Jealous for His Glory (Numbers 25:10–11) - Radical

Jealous for His Glory (Numbers 25:10–11)

“And the Lord said to Moses, “Phinehas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest has turned back my wrath from the people of Israel, in that he was jealous with my jealousy among them, so that I did not consume the people of Israel in my jealousy.”
– Numbers 25:10–11

Oh, this is an awesome description of Phinehas’ life. Now let’s step back for a second. The word jealous here is obviously most often a negative thing. When we think of jealousy, it is a sinful evil thing, but there is also a sense in which it is good, when you are jealous for something that is right, when you are jealous for justice, when you are jealous for righteousness, like you want it. You are zealous for that. You want to see it and you can be jealous for someone else’s good.

Like I think about in my relationship with my wife, I am jealous for her good. I am jealous for her provision and her protection. Sometimes, I feel like I’m more jealous for her good than she is. I just want good for her and there is a sense in which God is jealous toward us in this way. It’s not a perfect analogy but he’s jealous for our good, he’s jealous for our provision, our protection, for us to know his love and enjoy his love to the fullest and, and God is jealous for his glory.

This Verse Highlights the Sin of Pride

Now that would be wrong for us to think about for ourselves. If I was jealous for my own glory, you’d be like that’s a problem, and it would be a problem. That’s pride, that’s sin, but it’s not sin for God to be jealous for his glory because he’s the only one who deserves glory. There’s nobody else, nothing else that deserves glory.

So of course he’s jealous for His glory that’s what it means for him to be God. He knows that he alone is glorious and so he is jealous for his glory, the beauty of the gospel and God’s love is that he shows jealousy for his glory by showering love on us. God shows us faithfulness to us in ways that glorify his name. He shows mercy to us in ways that glorify his name. He shows grace to his people in ways that glorify his name.

Numbers 25:10–11 Shows God as Jealous for His Glory

The beauty of the gospel is that God shows jealousy for His glory by showering love on us through Christ’s finished work.

So what’s happening here in Numbers 25:10–11 is the people of God are disobeying God and not glorifying him and God is jealous for his glory. Even in his zeal for his people’s good, he is zealous and jealous for his glory and what Phinehas does is Phinehas acts and God says Phinehas acted with the same jealousy that God has. So the same jealousy that God has, for the good of his people and the glory of his name, that was driving Phinehas, and I want that to drive my life, and I want to encourage you to be driven with this kind of jealousy, to be driven with jealousy for the good of God’s people and the accomplishment of God’s purposes and ultimately the glory of God’s name, that that is what would drive us today.

This Verse Calls Us to be Zealous for His Glory

So we pray. God, in light of everything going on in our lives today, everything going on in our families, work, everything we do. God, please help us to be driven with your jealousy, your zeal. First and foremost for your glory. We look around us in a world of so many different idols where so many different gods are being worshiped. None of them deserve worship, you alone deserve worship, you are better than money, you are better than sex, you are better than sports, you are better than success, you’re better than anything this world offers.

Numbers 25:10–11 Prays for Our Lives to Bring Him Glory

You’re better than all the millions of gods that are being worshiped in India right now and all kinds of different places around the world. You’re better than all of them, so God, we pray. Glorify yourself today through us. Help us to live for your glory. Help us to live to make your glory to known. To speak about your glory. To point people to your glory and in the process live for others’ good that they might know your glory.

God, we pray that it would be said of us today, like at the end of the day today for us, we lived with the same jealousy you have for the good of others and the glory of your name, and we pray that the next day and the next day and the next day. God, may this be the commentary of our lives, that we were jealous with your jealousy. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


That means that the people with the most urgent spiritual and physical needs on the planet are receiving the least amount of support. Together we can change that!