The Seed of Envy
I couldn’t understand how the tables turned so quickly. I recall him admiring his bravery, talent, humility and demeanour. He trusted this young man and was so enamoured by his gift and presence that he was invited into his home and family. He was given a high position and treated like a son. However, in the blink of an eye one thoughtless phrase changed everything. Well it changed everything for Saul but the boy he once loved was none the wiser.
David viewed Saul like a Father and loved his son Jonathan like a brother, but when envy pried into the heart of a disobedient and insecure man, love quickly turned to hate.
I kept reading in the book of 1 Samuel about the way Saul’s heart had turned against David and yet David's innocent trust and loyalty couldn’t see it.
I imagine the first time that Saul spoke aggressively toward David, he must have excused it as a bad day. We all do it, we hope for the best in those around us because they love us or we believe that they ought to, and therefore wouldn’t harm us.
Joseph’s brothers should have loved him, after all these same brothers slaughtered all the men in a village because one man raped their sister Dinah. Yes, his brothers must have loved him but envy, the silent monster that sits in the recesses of people’s heart can push them to try to take your life without cause.
If Joseph couldn’t trust his brothers with his dreams, then who could he trust. If his support squad didn’t have his close relatives on the front line then who would have stood with him and believe with him. It was perfectly reasonable to expect that Jacob’s sons would look out for each other, but instead they deceitfully connived to silence the pompous voice of the dreamer Joseph.
Jealousy resided deep on the inside, was covered by smiles and concealed with lies. It must have hurt David deeply to learn the way that Saul truly felt about him.
Joseph was probably in that well, wondering what he could have possibly done or said to his brothers to deserve the treatment that they were dishing out.
Envy is at the root of many instances of sibling rivalry, it is a likely culprit for discord in families and envy is usually the chief suspect in the deep-seated unhappiness of many people. Contentment is ridiculed as envy becomes an ally of bitterness.
"A heart at peace gives life to the body,
but envy rots the bones”
Envy doesn’t need provocation and it doesn't operate based on facts. It is a product of sinful flesh that causes persons to contrive a perspective about someone's possessions, mannerism, social background or all of them conjured together, to quietly create resentment.
As I read both accounts, beyond the stink of betrayal caused by envy, I still saw God’s glory. The character of David while on the run from Saul taught him lessons that prepared him for his next season of being king of Israel. The Joseph who was thrown into the pit was not the same Joseph who stood in front his brothers in Pharaohs' palace in Egypt.
Many times those closest to you, who have access to your heart and vulnerability, try to break your spirit, stunt your growth, restrain your stride and steal your joy because they have given place to Satan’s seed of envy.
“For where you have envy and selfish ambition,
there you find disorder and every evil practice.”
Unfounded accusations have their seed in envy, erratic outbursts and unexplainable rejection all have their birth in jealousy. It is always a hard pill to swallow when those who ought to do better, don’t.
Yet, David still loved and respected Saul. Love was the reason that David did not kill Saul when he had the opportunity to do so in the cave; he chose to honour God.
Joseph still deeply loved his brothers. The intense weeping in their presence was a torrential release of years of hurt. Yet, when Joseph’s brothers and their families were in need, love prevailed.
If you’ve finally realised that envy might be the impetus for some people’s actions remember David and remember Joseph. No scheme of the enemy can destroy God’s promise to you and when it is all said and done, love them anyway. Even if they never say sorry, even if they never own up to any hurt they caused, remember it will all work together for your good and for His Glory.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud”
1 Corinthians 13:4
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