“My feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped. For I was envious of the arrogant…” (Psalm 73:2).
Envy will make you steal the Good, which is evil.
Envy will make you take the Life, which is death.
Envy was the temptation spoken by the snake in the garden.
To hope for the Good and the Life is Salvation.
To envy the Good and the Life is Hell.
Envy assumes that the Good and the Life are limited commodities that one can possess.
Envy is arrogance: literally, “praising one’s self”.
Envy is taking credit.
Psalm 73:3, 16-17 “I was envious of the arrogant” and “understanding this… seemed to me a wearisome task until I went into the sanctuary of God.”
Entering the Sanctuary was entering the story.
People didn’t enter to take knowledge of the Good and make judgments.
People entered to be judged, and the judgment made them good.
The Psalmist didn’t enter to learn that envy wasn’t good.
The Psalmist entered and woke from a nightmare—an evil delusion called envy.
And when he left, envy just seemed “stupid.”
“Like a dream when one awakes, O Lord, when you rouse yourself, you despise their phantoms… I was stupid and nothing. I was like a beast.” (Psalm 73:20,22)
1. When you envy the arrogant, you envy evil, which is nothing.
2. When you envy the Good, you envy God, for “God alone is good.”
3. When you envy God, you envy the opposite of envy, for God is Love.
Envy is the desire to take the Good and take the Life.
Love is the desire to give your life to another and that’s the Good.
When you entered the temple, you entered the Story.
When you arrived at the inner sanctuary you encountered the End who is the Plot, and who gives meaning to every event in every story that’s any story.
In the Psalmist’s day, few but the high priest could see, but now we know: behind the curtain, between the cherubim, and on top of the throne was the Good in flesh and the Life enthroned on a tree in the middle of the garden: Jesus Christ and him crucified, the lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
When you envy, you envy him hanging on that tree.
Who would envy that?
Everyone. This is Love.
“In this is Love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his son—Jesus from the bosom of the father—as an atoning sacrifice for our sin” (1 John 4:10).
Envy is taking the Good and the Life from the Tree.
Love is giving the Good, and that is Life—the heart of God offered to us on a tree.
“Did God want us to eat from the tree?”
That’s the very same question as:
“Did God want us to crucify the Christ?” (There is a law against such things.)
“Did God want to make us in the image and likeness of Love?”
“Did God want us to know the Good and inherit eternal Life?
Perhaps we cannot comprehend the answer, but the answer will comprehend us and make us in his own image.
We took the life of the Good on a tree in a garden and everything died.
And God gave His Life on a tree in a garden and everything lives, and that is the Good:
All things new and humanity in the image and likeness of God.
Envy took the Life of the Good on a tree in a garden.
But the night before, the Good in flesh fore-gave his Life at dinner.
4. We envy God, and God has already given himself to us.
The Life is in the Blood. And the temple was all about blood.
Blood cleanses our bodies of waste and disease, and constantly delivers the good.
We think God is into bloodshed, but God is into blood shared.
When we envy, we take the Life of the Good and we hold it in our souls.
But when we worship in hope, we return the Life as praise and gifts of sacrificial Love.
In the Sanctuary is the Heart of God. The temple is his Body.
We are that Body, and everyone that’s anyone will be that Body.
5. Envy is stupid, for we are all members of one body.
One member of my body doesn’t envy the next member of my body.
But every member of my body hopes in all the other members of my body.
Envy seeks to make every member just the same, in fear of every difference.
Faith, Hope, and Love unite every difference in one body and that’s what makes every member happy.
Love is not a commodity. Love is a limitless and eternal communion; Love is God.
You have nothing to envy but God, and He’s already given himself to you.
Don’t envy Him. Hope in him.
Believe the Gospel. And envy will just seem stupid.