I have known many people who became Christians in a truly extraordinary manner. Before they became Christians, they may have lived in an evil and wicked manner. They knew very little about God then; perhaps they even hated him.
Now they love God much (Luke 7:47); they are very grateful to him. They are sure that they did nothing to deserve Godís kindness to them. They insist that Godís goodness is the only explanation of the wonderful change in their lives.
Other people may find it difficult to accept what God has done for those people (compare Luke 15:21-30). In their opinion, God should only work in the lives of the best people. They cannot see why God would help an evil person (Mark 2:15-17).
So their reaction, as Moses says in Deuteronomy 32:21, is to be jealous and angry. In that passage, God tells Israelís people that he will work in the lives of people from other nations. Many of Israelís people did not expect that, because God has a special relationship with their nation. However, when they were not obeying God, God chose to make them jealous by his kindness to people from other nations.
Usually, it is wrong to have jealous attitudes (Deuteronomy 5:21). However, it is right and good to desire Godís kindness in our lives. Cainís jealous attitudes caused him to be proud and angry (Genesis 4:1-9); but Jacobís jealous attitudes caused him humbly to desire Godís help and kindness (Genesis 25:24-34 and 28:10-22). So God makes Israelís people jealous of his work among the other nations. In other words, they will want him to show them the same kindness that he has shown to those other people. Then they will humbly ask him to help them, and they will invite him into their lives (11:11-16; 11:25-27).
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© 2017, Keith Simons.