Have you ever felt jealous for the person of God? Perhaps someone said a disparaging remark about Jesus; or perhaps someone made fun of God. When that happens, how do feel about it?
In 1 Kings Chapter 19, Elijah was upset about all the false worship that led the nation of Israel to spiritual ruin. He just killed 450 priests of Baal and then fled to the Mountain of God as Jezebel sought to kill him. When the Lord asks Elijah about it, Elijah said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword…” (1 Kings 19:10).
In the face of spiritual rebellion Elijah responded by standing up for the integrity of God. In chapter eighteen, Elisha challenged the false priests to a spiritual duel. The result was that God’s name was vindicated and the false priests destroyed. When he was asked about it by God, he responds by telling God he was jealous for Him.
Not too many people have the spiritual courage to stand up to the scoffers of our age. People like Elijah are few indeed. He saw the name of God being blasphemed by false prophets and priests alike, and he was enraged.
While I do not think we need to slaughter those who mock God today, we do need to be sensitive about the integrity of our great God and Savior, and be willing to defend His name against the mockers and scoffers of our age. A feeling of jealousy for God is a good thing.
The apostle Peter said “But in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15). Notice the relationship between regarding Christ as Lord in your heart and defending the integrity of His person as Savior to those who would otherwise attack Him.
Christ is the hope of the world. The reason Elijah was so upset about the false prophets was that they were not only attacking the integrity of God, but in so doing, they were also leading the people away from God into spiritual ruin.
Christ is worthy of our jealousy, and the salvation of many may very well depend upon it.
“Fight the good fight of the faith!” (1 Tim. 6:12)