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Envy or Godly Fear (Proverbs 23:17)

Introductory Thoughts

Life is full of polar opposites that cannot simultaneously reside within the believer’s heart and life (i.e., truth and lies, love and hate, holiness and sin). Some of these conflicts are familiar and easily identifiable. Yet, the Bible indicates that a similar conflict exists in an individual’s life concerning envy and the fear of the Lord. When a man reflects upon the life of the wicked with envy, he ceases to walk in the fear of the Lord. Why? A man who fears the Lord considers the coming judgment directed toward those who know not God. Every person will stand before the Lord and those who fear the Lord and know the end of the story do not desire to have the lot of the wicked pertaining to this judgment. Every man must choose.  Does he choose to walk in the fear of the Lord or does he envy the wicked because his eyes veered away from the Lord?

Devotional Thoughts

  • (For children): A neighbourhood boy gets a lot of toys by stealing them. You may be envious of the toys, but you remember Exodus 20:15 and know that it is wrong to steal. Fearing God means that you hate evil (Proverbs 8:13) and realize that no one gets away with his sin (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).
  • (For everyone): What does it mean to envy? Why is it impossible to walk in the fear of the Lord while envying others? What does it mean to walk in the fear of the Lord?
  • Do you look at others and wish that you could live like they live or have what they have? Do the lives of those people you envy please God? Will the judgment be a pleasant time for them?

Prayer Thoughts

  • Ask God to help you choose the fear of the Lord.
  • Ask the Lord to help you see the dangers of choosing envy.