1 Samuel 1:3-7 (The Message)
Every year this man went from his hometown up to Shiloh to worship and offer a sacrifice to God-of-the-Angel-Armies. Eli and his two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, served as the priests of God there. When Elkanah sacrificed, he passed helpings from the sacrificial meal around to his wife Peninnah and all her children, but he always gave an especially generous helping to Hannah because he loved her so much, and because God had not given her children. But her rival wife taunted her cruelly, rubbing it in and never letting her forget that God had not given her children. This went on year after year. Every time she went to the sanctuary of God she could expect to be taunted. Hannah was reduced to tears and had no appetite.
It must have been very difficult to live in Elkanah’s household. His wife Peninnah is envious of the love Elkanah has for his other wife, Hannah. And Hannah is envious of the children Peninnah has been able to have, while she is infertile. The core of this sad family is not love, but envy.
Envy. There’s a good reason it’s considered one of the “7 Deadly Sins.” We’re warned against envy in scriptures such as Proverbs 14:30: “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” Envy eats away at our peace. It can make us soul-sick: green with envy.
At some point during our lives, it’s likely that we’ll look at something someone else has — an object, talent, relationship, opportunity — and wish that it could have been ours instead.
The emotion popping up is almost inevitable… but our reaction to it is not.
When envy rears its ugly head, take your pain directly to God: “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken” (Psalm 55:22).
When we give it over to God’s control, God will begin the work to transform the envy into something infinitely healthier and more desirable…
Have you ever been so envious of something someone else had that you acted in a way that was not exactly God-honoring?