2 Corinthians 11
“For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:2)
The CSB version says “For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy.” So what is a divine or godly jealousy? Jealousy in and of itself is usually not very pretty. I have seen people do some pretty crazy things because they were jealous. I have probably done some pretty crazy things because of being jealous. It is not pretty in the person who is jealous and it usually does not end well. However a godly jealousy or a divine jealousy is a different story. Paul is telling the Corinthians that he has a godly or divine jealousy for them. It is stated many times in the Bible that God is a jealous God. So what does that even mean? When you have a godly jealousy for someone else like Paul has for the Corinthians, it means you want them to have all the riches and blessings that you also experience in Christ. It means that thoughts for another persons soul is consuming you. When I think of a jealous person, that person is usually consumed with another person. Their thought life is consumed with what the other person is doing and who they may be with. Godly jealousy can work in much the same way but the consuming thought is for the person to come to know Christ. Godly jealousy has the other persons best interest in mind, whereas human jealousy, while they are thinking of the other person, they are truly only thinking of that person in relation to themself. I’m afraid that we have forgotten what it is like to have a godly jealousy for anyone. It seems the world, or at least Christians in the world have adopted a live and let live attitude. Don’t get me wrong that probably comes from the fact that we have been told not to “shove our christianity down the throat of others.” We are persecuted for being intolerant, we have allowed ourselves to be silenced in the name of appearing loving and accepting of others. Can you imagine if Paul had been silenced?
Paul spends the majority of this chapter defending his apostolic credentials AGAIN to the Corinthians. It seems to me that Paul has had to do this over and over while we have been studying 1 and 2 Corinthians. Could we not make a correlation to the Corinthians to people of today? How many people out there would like to silence us and would like to see our credentials over and over again. The Corinthians judged people by their outward appearance. They would choose the best and the brightest star simply by the way they looked. Again, Paul was apparently not considered a very handsome fellow to look at and he was apparently not necessarily an eloquent speaker either. But he knew Jesus! And he wanted others to know Jesus! While studying I ran across a little story I would like to tell you.
“A story is told about a dinner party where the guests were expected to stand after the meal and recite something for the group. A famous actor was present, and he recited the twenty-third Psalm with great dramatic flair and emotion, and sat down to great applause. Then a very simple man got up and began to recite the same Psalm. He wasn’t very eloquent, so at first people thought it was a little funny. But his presentation was straight from his heart, so when he finished the group sat in respectful silence. It was obvious that the simple man’s presentation was more powerful than the actor’s, and afterwards the actor told him: ‘I know the Psalm, but you know the Shepherd.’”
Paul may not have been the most eloquent speaker, but he knew the Shepherd. Paul defends his credentials with the Corinthians. When you read and you think of some of the things Paul went through to preach the gospel you really would think he was some sort of strong warrior type. But I guess one thing I have learned through studying 1 and 2 Corinthians is Paul was just a man. We can tend to put him on a pedestal and I guess I had not given his appearance much thought before this book. But he was a very simple looking and, even though he was highly educated in many ways, a simple man. But he was a man who kept his mission foremost in his mind.
Oh to be more like Paul and to keep the mission foremost in my mind. To be bold no matter what others may think or say about me. To have a godly jealousy burn within me for others to know my Jesus! Lord Jesus I want to be more like that.
Please pray for the small business owners and the service industry today!