It’s sometimes hard to grapple with how a potentially sinful aspect of our humanity like “sibling rivalry” is often the engine of YHWH’s end game. Once we come to terms with this reality, it should affect our walk in a serious way. Take a look at this interesting pattern and prophecy of YHWH:
Genesis 37:6-11, “He said to them, “Hear this dream that I have dreamed: Behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and behold, my sheaf arose and stood upright. And behold, your sheaves gathered around it and bowed down to my sheaf.” His brothers said to him, “Are you indeed to reign over us? Or are you indeed to rule over us?” So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words. Then he dreamed another dream and told it to his brothers and said, “Behold, I have dreamed another dream. Behold, the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” But when he told it to his father and to his brothers, his father rebuked him and said to him, “What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall I and your mother and your brothers indeed come to bow ourselves to the ground before you?” And his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the saying in mind.”
Of course, in the short term, this sibling rivalry ended up with Joseph in the bottom of a dry pit, and eventually sold into slavery. The temporary demise of the weakest and most beloved brother, however, ends up with him second in command in Egypt, and becoming the savior of the very brothers whose jealousy provoked them to sin. If this was the only instance of intense jealously turning into blessing, we could just chalk it up to “All things work together for good to those who love Yah”. But the incident of Joseph and his brothers is just part of a biblical pattern that reaches into our very lives today.
Deuteronomy 32:21, “They have made me jealous with what is no god; they have provoked me to anger with their idols. So I will make them jealous with those who are no people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.” This passage is a prophesy about what will happen once the Children of Israel enter into the Land, and soon forget YHWH’s holy instructions. These words have been fulfilled in various ways over the centuries, but Paul echo’s the heart of Yah in Romans 11:13-15, “Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry in order to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them. For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?”
It’s funny how Paul’s reputation today is only “The Apostle to the Gentiles”, but his own words show that this is only a strategy to reach his own people. Once Jews see gentiles from several “foolish nations” adopting the Torah as taught by Yeshua the Messiah as a lifestyle, they will be provoked to jealousy. Of course, Paul himself was a target of this strategy as his initial reaction to those following Yeshua was intense jealousy; a jealousy so intense it resulted in him being an accessory to murder! All Paul needed was a healthy redirection of that passion, and once Yeshua set him straight, he turned the whole world upside down for YHWH.
How are we as His people “making Jews jealous”? I’d have to say that generally, the main-stream church has either forgotten, ignored, or rebelled against YHWH’s heart on the matter. Instead of honoring the biblical Sabbath as Messiah did and as most Jews still faithfully do, the church has nonchalantly changed it do a different day. Instead of embracing YHWH’s “appointed times” as Messiah did and as most Jews still faithfully do, the church has embraced elements and dates of pagan holidays and re-branded them “Christian”. Instead of following all of the “old testament” commandments as Messiah did and as most faithful Jews attempt to do, the church ignores their own Messiah’s lifestyle and declares that the eternal Holy instructions have been “nailed to the cross” and “done away with”. A “Torah observant” life is instead harshly judged as “living under the law”. If you were a Jew, would this make you jealous or just righteously angry? Even more harshly, if you were a Jew would you see the “Jesus” the church portrays as the Messiah, or as an anti-Messiah!?
Here is a simple but profound question to wrestle with and pray about: Would your personal lifestyle as a believer be attractive or even interesting in any way to an orthodox or even a casual Jew, or is it unrecognizable or even insulting when compared to the Torah’s commandments?