Envy Leads To Evil – Psalm 37

Sin enters through disobedience and settles in all the areas of our lives. Sin made its way when Eve, with little knowledge, looked at the creation forgetting the Creator. Since then, the devil is using human knowledge to blow their minds with emotions.

This Psalm deals with three phases of our lives. The first one is comparing our lives with others. By doing this, if we find ourselves above others then we feel proud else we feel sad. The second approach is comforting ourselves by assuming wicked people’s fall or the rewards awaiting us for doing good. The third phase is looking at God and rejoicing in His amazing grace.

Abstaining From Envy

Do not fret because of those who are evil
or be envious of those who do wrong;
for like the grass they will soon wither,
like green plants they will soon die away.
Trust in the LORD and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the LORD,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:1-4 (NIV)

Envy is an emotion that we have when somebody else has something that we want. Despite knowing the definition of envy, if we still envy the wicked, it shows our desire to live like the people we envy, leaving aside our salvation. No one can say that I do not feel envy in my life. We all come across this soul-threatening negative emotion in our lifetime. When envy reveals our secret desire for evil, we should get rid of the evil desire to stop envying it. In this world, if someone else has a thing we want, it is hard for us to grab it because of the limited availability of resources.

Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
your vindication like the noonday sun.
Be still before the LORD
and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.
Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
do not fret —it leads only to evil.

Psalm 37:5-8 (NIV)

When suggesting not to envy, Psalmist did mention how to abstain from envy. He asked us to trust in the Lord. Then he asked as to delight in the Lord. And finally, he asked us to commit our lives to God. When we trust God, we understand His providence and delight in Him. When we are delighted in His ways, it will not be hard for us to commit our lives to Him.

Elisha trusted in the Lord and saw His provisions always. But his servant did not trust the Lord and could not see His protection but could only see the world and its challenges. When Elisha prayed, God opened the servant’s eyes, and he saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire around Elisha.

Negative emotions blind our eyes from seeing God. Cain failed to set himself right but envied his brother Abel for his good deeds in spite of God’s intervention. The good deeds of Abel exposed the evil in Cain, and instead of leaving aside evil, envy led Cain to murder his brother Abel.

Has Cain reasoned that with the killing of Abel, the good deeds will also die, and his evil deeds will appear good? Emotions do not give time to discern the right thing but lead to evil. It ignites anger, and anger leads us towards murder. Anger destroys our relationship with people and disconnects us from God. Is it not wise to connect with God to maintain the relationships given to us by God?

Plight Of The Wicked

Just after suggesting we should trust God, the Psalmist assumed the destiny of the wicked to calm his mind. If a person commits his life to the omnipotent God, he does not worry about anything. Because he knows that provision is plenty with God, and he would not lack anything. Yet, the assumption about the destiny of the wicked brings joy to many people. It cheers a person when he listens to the news about the fall of His enemy. Some even think that God avenged them for what they did to them. Instead of rejoicing that God has avenged their enemies, they should remember that God did not take revenge on the people who crucified His Son. Are we greater than His Son, that God is harming our enemies?

Though we think we do not envy, the outcome of envy might be visible to all who watch us. Jesus does not envy us, as His Father punished Him for our sins. Still, He loved us more knowing that His Father loves us. To overcome envy, we should be aware of the plans of God. As we are in the New Testament era, it is inappropriate to hate anyone and expect bad things to happen in the life of people who hate us or whom we hate.

The emotions of David mislead many believers, and they feel happy when their enemies fall. Though David expected the fall of His enemies, he did nothing wrong when God gave him a chance to take revenge. “Then Abishai son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and cut off his head.” But the king said, “What does this have to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? If he is cursing because the Lord said to him, ‘Curse David,’ who can ask, ‘Why do you do this (2 Samuel 16:9-10)?’” Twice David had a chance to kill Saul, yet he did not dare to do so, fearing God. Do not rejoice when our enemy suffers rather pray for forgiveness.

The wise man Solomon warns people not to rejoice in the fall of enemies. But his warnings hid wrong motives in them. May God give us the wisdom to ignore those suggestions. Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice, or the LORD will see and disapprove and turn his wrath away from them (Proverbs 24:17-18).

