1-5 No doubt about it! God is good— good to good people, good to the good-hearted. But I nearly missed it, missed seeing his goodness. I was looking the other way, looking up to the people at the top, envying the wicked who have it made, who have nothing to worry about, not a care in the whole wide world.
Have you ever found yourself in the place of envying those at the top? We have a tendency to "elevate" some to levels of prominence in our society. If they are educated and well-spoken, we find ourselves wondering why we cannot say things so eloquently. If they are financially successful, we wonder how they got all the breaks. If they are in a tremendous relationship with another individual, we find ourselves bemoaning that we are not. Guess what? Envy is more common than we might think!
David is being pretty honest with us here in this passage. He reminds us that God is good and good to the good-hearted. But...David nearly missed that fact because he was so busy comparing himself with those that "seemed" to be doing so well according to the standards of the day. We can do exactly the same thing whenever we get so caught up in comparing where we are financially, what struggles we have with sin in our lives compared to that of another, etc. It is a dangerous place to be!
Envy should be understood as a four-letter word! We see the advantages of another, their success and their possessions, and them compare that to what we have. The end result is that we find ourselves "complaining" about what we DON'T have instead of blessing God for what we DO have! The problem with envy is that it often leads to bitterness. That is why we are warned so frequently in scripture to avoid comparison! It carries the ability to place us in bondage to bitterness!
There are degrees to our envy, according to some. Some think that a little jealousy over someone else getting the advantage that we see that we should have had in a situation is not really all that bad. Others think that envy is really when we get all worked up about the other getting that advantage. Guess what? Both are envy and both are going to cause us to miss out on what God has for US!!!
When we are so caught up in what another accomplishes, or the advantages they enjoy, we miss out on what God has immediately in front of us! The emotional investment we make in "begrudging" another of their success is really not worth it! It robs us of the energy it takes to embrace what God has "gifted" into our lives. God has spiritual growth in store for each of us - when we compare our growth with that of another, we sometimes get envious of what another seems to be able to accomplish!
The truth is that growth occurs incrementally - it just may be more "evident" at certain stages of our lives. Think about it from the physical perspective. We don't "see" our hormones kicking in during puberty, but after many months, along come the "signs" of puberty! Voices change, bodily features begin to develop, giving us "signs" of growth. Yet, all along, that growth was taking place! When we are only looking at the external signs, we can be fooled that nothing is taking place right below the surface!
I guess that is why our psalmist wanted to confess that he almost missed it! He got his eyes off of what God was doing, forgetting that what God is doing is not always evident right off the bat! His movement in our lives is sometimes quite "stealth". He is at work, but we just don't see it! So, we drift into comparison, bemoaning that another seems to have the advantages that we so desperately long for. I learned a long time ago that the growth another realizes is often "hidden" deep within! It is unwise to consider myself as "not growing"!
God's at work, my friends! Don't miss what he is doing! It may be rather "masked" right now, but be confident and keep your eyes on him - not others! He will reveal his work in its season! Just remain faithful to him!