We are living in a world full of envy and jealousy. Envy is defined as a feeling of discontentment or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities or success. Envy is wanting what some else has and resenting that person for having it. But jealousy is being worried that some else is trying to take what we have. The key questions are, how we, as children of God, avoid being envious or jealous over others’ success and how we behalf when others are envious or jealous of us. Our thought for reflection this Tuesday morning is, “Our God Wants Us to Practice Godliness on the Face of Envy and Jealousy”
“The man became rich, and his wealth continued to grow until he became very wealthy. He had so many flocks and herds and servants that the Philistines envied him”
Isaac’s wealth and blessings attracted unwelcome attention from the Philistines, who were envious of his success (Genesis 26:15). The Bible says, Abimelech rejected Isaac, (Genesis 26:16). Quarreling and dispute with the herdsmen of Abimelech continued because of water rights (Genesis 26:19-21). How did Isaac handle the envy, jealousy, quarrels and disputes of the Philistines in a godly way?
1. Isaac avoided conflict without retaliating.
Isaac is portrayed in Genesis 26 as a peace-loving man who avoided conflicts in a godly way. When Abimelech, King of the Phililistines, literally asked Isaac to get lost, the Bible says,
“So Isaac moved away from there and encamped in the Valley of Gerar and settled there. Later when Abimelech’s men claimed one of Isaac’s wells, he did not protest but quietly moved on until he found another well"
In today’s world people may say that Isaac was foolish not to claim what was rightly his. But Isaac, being a godly person, avoided conflict with those who took away what rightly belonged to him. Do we envy those who are successful and aim to grab what rightly belongs to them? How do we respond when people envy our success and try to take away from us what duly belongs to us?
2. Isaac practiced patient trust in His God.
All through Genesis 26, we find Isaac as the innocent party whose wells were either seized or filled in by his enemies. It was nothing but a mean example of vandalism motivated by envy and jealousy. Patient trust in God, in the midst of injustice, envy and jealousy is godliness, pleasing Yahweh. He trusted that if God did not bless, no one could be blessed and if God wanted to bless, no one could stop Him from doing so. We read that Isaac’s patience and trust in God paid off.
“He moved on from there and dug another well, and no one quarreled over it. He named it Rehoboth…”
Are we becoming irritated and anxious due to the envy and jealousy of others over our success or are we practicing patient trust in God?
“For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice”.
Are we experiencing envy and jealousy in family relationships, at work place and in ministry? Let’s decide to practice godliness like Isaac. Let’s pray.
“Dear Lord, help me not to be envious or jealous of the success or promotion of others. Help me to avoid conflict with those who envy and act against me. Enable me to trust in you and practice patience when I become a victim envy, jealousy and injustice throughout this day and the rest of my life. In Jesus’ name,... Amen!"