By Tyson Thorne

December 27, 2018

NoG ElKanna Large

I read a lot of murder mysteries, and among the most common motives for murder is jealousy. It makes people ugly and can lead to even worse actions. This is how jealousy is presented most of the time, from novels to daytime dramas, but there is another definition for jealousy and it's a positive one. Imagine a jealousy that strives to vigilantly watch over a beloved one, to protect them from unfaithfulness and a passionate zeal for the object of his love. This second definition is the one behind the name El Kanna (also El Kanno) in the Old Testament.

El Kanna means "Jealous God" and not in the twisted stalker kind of way. No, God's jealousy runs in the vein of the second definition which is both a blessing and a curse. God love's his people in a way that always looks out for our best interest and that expects us to make him first in our hearts and lives. In Old Testament times what tempted people away from loving God were idols — carved or struck images of other gods. About them our Lord said to the Israelites:

You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I, the Lord, your God, am El Kanna (a jealous God), responding to the transgression of fathers by dealing with children to the third and fourth generations of those who reject me, and showing covenant faithfulness to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

One important truth to keep in mind is that God is speaking to his people. Like Christians, Israelites made a commitment to God, to have no other gods beside him. God doesn't punish or bless those outside the family based on the same criteria. Those whom he calls sons and daughters are special to him and he will bless or correct them as necessary.

Today the thought of loving and praying to a carved deity appears foolish, but we're not so sophisticated as all that. We might not have a god made of wood, stone or metal, but we love and worship things other than the one true God nonetheless. For some it might be money, jewelry or a house, for others it might be a significant other or even their pet. Fox News host Dana Perino wrote a book about her dog, Jasper. I'm not saying I can know Mrs. Perino's heart, Nor do I know anything about her faith life, but to write a book about her dog is a red flag for me. How many of us praise others or things more than we do God? It's a good question to ask ourselves every now and then, especially if you are a follower of El Kanna.

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