31. Don’t envy violent people or copy their ways.
32. Such wicked people are detestable to the LORD, but he offers his friendship to the godly.
Proverbs 3:31–32 NLT
Today’s Passage takes us back to the final Lessons contained within this Chapter and covers a subject that seems to be becoming commonplace in today’s society. As we near the end of the Chapter, the Lessons contained in Proverbs 3 are getting more and more poignant.
This time, the author is talking about what kind of individuals we should never pattern ourselves after. In former Verses, he wrote about how we should act if we want to exercise Wisdom, and now he’s offering us insights on things we should avoid emulating.
The version I’ve chosen makes the point clear. If we are to be wise, we should avoid envying those who are violent. That all seems simple enough. I mean, who looks at murderers and says, “Hey! I wanna be like that guy?”
However, as we look at Verse 31 in the King James Version, we see a little more nuance regarding this admonition. It says, “Envy thou not the oppressor, and choose none of his ways.”
Now, seeing the acts of a wife-beater or a killer and choosing to emulate them seems ludicrous, but how often do we see a billionaire, knowing they have gained much of their wealth by unscrupulous means and admire or even envy their situations?
How often have we seen people who lead companies or have something we would love to have for ourselves and covet their stations? Have you ever found yourself watching the success of a wicked individual and wished you had what they did?
That is the author’s Lesson, and it does not only apply to those in ordinary positions. We’ve recently seen that even those at the highest levels of power can fall to the scourge of envy.
When an influential leader sees a violent man gain even more power by bending, breaking, or changing the rules to benefit and increase their power structure, and that individual wishes they were just like them, we see this Lesson in Action.
Even those that we think are at the apex of power can fall victim to envy. Greed begets more greed, and there is seemingly no end to its corruptive effect. But if we keep it inside and never act on it, what harm cant it really be? Right?
The author answeres that question in the next Verse. “For the froward is abomination to the LORD: but his secret is with the righteous.” A froward person is someone who is difficult to deal with, contrary, or purposefully evil.
God Hates that kind of person. His Grace and Blessing lie with the Righteous. Therefore, we chose wickedness over goodness when we try to emulate an evil individual and their success. The author makes it abundantly clear how God views that kind of decision.
So, we begin to see why King Solomon, the author of this Book, arguably the richest, wisest, and most respected king in human history, at the end of his life, called everything he had gained throughout his life vanity.
God had given him everything a person could’ve wanted, including wealth, power, and even famously Wisdom. But in the end, he saw that it was all but worthless. That is exactly why those who are truly Wise say, “Only what you do for Christ shall last.”
They understand the Lesson Solomon wrote so many years ago in this Passage. It doesn’t matter how much power, wealth, or influence you have if it only gains you the Wrath of God. What use is all that to you in Hell?
Doing good to those in need, blessing those who have less than you, taking care of those who can’t care for themselves, those are the things that garner God’s esteem. He doesn’t care how much money you have or who you have power over. God wants to see how you emulate His Love, not how you pattern yourself after evil men.
This is a Lesson we should pay close attention to, especially given how social media and popular culture paints wealth and influence today. The enemy utilizes weapons of mass distraction to try and get us to follow froward men instead of modeling Jesus Christ and His Love.
Consider that the next time you see someone you think is doing well and are tempted to envy their position. You may be walking straight into a trap. Emulating Christ is the only way to truly please Him. To be like Jesus will gain you Real Power, the Power of His Love!
Have a Terrific Tuesday and Remember; Always Ask Yourself, “What Would Jesus Do?” It May Save Your Soul!