The Thirty Sayings of the Wise: Envy Evil Error (Proverbs 23:17-18)

Each of us wants hope, a confident assurance regarding our future. In his Thirty Sayings of the Wise, Solomon offers insights for us to experience God’s hope on this side of Heaven. That hope is the person of Jesus Christ (see 1 Timothy 1:1). Solomon’s Thirty Sayings of the Wise offers insights for us to experience God’s hope on this side of heaven. The first is recognizing the error of envying evil: “Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the LORD. There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off” (Proverbs 23:17-18).

Envy robs us of hope. This unfolded quite literally when the religious leaders sought to crucify Jesus who was before Pilate: “For he knew it was out of envy that they had handed Jesus over to him” (Matthew 27:18). The chief priests had profited from a massive financial enterprise that had sold each of the estimated 500,000 Passover visitors in Jerusalem their approved lambs for sacrifice. Jesus was a threat to both their economic and religious system. They envied His knowledge, His power, and His credibility with the people. Although they had been equipped with the Law and the Prophets, they had failed to recognize the God of the Universe when He locked eyes with them. They were truly blinded by ambition. Two thousand years later, we have the same vision impairment.

Envy hardens our hearts to God and brings calamity: “Blessed are those who always tremble before God, but those who harden their hearts fall into trouble” (Proverbs 28:14). When we covet sinners, positions they hold, roles they play, or things they have, we squelch our reverence for God. In order to get what we so badly desire, we trust in our gifts, rather than the Giver. Solomon revealed: “He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe” (Proverbs 28:26).

The remedy to a hard heart of envy is to shift our trust back to the Creator: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13). Trusting God provides us with joy, peace, and hope that comes from the power of the Holy Spirit.

Confess to God any envy that has hardened your heart toward Him. Memorize these life-changing verses penned by Solomon: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6). Recite these words each morning. God will honor your softened heart toward Him and renew His desires in you, providing you the hope only found in Jesus Christ.

Episode 106: 30 Sayings of the Wise: Future from mitchkrusetv on Vimeo.