The Lord’s Care

Better the little that the righteous have
than the wealth of many wicked;
for the power of the wicked will be broken,
but the LORD upholds the righteous.
The blameless spend their days under the LORD’s care,
and their inheritance will endure forever.
In times of disaster they will not wither;
in days of famine they will enjoy plenty.

Psalms 37:16-22 (NIV)

Usually, envy burns when we see the wicked flourishing in all walks of their lives. Anyway, wealth is not going to save us from our eternal death.  People, despite their wealth, do not endure; they are like the beasts that perish (Psalms 49:12). Even in this world, sometimes, wealth cannot come to our rescue. Only God can help us in our difficult situations. But the devil lured people to care about the things that cannot save us.

God cares to make us righteous so that we avail all His riches. At the same time, He pours out His grace toward the wicked that they should also have the light from the sun and rain from the clouds. The Gospel of John explains the double-fold grace of God in an inexplicable way. For people who do not know God, He pours out His grace, but for His children, He pours out abundant grace upon the one given to all despite their ignorance. Because of this double-fold grace, His children know Him as their Father, while the others do not. Out of His fullness, we have all received grace in place of grace already given (John 1:16).

The Lord Upholds

The LORD makes firm the steps
of the one who delights in him;
though he may stumble, he will not fall,
for the LORD upholds him with his hand.
I was young and now I am old,
yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken
or their children begging bread.
They are always generous and lend freely;
their children will be a blessing.

Psalms 37:23-26 (NIV)

The Psalmist shared his personal experience with God. Walking with God should be one’s personal experience. Till we do not experience the goodness of God personally, it will be a hearsay story that may inspire us for a while but will not bring any change in our lives. While most of us admire the ways of the wicked, the Psalmist observed the lives of righteous people who are always generous in lending.

Finally, he found out that their children never begged for food. He had seen the Lord taking care of them in all respect. The children of the unrighteous, who do not lend anything to others from their riches, seen begging for money from others to cater to their evil habits is a common phenomenon.

Only when we trust in God’s abundance, will we be able to lend our riches to others. There are two ways, one is to hold on to what we have and not spend or lend, and the other way is to lend generously, relying on His riches. God upholds the latter in every respect.

Feet Of The Righteous Do Not Slip

The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom and their tongues speak what is just. The law of their God is in their hearts; their feet do not slip.

Psalms 37:30-31 (NIV)

This Psalm tells us to turn from evil and do good, for Lord will not forsake the faithful. Again the Psalmist compared the lives of the wicked with the righteous and brought out the reward of eternal living for the righteous. To understand, whether we are doing good or evil, this Psalm says that we must watch what we speak. Because Jesus says out of the fullness of our heart, our mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34).

Moreover, in the olden days, the laws were inscribed on stones or written on the scroll, but now with the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ, God has written His law in our hearts. The below words of the prophet Jeremiah reveal the power of the resurrection that nullifies the effort of preachers in proclaiming the love of God. The Gospel itself suffices the purpose, and the feet of those who received the love of God written in their hearts through the message of the cross, would not slip (Jeremiah 31:33).

Consider the blameless, observe the upright;
a future awaits those who seek peace.

Psalms 37:37 (NIV)

It is better not to observe the ways of the wicked but the righteous. When we follow the path of the righteous, we seek peace, and the reward awaits us.

The Salvation

The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD;
he is their stronghold in time of trouble.
The LORD helps them and delivers them;
he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
because they take refuge in him.

Psalms 37:39-40 (NIV)

Salvation is made available on the cross to all people, and there is no scarcity that someone will leave without salvation. Hence let us stop longing for the things of this world that are insufficient to cater to everyone and focus on the salvation that exists. Lord is our stronghold, and He can help us if we take refuge in Him. The amazing grace is that He does not only deliver us from evildoers but also from the wickedness of our hearts and gives us a new one filled with His love. In that new heart, there is no scope for envy, but peace will fill our hearts.

Lord Create in me a new heart!


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