Jealousy is not a good word in most cases today. Why would God want to make anyone jealous?
Jealousy means I want something someone else has. It may be a boat, a house or someone else’s wife. Jealousy is listed with the works of the flesh in Galatians 5:20. Jealousy is recorded in the Bible as driving men to do terrible things.
I have witnessed childhood jealousy: If you have one, I want it, too. I have witnessed adults whose petty jealousies look silly to the observer. I have seen people driven by jealousy to hurt someone.
You may have heard that you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink. Someone said, “Yes, you can, if you put salt in his oats.” The kind of jealousy God wanted for the Jewish people was like that. He wanted them to be thirsty for God.
The salt in the oats was the godly and powerful life of those who followed Jesus. Jesus told His followers, “You are the salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13).
In Romans 10, the apostle Paul is talking about the Israelites, who mostly rejected Jesus as the Messiah. Paul said God wanted these chosen, special people to come back to saving faith in Him. Paul, too, had a strong desire to see the Jewish people come to know Christ.
Paul was Jewish, but he was sent by God’s revelation to reach non-Jewish people with the good news of God’s grace and forgiveness. It seems that it was God’s strategy for the non-Jewish Christians to show the Jewish people what they were missing by rejecting Jesus.
“Moses says, ‘I will make you jealous by that which is not a nation; by a nation without understanding will I anger you’” (Romans 10:19).
Through Paul, God is saying that those non-Jews who have come to know Christ are to make the Jewish people jealous. We who are not a nation – who come from all nations – are to live out our faith in Christ so that not only the Jewish people but others who want to know God are jealous as well.
Does your faith relationship with Jesus make anyone jealous of what you have? Do you have joy, peace, hope, moral purity or love that others wish they had? If you have Christ, you have these things and much more.
Does the blessing of knowing Christ show outwardly in your life? Have you spent time with God, so He can produce the fruit of the Spirit in your life? Do you take the truth of God’s word seriously and learn what He wants for you? You can be someone who causes others to want Christ.
Rev. Paul McKibben is pastor of Grace Community Church in Osage.