Published on
October 3, 2023

Deuteronomy 32

“They have provoked Me to jealousy by what is not God; they have moved Me to anger by their foolish idols. But I will provoke them to jealousy...”

Author Photo
Steve Wiggins
Author Photo
Steve Wiggins
Read Time
4 minutes
Deuteronomy 32
“They have provoked Me to jealousy by what is not God; they have moved Me to anger by their foolish idols. But I will provoke them to jealousy by those who are not a nation; I will move them to anger by a foolish nation.” Deuteronomy 32:21 (NKJV)

These days, it is unusual to find committed relationships. Over half the marriages end in divorce, and the talk shows and tabloids are filled with rumors of infidelity. But can you imagine cheating on God? Most people cheat because they’re looking for someone better. After being courted by God, there’s nowhere to go but down! Not only that, God is jealous for His “bride.”

In today’s chapter, the Lord turns the tables on Israel. He tells them that instead of making Him jealous by forsaking Him for other gods, He will make them jealous and enrage them because of His relationship with another people, a “non-people.” **See also the book of the prophet Hosea.

In the short term, God provoked Israel to jealousy when He eventually showed favor to Babylon, empowering them to drive Israel from the land. In a Messianic sense, God has shown His grace and love upon the Gentiles through Jesus. Jesus’ atonement is irrespective of nationality, and Paul’s conversion of Gentiles accomplished at least two purposes: 1) It provoked Israel to jealousy, prompting the return of many Jews to the Lord. 2) It parlayed Israel’s transgression into an opportunity to redeem the nations.

“I ask, then, have they (the Jews) stumbled so as to fall? Absolutely not! On the contrary, by their stumbling, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel jealous. If their stumbling brings riches for the world and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full number bring? Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. In view of the fact that I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, if I can somehow make my own people jealous and save some of them.” Romans 11:11-14 (HCSB)

If Israel would forsake the Lord for the “false gods” of the Gentiles, perhaps, they would forsake those false gods in favor of Him when He became the God of the Gentiles. In essence, “If you want to follow the religions of the Gentiles, then I will cause the Gentiles to worship Me. Therefore, following the Gentiles will lead you back to Me.” But Israel was supposed to lead the Gentiles to God! And that is what Messiah, a Jew, did.

“I the Lord have called You into righteousness, and will hold Your hand, and will keep You, and give You for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and those that sit in darkness out from the prison house.” Isaiah 42:6 (NKJV)

“I Indeed He says, ‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give you as a light to the Gentiles, That You should be My “salvation” (Heb: Yeshua, also the Name of Jesus) to the ends of the earth.” Isaiah 49:6 (NKJV)

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