Updated: Jul 6, 2021
God's Jealousy. Our tendency is to think of the sinfulness of jealousy and that is right when jealousy pertains to us and our personal desires. The reason that it is sin is that my desires, which fall short of God's glory, are the driving force behind this jealousy. I want what I want for myself. I am elevating my desire to be supreme. However, this is in opposition to God's desires, which makes my jealousy sinful. But when the Bible speaks of God being jealous, His desires are rightly supreme and must be satisfied. His jealousy is pure. The reality is that my jealous desires focus totally on me and what I believe to be good. God's desires are for His glory, for what is good, and for what is best for me.
So, in James 4, we see the link between our anger and our desires. Our anger is evidence that we are being unfaithful to God. James uses the term and description of adultery, unfaithfulness in a marriage. He describes us as spiritual adulterers. Our anger is our way of breaking off our relationship with God (not a loss of salvation, but refusing to live in dependence and trust in God).
God's response to our anger (our sin) is one of jealousy. Rather than seeking us harm or discarding us, when we sin (even repeatedly), God pursues us. He is faithful even when we are faithless (2 Timothy 2:13). He invites us to return to dependence on Him and to enjoy our relationship with Him. If we are one of His children and we refuse, God continues to pursue us so that we will return to Him. This pursuit is not to be feared but to be counted upon and to be grateful for. He does not abandon His own even when we are foolish, angry, and sinful.
Imagine that, God continually pursues us as His children!