WISDOM FOR LIFE: A Topical Study in Proverbs

Wisdom For Life 


What is Envy?
• The sin of jealousy over the blessings and achievements of others
• To feel uneasiness, mortification or discontent, at the sight of superior excellence, reputation or happiness enjoyed by another;
• to complain or fret at another's prosperity;
• to fret or grieve one's self at the real or supposed superiority of another, and to hate him on that account.

Old Testament examples of the sin of jealousy include the rivalry of Joseph's brothers over the favor that Joseph received at the hand of God and Saul's animosity toward David for his physical and spiritual prowess. The 10 Commandments tell us not to covet anything. Envy (or jealousy) was the motive leading to the arrest of Jesus.

Our culture tries to breed discontentment in us. It tells us we always need the latest and greatest; we need what others have; what you have is not enough. There are so many opportunities for envy. It’s a threat to our joy and to our concern for other people.

Proverbs 3:31-32
31 Do not envy a violent man or choose any of his ways, 32 for the LORD detests a perverse man but takes the upright into his confidence.

Proverbs 24:1-2
1 Do not envy wicked men, do not desire their company; 2 for their hearts plot violence, and their lips talk about making trouble.

Why would someone envy a wicked or violent man?
• They get what they want
• They have power over people
• The meek have not always been held in high honor

Look at the blessing of not being or envying a violent person…God takes the upright into His confidence!

Wow! What intimacy we forfeit when we envy or chose the way of the violent.
God will speak to the upright; He will reveal Himself and His ways to the one who chooses contentment and trust

Proverbs 14:30
A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.

Envy eats us up on the inside. Unchecked envy leads to bitterness. Envy is a lack of peace, a lack of contentment. It says “I want what I can’t have. I want what someone else has”. We can choose life or rottenness

Proverbs 23:17
Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the LORD.

Why envy sinners?
Sometimes it looks like things work out better for them… and they don’t have to live up to the standard we do.
They may take short-cuts, lie, cheat, steal, and end up being rewarded for it.

Instead of envying sinners, what should we be?
Zealous for the fear of the Lord, always. Go after God with all your heart. Honor him with all you are. That’s where true, lasting, eternal peace and joy are found. And quite often, wonderful blessings flow from this… but even if they don’t, in light of eternity, pursuing God will work out in your favor.

Proverbs 24:19-20
19 Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of the wicked, 20 for the evil man has no future hope, and the lamp of the wicked will be snuffed out.

Do not envy the wicked. Ultimately, they have no hope and will be snuffed out (unless they turn to Jesus). They will spend an eternity shut out from the presence of God. Whatever desirable things they have are temporary.

Is it ok to pursue change, betterment, promotions?
Yes-depending on the motive of the heart. God may in fact lead you to new and better opportunities. Allow God to check your motives before proceeding.

Envy is really saying: God you have short-changed me. What you have given isn’t good enough

How to fight envy:
• Always be zealous for the fear of the LORD
• Pursue God with all your heart-He is all we need. He alone satisfies.
• Nothing that my neighbor has will satisfy me like Jesus

For these verses, what are the blessings of choosing pursuing God and not envying?
• The Lord takes the upright into his confidence (intimacy with the Father)
• Life to the body
• A future hope
• A heart at peace

Contentment, seeking to please God, brings peace and fruit that money can’t buy.