Proverbs 23:17

Note the contrast between envy/jealousy and fear of the Lord in this proverb. “Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the Lord all the day” (Proverbs 23:17 ESV).

This verse is a gut punch in the battle between the seen and unseen. For our envy (or jealousy) is driven by that which we perceive about others, whether it be their status or possessions or whatever. “I sure wish I had their [fill in the blank].” Or “I’m more deserving of [fill in the blank] than they are.” Why do sinners seemingly get all the good stuff? Admittedly, it is hard at times, to see others apparently prosper in whatever way we may define prosper, especially if we are walking in godliness and seemingly not prospering.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. (Hebrews 11:1-2 ESV)

Hebrews 11 addresses this challenge in a helpful way as the writer reviews the stories of some of the great saints of the Old Testament, who walked by faith, yet seemingly didn’t receive their promise. In fact, their heavenly (or eternal) reward is greater; they traded the lesser for the better. And this, is exactly what Proverbs 23:17 encourages us to do, as well.

Lord, help me to cling to you in faith, keeping my heart focused toward the better, which “neither moth nor rust destroys” nor what thieves can break in and steal (Matthew 6:20).

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