Devotion on Envy Part 4/5 – Family/ Workplace/ School

Here is part 4 of the devotion on Envy.


RETHINKING ENVY

Psalm 55:12-14

“12 If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it;

if a foe were rising against me, I could hide.

13 But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend,

14 with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship at the house of God,

as we walked about among the worshipers.

Envy happens among people in close proximity. Saul was to be like a father and leader to David. Saul’s son Jonathan was David’s covenantal brother, and his daughter Michal married David. The kingship’s anointing upon David had made him a competitor to Saul’s throne. It is interesting that Saul recognizes this anointing upon David (1 Sam 24:20) even though Samuel’s anointing of David was done in private. Saul saw the potential, calling and destiny of David and was fearful. Saul also knew that God was with David. Saul acted even before David rose to his full destiny. In fact, he was trying to stop David.

Compare Saul to our Abba Father who also declares himself as jealous in Exodus 20:5 when God gave the second of the Ten Commandments to Moses saying, “You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me”. This same jealousy of God is also recorded in Psalm 78:58 and 79:5. The jealousy of God is not something we should even try to provoke. We will not split hairs with the definition and differences of envy and jealousy as they are different sides of the same coin. How is the envy of Saul different from the jealousy of God? What makes God’s jealousy right while our envy wrong? God is jealous for us and we are jealous of another. God’s jealousy is protective and our jealousy is destructive. God’s jealousy is based on pure sacrificial love while our fleshy envy is self-centered. This is the Father’s love that each believer has. This is the security that David rested in.

David knew his destiny. He was secure in God. Pursued by Saul like a fugitive, he endured and did what was right in the eyes of God. He was deeply hurt and felt the pain of betrayal as expressed in Psalm 55. Yet he did not allow Saul’s envy to contaminate his heart with evil. Most importantly, David did not allow Saul’s actions to rob him of his destiny in God.

Apostle Paul reflects a similar attitude to other’s envy in Philippians where his focus is fixated on God and His kingdom, away from these momentary incidences.

Phi 1:15-18 “15 It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16 The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.”The bottomline is: “What does it matter?”

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