Thursday, September 1, 2016

Seven Deadly Sins - Part 3: ENVY

                                                                                                 Thursday, September 1, 2016
A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body;
    jealousy is like cancer in the bones.  Proverbs 14:30
Cancer in the bones can be a death sentence; envy (jealousy) is just as deadly to the spirit as cancer is to the physical bones.  Cain was envious of his brother Abel’s righteousness, and led to the first murder recorded in Scripture[ii].  The Philistine neighbors of Isaac were jealous of his wonderful harvest and filled his wells with dirt[iii]; their descendants have been arguing ever since.  Joseph’s brothers envied his place in their father Jacob’s heart and sold their own blood into slavery[iv].  Korah envied Moses’ leadership position and rebelled…more than 20,000 of his followers died as a result[v].

The temptation to be jealous, to envy what another person has, is common.  Every two-year old wants the toy his friend possesses.  In truth, envy is just that – toddler selfishness…and it’s just as destructive!

The Psalmist found that out the hard way.  Listen to how he compares his first thoughts and actions towards how wicked people prosper, and what it did to him, and what he found out about envy being cancer to the bones:

Truly God is good to Israel, to those whose hearts are pure.  But as for me, I almost lost my footing.  My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone.  For I envied the proud when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness.  They seem to live such painless lives; their bodies are so healthy and strong.  They don’t have troubles like other people; they’re not plagued with problems like everyone else.  They wear pride like a jeweled necklace and clothe themselves with cruelty.  These fat cats have everything their hearts could ever wish for!  They scoff and speak only evil; in their pride they seek to crush others.  They boast against the very heavens, and their words strut throughout the earth.  And so the people are dismayed and confused, drinking in all their words. “What does God know?” they ask.  “Does the Most High even know what’s happening?”  Look at these wicked people—enjoying a life of ease while their riches multiply.
Did I keep my heart pure for nothing?  Did I keep myself innocent for no reason?  I get nothing but trouble all day long; every morning brings me pain.  If I had really spoken this way to others, I would have been a traitor to your people.  So I tried to understand why the wicked prosper. But what a difficult task it is! 
Then I went into your sanctuary, O God, and I finally understood the destiny of the wicked.  Truly, you put them on a slippery path and send them sliding over the cliff to destruction.  In an instant they are destroyed, completely swept away by terrors.  When you arise, O Lord, you will laugh at their silly ideas as a person laughs at dreams in the morning.  Then I realized that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside.  I was so foolish and ignorant—I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you.  Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand.  You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny.  Whom have I in heaven but you?  I desire you more than anything on earth.  My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.  Those who desert him will perish, for you destroy those who abandon you.  But as for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign LORD my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.        Psalm 73:1-28(NLT)

For You Today

Has the Lord revealed anything to you about envy?  Is He the strength of your heart?  There are more than a few of your friends and neighbors who need to know that.

You chew on that as you hit the Rocky Road…have a blessed day!



[i] Title Image:  Hieronymus Bosch (circa 1450–1516) or follower [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
[ii] Genesis 4:5
[iii] Genesis 26:14
[iv] Genesis 37:11
[v] Numbers 16:3

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