El Qanna

There is a reason God revealed His name as Jealous in Exodus 34:14. The Hebrew word used here is Qanna which may mean “warmth” or “heat” (Forrester, 1996). "The Hebrew word for jealousy carries with it the idea of 'redness of the face that accompanies strong emotion' (Feinberg, 1942, p. 429)—whether right or wrong."

At first glance, there appears to be a contradiction. How can God be Jealous? Is not jealousy a bad thing?

Jealousy, when viewed through the modern eye is negative. But when God said He is Jealous, one must understand the context where He said such.

Jealousy here has something to do with God's wrath with sin. When the covenant relationship between God and the Israelites is threatened by sin, God arises and acts decisively. This is the kind of jealousy referred to in the verse.

God is jealous for His people. He will not let sin ensnare them, entangle them. And when sin drowns them, He will show His mercy and save His people from the pit.

He is the living God and He will not let sin turn His people's gaze from the throne of Glory to darkness. He alone deserves His people's praises, and He has every right to claim these exclusively for Himself. He who created all things is above everything.

May we also learn to be jealous for our brothers and sisters in the faith. May we not stand idle when sin devours them or when they entertain sin. We must act. We must move. Our actions must be decisive.

Let us not stand idle, watching our brothers and sisters fall to sin. Let us confront; let us rebuke. But ultimately, let us restore by the power and grace of God.


Oh, Lord my strength comes only from you. I fear not because I know You are with me. Though a multitude surrounds me and sin whispers its lies, I will be steadfast in You alone.

I will not stand idle, oh God. Your conviction is very clear. I will obey; I will act. I will allow you to use me to bring glory to Your name. Amen.
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