The word in the original language generally means “having a strong, passionate emotion.” And when used intransitively is generally translated “jealous.” So, love is not jealous, therefore, God is not jealous. But God says “I am a jealous God.” This is a little confusing.
To put this into perspective, the word for “jealous” in the statement “I am a jealous God:”
· It is only used of God.
· It is only used six times.
· It is only used in the Pentateuch.
· It is only used after Israel leave Egypt.
Israel, during a time of famine, moved to live in Egypt. And they stayed 400 years. The learning, the culture, the philosophy, and the theology of Egypt seeped into Israel. They had upwards of 80 gods. It was alright to serve one, or all of them. And Israel had (unconsciously?) absorbed this concept and attitude. And it affected their practice.
Our Father is not just one god out of many. He is the only, true Creator and Father of All. And God needed to correct this type of thinking. And he used “jealous” to bump Israel out of its lethargic, lazy thinking.
God designed people for a love relationship with him. People thrive best when they flow with their design, and embrace that relationship.
“Jealousy” is generally understood as (a) seeing that somebody has something good, (b) wanting that something for yourself. “Love” is wanting the best for someone. It is the opposite of jealousy.
If God is “jealous”, it is because he wants people to embrace a love relationship with him … for which they have been designed for, for which life is best if they accept that relationship. So God is “jealous”, because he wants our best.