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Chosen to Provoke the Jewish People to Jealousy

Yom Kippur at the Western (Wailing) Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Yom Kippur at the Western (Wailing) Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem.

You have been chosen by God to provoke the Jewish People to jealousy. 

Jealousy is not a bad trait in itself.  In fact, one of God’s holy names is El Kanna (Jealous God).

His jealousy reveals how much He loves and protects His relationship with His Chosen People—Israel—a people whom He called to be set apart for holy purposes.

But, over time, they departed from their purpose.

Here, we will see how God has turned the tables and become the provocateur, calling His people back to Him by stirring up a righteous jealousy of their very own in them.

How exactly does God provoke jealousy in the lives of Jewish People today and how does that jealousy fit into God’s plans for the Jewish People?  We will answer those questions here.


A Jewish woman prays using a siddur (Jewish prayer book) at the Kotel (Western Wall) in Jerusalem.

Let’s begin our journey with Yael, who recalls her encounters with Christians as a Jewish teenager in a Canadian high school:

“I met a pastor’s daughter named Cheryl at a tryout for a play.  She played guitar; I sang.  We quickly became friends.  As our friendship grew, I noticed differences between us.  During stressful times, such as exams, tests and family concerns, she had peace.

“She invited me to a retreat where I met a girl who spoke of God as though they had coffee on a regular basis.  Her faith, like Cheryl’s, was genuine and alive.

“Seeing their connection to my God provoked me to read the Bible.

“As I read it, I discovered that this God of the Bible was holy and I wasn’t.  I also discovered that this God of my ancestors made promises to care for us if we followed His instructions.  We kept messing up, and He still kept watch over us.  He allowed us to feel the consequences of our choices, yet spared us from totally destroying ourselves.

“He made a promise to Abraham and would keep it.

“More Christians entered my life, and over time, I could no longer deny what I found in Scripture and in the lives of these Believers—Yeshua was my Messiah.”

The Christians who entered Yael’s life were simply fulfilling their God-ordained mission as His agents of jealousy.

Jewish women pray at the Western (Wailing) Wall in Jerusalem.  To keep the peace with Muslims, Jews are currently forbidden to pray on the Temple Mount, Judaism's holiest site.  The Western Wall is part of the wall that once surrounded the ancient Temple's courtyard, and is therefore, considered Judaism's second holiest site.

Jewish women pray at the Western (Wailing) Wall in Jerusalem.

Agents of Jealousy

God has never intended for the Jewish people to be replaced or to perish because of their disobedience.

Instead, Gentiles (goyim in Hebrew) and jealousy (kanna) have become God’s holy tools to display His unending mercy, to keep His promises to the patriarchs, and to win back the hearts and souls of the People of Israel.

God said through Moses:

“They have made me jealous [kanna] with what is no god; they have provoked me to anger with their idols.  So I will make them jealous [kanna] with those who are no people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation [goy].”  (Deuteronomy 32:21)

Some think that God became so angry with the Jewish People that He chose the “foolish nation” (the goy) to replace them, but that is not so.  The Rabbi Shaul (Paul) tells us:

“Did God’s people stumble and fall beyond recovery?  Of course not!  They were disobedient, so God made salvation available to the Gentiles.”  (Romans 11:11)

What for?

“To make the people of Israel jealous of what you Gentiles have, so I might save some of them.”   (Romans 11:14)

Saving Jewish People was a vital portion of Paul’s ministry and is still a portion of the ministry of every Gentile Believer on earth today.

If you are a Gentile, how do you fulfill this ministry?

Nahalat Shiva neighborhood cafe, Jerusalem

A cafe in the quaint Nahalat Shiva neighborhood of Jerusalem.

Faith Is Hearing and Doing the Word of Messiah

“Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Messiah.”  (Romans 10:17)

What will provoke Jewish People to be jealous of Gentiles’ faith in their God?

“What provoked me,” Yael recalls, “was meeting people with a genuine faith in the God of Abraham, people who spent time with me, helped me, cared for me as a person without asking anything in return.  They lived their faith and then spoke to me about their faith.  The Holy Spirit did the rest.”

Genuine faith provokes jealousy.

Faith in Hebrew is the word emunah.  It is not about reciting creeds; it is about trusting in God’s instructions and obeying them.

Abraham displayed his faith when he left his family and home in Ur for the land of Canaan. He also displayed it when he bound his promised son Isaac to the altar—and he has become known as the father of our faith (Romans 4:16).

Joshua and the Israelites displayed faith when they circled the walls of Jericho seven times, sounded their trumpets, and shouted—and the walls came tumbling down (Joshua 6:15–20).

James Tissot-Seven Trumpets-Jericho

The Trumpets of Jericho, by James Tissot

Hearing God’s instructions and obeying them are not two separate words in Hebrew.  They both form the meaning of the word shema.

So when Paul writes in Greek that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Messiah,” what he is trying to tell us in the Hebrew mindset is that “emunah (faith) is shema (hearing / doing) the Word of Messiah.”

The Hebraic way to provoke Jews to jealousy is by consistently doing what Messiah has asked us to do:  Love our God.  Love our neighbor.

How do we do that?  God gives us guidelines throughout the Bible, and they are all driven by emunah (faith) and shema (hearing / doing).  The result is a living relationship, a pervasive peace, and a personal two-way communication with the God of Israel.

After displaying our great faith through action, we can then point our Jewish friends to the Scriptures that prophesy and proclaim Messiah Yeshua as the way to that faith.

Let’s look at another Jewish person’s experience with a Believer in Yeshua.

A Palestinian Christian and a Jewish Orthodox man have a discussion at the Western (Wailing) Wall in Jerusalem.

A Palestinian Christian and a Jewish Orthodox man have a discussion at the Western (Wailing) Wall in Jerusalem. (Photo by James Emery)

Grant, a successful businessman, was frustrated with his lack of connection to his God.

“Here I was, the child of Abraham and the Jewish guy and I seem to have nothing,” he said.

Then he met Maria, a Christian who displayed an intimacy and connection with Him that Grant longed for.

“It caused me to begin to go after, once again, a relationship with my own God.”

Only after being attracted to Maria’s personal connection with His God did Grant open up to hearing about Yeshua (Jesus).

“She presented her faith to me in a way I could understand,” he said. And that intrigued Grant to read the Bible.

Bible-Book of Revelation

It’s obvious that prophecies in the Book of Revelation are being fulfilled and that we are at the end of the age with Yeshua’s return drawing near.

“I was so surprised that I was actually reading a Jewish book,” he said.

After six months of watching Maria’s personal connection with God, hearing her proclaim Yeshua as His Son, and reading the Scriptures for himself, Grant went back to his apartment and prayed, “God of Abraham, if Yeshua is Your son and the Jewish Messiah, I want to know the truth.”

He remembered a Scripture Maria told him about—Revelation 3:20:

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with Me.”

As Grant prayed for the truth to be revealed to him, he visualized knocking on his bedroom door.

At that instant, a wind that he could see and feel indwelt him.

“From that moment on,” he said, “I believed.”  (I Met Messiah)

 If only every Jewish person would sincerely knock and ask the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob if Yeshua is His Son and His Messiah.

Businessman with briefcase knocking at a door outdoors

May you have the opportunity to lead Jewish People into that search by displaying genuine faith with Jewish colleagues and friends in a manner that provokes intense jealousy.

You have been chosen for such a purpose as this.

“Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”   (1 Peter 2:10)

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