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Thursday June 7 – Envy defined

Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands…And Saul eyed David from that day on. – 1 Samuel 18:7-9

Scripture reading: 1 Samuel 18

Envy is similar to jealousy, but it is not strictly a desire for something that someone else has that I want. It is a hatred for the person who has it. In fact, because someone has something that I do not, some advantage over me, I cannot be satisfied or happy until it is taken away from him. Envy rejoices with those who weep and weeps with those who rejoice.

In the new top ten hits on the streets of Israel, Saul is praised for his exploits, but he can no longer hear the song because David is praised even more. Envy always says, but what about me? Someone is elected to an office in the church that I desired. A fellow employee is promoted ahead of me. A sister in the church has a personality and warmth that you long for. For the envious, these are not reasons to give thanks to God for his blessings upon others; these are reasons for despair and anger.

Look in the church nursery. Little Marie may seem as happy as a clam playing with her favourite toy animal until she sees Little Beth laughing over a princess car. Little Marie, green with envy, now cannot be happy until the car is in her possession and Beth is in tears. Only then will she be satisfied.

Envy is the opponent of contentment and gratitude; it is the enemy of joy and love.

Suggestions for prayer

“I bring my soul to Thee; break it, wound it, bend it, mould it. Unmask to me sin’s deformity, that I may hate it, abhor it, flee from it.” – The Valley of Vision: Yet I Sin

This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Mark Stewart serves the Burlington URC in Burlington, WA.


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