When people are loyal to God, God can use their lives in a wonderful way. However, if we have not been loyal to him, God is still working in our lives. God desires to bring us back into a right relationship with himself. To do that, he may show us other people who have a stronger relationship with him. Simply to see how they love God, creates a desire in us for a similar experience of God.
That is the kind of jealous reaction that Paul describes here. His subject is the Jewish people, the people who come from the family of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. At the present time, only some of them are truly loyal to God (11:5). Many are not. However, the Jewish people are still Godís special people, because of the promises that God made to Abraham. Therefore, for God to carry out his promises to them fully, the Jewish people must turn back to God (Zechariah 12:10 to 13:1)
In the meantime, God is working in the lives of people from every nation. Through the gospel (the message about Christ), he brings them to a right relationship with himself. He wants the Jewish people to see their lives, and to desire the close relationship with God that they have.
So as Christians, we should be careful about how we live. To live like someone who does not know God, will not attract anyone to trust God. Our thoughts and attitudes, our words and our actions all matter. Our deepest desire should be to please God. That desire should show in our love both for God, and for other people (Mark 12:29-31).
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© 2017, Keith Simons.