“For you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” – Exodus 34:14, ESV
It is always powerful to learn about God’s names and how they apply to our circumstances and our walk with God. Many of the names bring us comfort because they speak of ways in which God provides for us or takes care of us. One name, though, speaks to us about our relationship with God from a different view.
God Himself tells us in Exodus 34:14 His name is Qanna, which means Jealous. God is making a covenant with His people, and He is telling them to tear down the altars of foreign gods. In verse 14, God is reminding them of His commandment to worship no other gods, “for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.”
We read the word “jealous,” and we think of the negative connotation it has in our society. Jealousy, on our part, is a negative thing; a thing which the Bible teaches against. But, when used in reference to God, it takes on a whole new meaning.
In Exodus, God proclaims He is a jealous God as He warns His people against worshiping other gods. He alone is God, and our worship should be given to no one else. We can read through the entire Old Testament and see the consequences the Israelites faced because they did not honor God as the only God. They were enticed by foreign gods and gave their worship to them instead of to God alone.
God’s name of Qanna has not been changed. His name is still Jealous; He is still a jealous God. He still commands us to worship Him only and to not have any idols before Him. God is jealous for our allegiance and our worship; He is jealous for our time and devotion.
We worship other gods, and we have idols, when we have things in our lives that are more important than God. Our idols are the things that we devote our time and attention to instead of to God. We place God on the back burner so that we can pursue our idols. We may think that we don’t have any idols, but a close look at our calendar and our bank accounts may tell a different story.
Colossians 1:18 teaches us that Jesus is to be preeminent in everything. We don’t just place Him as our first priority, but as preeminent. If we simply place Him as a priority, our focus then is on ourselves and what is of utmost importance to us at the moment. Our priorities can change on a whim because they are based on the value we give them. We place Jesus as preeminent in our lives by placing Him first because of who He is. He is God and, therefore, worthy of that placement. When we place Jesus as preeminent, then we are turning away from any idols.
We must guard against worshiping other gods and placing idols before God. We must take God’s name, Qanna, seriously, giving Him the preeminence that He is worthy of.