Jealous and avenging God is one of the names of God that people have the most difficulty accepting. It helps if we understand that the Hebrew word for “jealous” also means “zealous.” God is zealous to see the very best for His children. Our best lies in relationship with Him; it is there that we are most fulfilled. When God sees us wandering away from Him into a lifestyle that hurts us, He is not envious but He jealous in the sense that He knows there is a better life for us in Him.
Vengeance has to be understood against a background of justice, and balanced with His mercy. If God did not punish evil, He would be unjust. Often He exercises His mercy instead of wrath, or He forbears with sin for a time. He also sent Jesus to die for our sins on the cross; it satisfied His justice and expressed His love.
Jealous and avenging God in Hebrew:
’El qanno’ wenoqem
Strong’s Concordance numbers: 410, 7072, 5358
Bible reference: Nah. 1:2
The Lord is a jealous and avenging God;
the Lord takes vengeance and is filled with wrath.
The Lord takes vengeance on his foes
and vents his wrath against his enemies. (Nahum 1:2 NIV)
Similar names for God are the Jealous God, the God of vengeance and the God who executes vengeance for me.