Jealous, ever feel that way? We are normally told not to be jealous. If you have ever heard of controlling spouses overrun by feelings of jealousy or business partners that split because one was jealous of the other, it is not positive. What about God? How can he be jealous? Isn't it petty for him to be jealous?
We have to consider why God would be jealous. Isaiah 40 declares God's great compassion for his beloved people. Isaiah 41 compares the futility of idols because they are empty pieces of wood that can't even make themselves. Yet people devote their lives, thankfulness and worship to them. So God declares in Isaiah 42:8
I am the Lord, that is my name, and I will not give my honor to another, nor my praise to idols.
It is like the children at the dinner table saying during dinner, "Thank you mighty table for providing this food for us." Or even being proud of themselves for bringing such a delicious meal together as the ranch drips down their chins. Meanwhile the parent is sitting off to the side saying, "Wait. I worked hard at my job today to earn money to buy the groceries. I came home from work and went immediately back to work so that you could eat. I am the one who provided the snack for you because as soon as I came in the door you were clamoring, 'I'm hungry!' I am the one who set the table and provided for you. What are you doing?"
We as sinful people tend to turn our hearts to other things, people, and even our own goodness to find our fulfillment. We thank ourselves for being so good and hard working. When God is off to the side begging, "But I saved you. I died for you. I provide for you. I love you more than any created thing can." God deserves all of the praise and honor because he is the one who is eternally good to us. That is a jealous God I can live with.