Generally speaking, jealousy is not considered a particularly desirable trait. Jealousy suggests that you are envious of someone else’s blessings and achievements. Or that you are so possessive of your spouse that you will resort to violence if you think he or she is cheating on you.
Does it surprise you to hear God call himself a jealous God? He chose that word deliberately, for his passion burns hot for the people he created and redeemed and with whom he has a relationship through faith. A personal relationship with each and every man, woman, and child on earth is the entire reason for which he made the universe in the first place, and he is intensely interested in how people treat that relationship.
The Israelite believers in Old Testament times often severely tested God’s commitment to them. He poured out his passion for them through prophets like Hosea: “I have been the Lord your God ever since you came out of Egypt. You shall acknowledge no God but me, no Savior except me” (Hosea 13:4). God today is just as insistent on an exclusive relationship. He will not share worship with any other gods, calling them worthless idols. He jealously claims first place in our love, trust, and obedience. His Word narrates all of the spectacular things he has done for us, and he will accept nothing less in response than exclusive worship from us.
Do you believe that?