Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the LORD all the day. Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off. – Proverbs 23:17-18
My father often took my brother and I on deer hunting excursions and he taught us how to look for the tracks of those animals. He also taught how important it was to be looking ahead, splitting our attention between what was on the ground right in front of us, along with looking ahead to see the bigger picture. I often had this problem where I was so enamored with the tracks and had all my attention focused on the ground, that I walked up on a deer. I would only catch a fleeting glimpse of the animal’s tail as it bounded away from me. I missed seeing the deer because I was overly consumed with its’ tracks. I can still hear my father telling me, “Get your head up!”
Too many times we look at people around us who are openly not walking with God – or even hostile to Christianity – and wonder why things seem to go so well for them? Watching people like that there is a strong temptation to become envious even though there is no room in their life for things of the LORD.
The warning from Proverbs is clear; do not become envious of people – especially those that seem to ignoring God. Our role is to trust God, to respect Him and His authority because He holds the future.
When we are just looking at the tracks of others, we’ll miss the bigger picture. While important, this life isn’t all there is. My view can’t just be the short-term items directly in front of me. I must always remember, even though sometimes the tracks of life lead in one direction, I must God because He is the one who holds our future. I must look to and trust in Him.
The same theme is mentioned in Psalm 73. The writer makes a long lament about how well the wicked are getting along. But then he comes to verse 17 of Psalm 73 and his attitude changes. He gains a different perspective. He realizes there is so much more to us than just this life. Here, King Solomon says there is a future or there is a hereafter.
When we concentrate on unbelievers around us, we take our eyes off Him. When we look at them, we easily miss what He is doing. We are not responsible to make sure life is fair. But we are responsible to live a life glorifying to Him and that means getting our focus right. Maintaining the proper perspective on life and not being envious of others.
This life isn’t all there is and when our earthly existence doesn’t seem fair (and maybe it’s not) we cannot envy those who don’t know Him. We can trust Him even in the light of the unfairness of life. We adjust our perspective and look at things from the correct angle. Get your head up and take an eternal perspective to our situation.