Envy Part 2By Pastor Boffey on Sunday, November 1, 2020.
V. Beware the evil eye of envy that sees the advantage of another and cannot abide by it. MAT 6:23; 20:15. A. Saul’s envy was noted by, “...And Saul eyed David...” (1SAM 18:8-9). B. “Envy is the devil’s eye, as hypocrisy is the devil’s cloven foot.” (Unknown) C. Beware of the “unfair” claim when it comes to God’s expectations or favor. JOH 21:20-22. D. Envy of the valid advantage of another (the favor of God, success by merit, inheritance, etc.) is one thing. But it is especially vain to be envious at the prosperity of the wicked. PSA 37:1. 1. Jeremiah struggled with this while recognizing that such “prospered” by the will of God. JER 12:1-2. 2. David did likewise but he came to realize that his lot was actually better. PSA 73:1-3, 16-24. 3. What a difference an eternal perspective makes! VI. Consider the gainsaying of Core/Korah. JUDE 1:11. A. This was expressly a case of envying Moses and Aaron. PSA 106:16 c/w NUM 16:1-3, 8-10. B. This envy manifested in rebellion (rising up against legitimate authority). 1. Any striving for office must be done lawfully. 2TI 2:5. 2. This is sin like witchcraft (which is another unlawful grasp for power). 1SAM 15:23. C. Moses’s hands and conscience were clean; he was not self-willed, nor a defrauder. NUM 16:15, 28. D. The rebels were destroyed by God (vs. 31-35) and the survivors blamed Moses and Aaron, which provoked God to destroy them all. vs. 41-50. 1. Moses’s love for the people went on display even after their rebellion. 2. Hirelings do not care for the sheep. JOH 10:12-13. E. Well did James write: “For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work” (JAM 3:16). 1. The word here translated “confusion” is translated as tumults in 2CO 6:5; 12:20 and as commotions in LUK 21:9. 2. Do not underestimate the disrupting damage envy can work on an otherwise stable society. Common sense goes out the window. F. Having preeminence is one thing; loving it for power and attention is another. 3JO 1:9-10. G. James also cautioned about the down-side of high office. JAM 3:1. H. “A French officer, General Cherin, was once conducting a detachment through a deep and dangerous glen. Seeing that his men flagged, he encouraged them to bear the fatigues of the march patiently. A soldier near him muttered, ‘It is all very well for you to talk of patience---you who are mounted on a fine horse; but for us poor wretches it is a different matter.’ The quick ear of the General heard the words. He felt that it was unjust that his men should think that he would not willingly share all their dangers. He reined in his horse at once, and, dismounting, said to the murmuring soldier, ‘Here, take my place awhile.’ Scarcely had the latter mounted, his face covered with confusion, when a shot from the adjacent heights struck the poor fellow, and he fell badly wounded. The General turned to his troop and said, as some were told to carry off their comrade: ‘You see, my men, that the most elevated place is not the least dangerous.’” (Elon Foster, 6000 Windows For Sermons, p. 300, #8398) I. The path to greatness in Christ’s kingdom is service, not to be served. MAT 20:20-28 c/w ROM 12:10, 16.
VII. It is the nature of man to usually seek his own. PHIL 2:19-21. A. Paul’s instruction concerning marital union shows the importance of deeming another as oneself so that the benefit of the other is also beneficial to oneself. EPH 5:28-31. B. Envy is contrary to the most important virtue: charity (1CO 13:4-5). Mind the “nots” in these verses which are oft associated with envy. C. Mind that Paul’s chapter on the superiority of charity to all gifts comes on the heels of a warning against envy in the church about God’s gifts. 1CO 12:14-18, 28. D. Marriage, family, church and even society at large imperil themselves by disregarding this fundamental rule of charity.
VIII. Consider some noble people in Scripture who did not let envy ruin them: A. Moses. NUM 11:27-29. B. Jonathan. 1SAM 23:17. C. John the Baptist. JOH 3:25-30. D. Peter. 2PE 3:15. E. Paul. PHIL 1:15-18.
IX. Consider some triggers of envy, and make not provision for it, per ROM 13:14. A. Laziness. This is how “...envy slayeth the silly one” (JOB 5:2 c/w PRO 21:25). Slothful people would rather envy the diligent, rob the diligent, or hire someone to plunder the diligent under color of law. B. Perceived injustice. 1. Injustice may be genuine and countered by godly means. 2. Injustice may be actually a rejection of God’s sovereignty or favor. JOH 21:22. 3. Injustice may be concocted in disregard of other factors that distinguish men: ill-breeding, lack of education, lack of self-discipline, etc. C. Pride. One cannot bear the thought of being less or having less than another. 1JO 2:16. D. Conviction by a better example. JOH 11:47 c/w MAT 27:18. E. Rejection by God because of disobedience. GEN 4:5. F. Regret or bitterness over one’s own bad decisions. 1SAM 15:28; 18:8-16. G. Lack of contentment. 1. This is a major source of envy, especially in the area of possessions, since the lust for wealth is insatiable. ECC 5:10; PSA 62:10. 2. Hence, we are warned against covetousness when commanded to be content. HEB 13:5. 3. Contentment is an achievable learned estate. PHIL 4:11-12. 4. Distinguish between a desire to improve one’s station in life by godly means and a lack of contentment that drives one to covetousness and envy.
X. “We may cure envy in ourselves, either by considering how useless or how ill these things were for which we envy our neighbor, or else how we possess as much or as good things. If I envy his greatness, I consider that he wants my quiet; as also I consider that he possibly envies me as much as I do him; and that when I begun to examine exactly his perfections, and to balance them with my own, I found myself as happy as he was. And though many envy others, yet very few would change their condition even with those whom they envy, all being considered.” (Elon Foster, 6000 Windows For Sermons, p. 300, #8391)