The Book of Esther recounts how envy backfired on a prominent nobleman. King Xerxes, ruler of the Persians and Medes, made Haman the most powerful official in his empire. All the people in the land except one bowed when Haman passed by.
Mordecai refused to bow to Haman because Jewish law prohibited him from bowing his knee to anyone other than God. Haman was envious, jealous, and furious that Mordecai would not honor him by bowing.
Envy is discontent or ill will toward another person because of their good fortune. It implies jealousy and hatred. Envy arises from desire. An envious person wants something someone else has or something an individual won’t give them.
That was the case with Haman. He was deprived of the one thing he wanted most— Mordecai’s submission.
Let’s purpose not to complain but keep thanking God until we receive from Him.
Why Did They Get Blessed?
I have seen Christians become envious when a fellow believer received something from God. “I don’t understand,” they moan. “I’ve been believing God longer than they have. And I haven’t received anything!”
Church members become envious of each other. One person wants to teach a class, but the pastor asks someone else to do it. Or someone is picked to sing a solo, and another person gets mad because they believe they can sing better. Then they begin discrediting their brother or sister in the Lord.
Galatians 5:26 warns against this. It says, “Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.” Envy is so powerful that it clouds our thinking. It causes us to have a one-track mind. All our thoughts point toward getting even with the one who we believe has wronged us.
That’s what happened to Haman. He was so enraged that one man wouldn’t bow down to him that he sought to destroy all the Jews. In Esther chapter 5, Haman bragged to his friends about his great wealth and how the king had advanced him above his other officials. But, he said, “All this availeth me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate” (v. 13).
What About You?
Have you ever envied someone so much that you didn’t go to an event because you knew that person would be there? You couldn’t stand to be around them, so you stayed home and missed out on a good time.
Envy and jealousy go hand-in-hand. But joy and jealously are incompatible. If we’re jealous, we don’t have joy. The two emotions can’t abide together.
Envy Will Turn on You
Haman thought it was smart to build a gallows on which Mordecai would be hung. But he was caught in his own evil plan. Esther intervened on behalf of Mordecai and the Jewish people, and Haman and his 10 sons were hanged. What an extraordinarily high price he paid trying to get even.
The Cure for Envy
To keep envy from gaining a stronghold in our lives, we must first recognize that it exists. More Christians are envious than will admit it. But until we pinpoint a problem, we can’t prescribe a proper solution.
Envy often begins when we start complaining to God about fellow believers because they got blessed. But instead of complaining, we need to start claiming God’s promises for ourselves. Some Christians claim His promises one day and complain to Him the next. Scripture tells us not to do that. James 3:10 (NKJV) says, “Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.”
As we stand in faith, let’s purpose not to complain but to keep thanking God until we receive from Him. And if someone else receives from Him before we do, let’s rejoice with them.
Know Your Self-Worth
God doesn’t have favorites. We’re all special to Him, and He’s endowed each of us with gifts. Proverbs 18:16 says our gift will make room for us and bring us before important people. So let’s develop what God has given us and not be concerned about another’s gifts. When we follow after God and develop what He’s given us, we’ll have no reason to envy others.
Kenneth W. Hagin
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