1 Corinthians 13:4

Materials: a sheet of green paper

Free Poster:  Click on the image below and print.

Background: David killed Goliath. It was quite the event and Saul added David to his court. Saul’s son Jonathan became David’s best friend. David served Saul well and was given many leadership opportunities.

Object Lesson on Jealousy:

{Hold up the green paper.}

What color is this? [Green] What emotion do you feel when you see this color? [Allow for answers.] Have you ever heard the saying, “green with envy”? What does it mean? [Allow for answers.]

People who know a lot of about words and where they come from think that the term “green with envy” began with the Greeks. The Greeks believed that emotions came from the organs in your body.

The liver produces bile, which is a yellow-green color.

So when people became jealous, they thought it was because the liver was producing too much bile and it caused their faces to turn slightly green.

An author, name Shakespeare, used the phrase “green-eyed monster” to personify jealousy.

Act 3 of Othello:
O! beware my lord, of Jealousy;
It is the green-ey’d monster which doth mock
The meat it feeds on.

Jealousy and envy are similar, but not the same thing. What does it mean for a person to be jealous? [Allow answers. Lead them to a definition similar to “the fear and anger of losing something of value, especially a relationship”.] What does it mean to be envious? [Wanting or wishing for something that belongs to someone else, such as a better job or a possession.] Jealousy is “I don’t want to lose this,” where as being envious is “I want what he has.”

Neither of these attitudes are glorifying to God. And being a jealous person, or being an envious person, can cause health issues if you don’t take care of the sin issue causing these emotions.

Bible Lesson on Jealousy:

David was a great servant of King Saul’s. King Saul’s son, Jonathan, loved David a brother. Jonathan gave David his own cloak and his armor, sword, and bow. And the scripture says that David behaved wisely wherever he went and that he was accepted by all the people.

After Saul sent David to fight the Philistines, David was coming home. The people came out onto the streets and the women sang and danced saying, “Saul has killed thousands, but David, ten thousands.” King Saul heard this and jealousy and envy filled his heart.

What was he afraid to lose? His kingdom. Why was he envious of David? Because the people d David better than they did King Saul. From that day forward Saul was angry and suspicious of David.

But wherever David went, he behaved in a wise manor. Saul watched this and was afraid of David because he knew the Lord as with David and not with him.

One day when David was playing the harp for Saul, the king grabbed a spear and threw it at David. David escaped, twice, from Saul.

All of the people loved David. The jealous and envy of King Saul would cause David to eventually run for his life and spend years in the wilderness running from a King who was “green with envy” and had no heart for God.

Life Application for Jealousy:

Is jealousy a bad thing? [Kids will say Yes.] But the Bible says that God is a jealous God. (Exodus 34:14) Scripture plainly tell us that God is good and perfect. So jealousy must not always be a bad thing.

Most of the time in the Bible we hear of God being jealous when he is telling the people to stop worshiping false idols.

Do you remember what the definition of jealousy is? [“the fear and anger of losing something of value, especially a relationship”] What relationship does God NOT want to lose? [his relationship with people] If God sees that there is something taking you away from his presence, then he is jealous for you. He wants to bless you. He wants to spend time with you. He wants to use you. But if we are distracted by other things and not listening to God, or spending time with him, then our relationship with God becomes damaged. God doesn’t want that.

{Hold up the poster. Read it aloud.}

1 Corinthians 13 is filled with definitions of love. Here we read that love is not jealous. Is this the good form or bad form of jealousy? [In this verse, it is the bad form of jealousy.

] In 2 Corinthians 11:2, Paul says that he is “jealous for [for the people] with a godly jealousy.

” This means he saw the people behaving in ways that did not honor God and he was jealous for them to have a right relationship with Jesus.

We are not to be jealous and envious of other people in such a way that we brake relationships with others. Nor are we to be mean and angry and act King Saul. We are to be jealous with a godly jealousy desiring all people to know Jesus and walk with him. We are not to be jealous OF people, but we are not be jealous FOR people.

What can we learn from King Saul? If we want to be godly, then we must choose to not be jealous because of selfish reasons, but because we want people to know Christ.

{Display the poster in the room throughout this series and read it each week.}

Follow Up Activities:

King Saul Persecutes David

Saul is Jealous of David

King Saul Becomes Jealous of David

For more ideas, lessons, coloring pages, games, etc, click to my Old Testament Pinterest board! I’ve found all kinds of fun stuff for you! Follow Future.Flying.Saucers.’s board OT Bible Lessons & Activities for Kids on Pinterest.

**Make sure you SUBSCRIBE to FutureFlyingSaucers so you don’t miss the next lesson. And be sure to share this lesson with your friends. It’s your sharing that helps us spread the gospel around the world!


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