‘Jealous Guy’ is one of my favourite pop songs from the early 70s. Written by John Lennon, it first appeared on the 1971 album ‘Imagine’. The song lyrics were influenced by the ideas of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi after the Beatles attended one of his lectures by about being a "son of the mother nature". John Lennon and Paul McCartney then wrote songs on a similar theme, one of which was ‘Jealous Guy’.
The best known of the 92 recorded versions of the song is the one which topped the singles chart in 1981 by Roxy Music. The tone of Brian Ferry’s voice vividly exemplifies the emotional pain in relationship situations which often result in jealousy.
There is general agreement that this song is about Cynthia Lennon, John's first wife. In the final years of his life he stated that he had physically abused Cynthia at points when he was angry or drunk....... "I didn't mean to hurt you. I'm sorry that I made you cry."
Jealousy figures prominently in the Bible. In the second and longest of the Bible’s Ten Commandments, I was struck, not by the idea of bowing down in worship to ‘graven images’ or statues but by the fact that God describes himself as being jealous. The Commandment reads as follows:
"You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I The Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love Me and keep My Commandments."
Jealousy is a negative attribute that we impute to humans which can often lead to sin, so why should a holy God say that he is ‘a jealous God’?
Most commentators say this commandment shows the difference between God as the creator and God’s creation (human beings). In the Old Testament, many religions of the middle east used representations of their many gods to facilitate worship. Judaism prohibited this because no aspect of the creation could adequately stand in for God. While human beings are ‘made in the image of God’ they are not clones.
Thus, the prohibition of graven images is connected to the worship of other gods.
Divine jealousy is therefore how the one true and living God responds to the human worship of these multiple gods. We are prohibited from worshipping any other gods because it provokes the jealousy of the one true God. As a born again Christian. I accept that there is only one true God who is worthy of my worship.
The Second commandment implicitly exemplifies the two way relationship between man and God. We are loved by God with a ‘steadfast love’ and He has redeemed us through the death of his son Christ Jesus. In return we are called to love the living God and follow his son Christ Jesus.
There is no jealousy when we live like this.