THE FRUIT OF ENVY

Scripture Reading: Genesis 37:12-36

“They (the brothers) saw him (Joseph) from afar, and before he came near to them they conspired against him to kill him. They said to one another,’Here comes this dreamer. Come now, let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits. Thus we will say that a fierce animal has devoured him, and we will see what will become of his dreams.” (Genesis 37:18-20)

It is amazing to see what envy can do to people. This certainly was the case with Joseph’s brothers. They were extremely envious of him. The brothers had a root of bitterness deep with them. The Scripture says, “See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled” (Hebrews 12:15).

Envy is a serious sin. Webster defines envy as “the painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another, joined with a desire to possess the same advantage.” Proverbs 14:30 says, “Envy rots the bones.” Joseph’s brother were filled with envy.

Envy’s bitter shoot is hate. Joseph’s brothers hated him. One reason they hated him was that he was different from them. Joseph was a godly young man; his brothers were just the opposite. There were other reasons that led to the hatred the brothers felt for Joseph — his favored position with his father and his dreams. As we will see, Joseph was God’s choice for a position of future prominence. This explains why Joseph had dreams of reigning over his brothers (37:5-9).

The fruit of bitterness manifested itself when the brothers intended to kill Joseph. The result of their envy was a tangible act. Bitter people do bitter acts to others — harsh words, unjust criticism, gossip, slander, and other forms of malice.

Let’s not forget the ultimate expression of a bitter act when we consider what was done to our Savior, Jesus Christ. The religious leaders of His day were envious of Jesus. Their envy led to hate and then to the plot to kill Jesus.

We must be honest with ourselves as we examine our hearts. Are we envious of anyone? Is there a root of bitterness in us? If so, we must repent and confess our sin of envy. We must turn to Jesus for forgiveness and the strength to let the envy go. He alone can set us free from the sin of envy and any bitterness that is in our hearts. Look at Him and remember what He did for us — “Consider Him who endured from sinners such hostility against Himself, so that you will not grow weary or fainthearted” (Hebrews 12:3).

Lord Jesus, when I consider what You endured for me, I am deeply humbled and filled with love for you. Forgive me when I harbor envy in my heart. Forgive me when I experience bitterness within me. Thank You for Your grace and mercy. Enable me to keep my eyes on You this day and enable me to love others with the love You have for me.

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