Job 5:2 Resentment kills a fool, and envy slays the simple.
Job’s friends’ pronouncements are largely collections of platitudes and truisms, but they do contain some nuggets worthy of meditation. Verse seven of this chapter – “Man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward” – is very well known, and this verse too seems worthy of being in Proverbs rather than Job. The negative effects of resentment and envy are undeniable. It is very true that personal success and happiness don’t depend so much on what happens to you as they do on how you respond to what you experience. Everyone goes through rough times, just as verse seven says, but some people come out “smelling like a rose” and some people are devastated. The deciding factor is ultimately faith: faith that God is, and loves you, and that your life has meaning and purpose. Such faith is a greater treasure than anything this world can offer. As John said, “This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” (1 John 5:4) Faith in a heavenly Father who loves us so much He sent His Son to die in our place so that we might have eternal life (John 3:16) is the ultimate defense against all the junk the world and the devil throw at us. That’s why Jesus could tell us, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) The more we are fixated on this world, the more we feel “It’s all about me,” the more miserable we are. The more we realize we are a very small dot in the universe, but at the same time, a dearly loved dot, worth the life of the Son of God, the happier and more at peace we will be,
I have had people be amazed at how much I enjoy life, and also at how easily I can forgive people, but I can’t say I do either of those things perfectly. I too am still learning! I have the huge advantage of having been raised in a home where I had complete assurance of both the love of my parents and the love of God, but I still stumble on resentment at times, and occasionally even envy (though that is rare). I have been essentially unfazed by health issues I have had, but I certainly don’t rejoice at those my wife experiences. I do have trouble, just as Jesus and this chapter have said, but God has told me personally to rest, relax, and rejoice. As long as I am obedient to Him, life is good indeed! As a pastor, I am constantly dealing with other people’s problems of one sort and another. I seek to lift their eyes off of themselves and their circumstances and fix them on the God who loves them so much. When they can do that, the battle is won, even if nothing seems to have changed around them.
Father, thank You for the magnificence of Your love and grace. I have no words to express them fully, nor to thank You sufficiently. Help me live in full obedience to You as an open channel of Your love and grace, so that those who see me may be drawn to You, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!