What is jealousy? William Shakespeare, in Othello, said jealousy is, "the green-eyed monster which doth mock." In many ways, he is right.
Jealousy is a monster. Monsters scare us, monsters destroy things - tear things down, monsters seem to be larger than they really are and monsters have no place in
reality. Shakespeare also said, "And oft, my jealousy shapes faults that are not." When we are jealous of others, we begin to find fault with them and many times there
is no fault. Jealousy has ruined many relationships. Let's look at an example of this in the scripture below.
Genesis 37:3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made a richly ornamented robe for him. 4 When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.
5 Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. 6 He said to them, "Listen to this dream I had: 7 We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it." 8 His brothers said to him, "Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?" And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said. 9 Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. "Listen," he said, "I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me." 10 When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, "What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?" 11 His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind.
12 Now his brothers had gone to graze their father's flocks near Shechem, 13 and Israel said to Joseph, "As you know, your brothers are grazing the flocks near Shechem. Come, I am going to send you to them." "Very well," he replied. 14 So he said to him, "Go and see if all is well with your brothers and with the flocks, and bring word back to me.
23 So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe--the richly ornamented robe he was wearing-- 24 and they took him and threw him into the cistern. Now the cistern was empty; there was no water in it.
28 So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt.
In the scripture above, we read about Joseph, his ten older brothers and his father, Jacob. Joseph was his father's favorite
son; his father treated him differently, gave him gifts and showed him favoritism. His other brothers were jealous of him.
One day, his father sent him out to see how they were and to bring him back word of their well-being. As Joseph approached
his brothers, they began to talk about him, they called him a dreamer and plotted to kill him. Reuben tried to save him but
while he was away, the other nine brothers pulled Joseph out of the pit where they held him and sold him to some Ishmaelites who
were headed down to Egypt. When Reuben came back and found him gone he was so distraught he tore his clothes. He was concerned
for his father - he didn't know what he would tell him about his young son's disappearance. They decided to kill a goat and
dip Joseph's coat in it. They took the coat back to their father and told him they found it and Joseph must be dead.
Jealousy causes us to do things we would not normally do. These men were not thinking rationally when they sold their brother.
Later on, when they meet up with their brother again in Egypt, scripture tells us they were very sorry for what they had done.
Jealousy will cause us to do things we will regret later on. Jealousy is destructive but not only can it destroy others, it
can destroy the person who is jealous!
Numbers 16:1 Korah son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and certain Reubenites--Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth--became insolent 2 and rose up against Moses. With them were 250 Israelite men, well-known community leaders who had been appointed members of the council. 3 They came as a group to oppose Moses and Aaron and said to them, "You have gone too far! The whole community is holy, every one of them, and the Lord is with them. Why then do you set yourselves above the Lord's assembly?" 4 When Moses heard this, he fell facedown. 5 Then he said to Korah and all his followers: "In the morning the Lord will show who belongs to him and who is holy, and he will have that person come near him. The man he chooses he will cause to come near him. 6 You, Korah, and all your followers are to do this: Take censers 7 and tomorrow put fire and incense in them before the Lord. The man the Lord chooses will be the one who is holy. You Levites have gone too far!"
16 Moses said to Korah, "You and all your followers are to appear before the Lord tomorrow--you and they and Aaron. 17 Each man is to take his censer and put incense in it--250 censers in all--and present it before the Lord. You and Aaron are to present your censers also." 18 So each man took his censer, put fire and incense in it, and stood with Moses and Aaron at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. 19 When Korah had gathered all his followers in opposition to them at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting, the glory of the Lord appeared to the entire assembly. 20 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 21 "Separate yourselves from this assembly so I can put an end to them at once." 22 But Moses and Aaron fell facedown and cried out, "O God, God of the spirits of all mankind, will you be angry with the entire assembly when only one man sins?"
23 Then the Lord said to Moses, 24 "Say to the assembly, 'Move away from the tents of Korah, Dathan and Abiram.'" 25 Moses got up and went to Dathan and Abiram, and the elders of Israel followed him. 26 He warned the assembly, "Move back from the tents of these wicked men! Do not touch anything belonging to them, or you will be swept away because of all their sins." 27 So they moved away from the tents of Korah, Dathan and Abiram. Dathan and Abiram had come out and were standing with their wives, children and little ones at the entrances to their tents. 28 Then Moses said, "This is how you will know that the Lord has sent me to do all these things and that it was not my idea: 29 If these men die a natural death and experience only what usually happens to men, then the Lord has not sent me. 30 But if the Lord brings about something totally new, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them, with everything that belongs to them, and they go down alive into the grave, then you will know that these men have treated the Lord with contempt." 31 As soon as he finished saying all this, the ground under them split apart 32 and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them, with their households and all Korah's men and all their possessions. 33 They went down alive into the grave, with everything they owned; the earth closed over them, and they perished and were gone from the community. 34 At their cries, all the Israelites around them fled, shouting, "The earth is going to swallow us too!"
35 And fire came out from the Lord and consumed the 250 men who were offering the incense.
Romans 12:10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
In the scripture above, Korah was jealous of Moses and Aaron. There were other community leaders and council members who were
with them and who challenged Moses and Aaron on 'who was holy' in the assembly. Does this sound familiar to you? Isn't this
like a lot of our churches today? Why was Brother Jones nominated for Elder when Brother Wilson has been a member longer, or
why was sister Baker put in charge of the committee instead of me? I'm more qualified. Romans 12:10 says we are to prefer
the other person over ourselves. In other words, put the other person first with brotherly (or sisterly) love. I'm afraid,
where there is jealousy, that is not an option. Jealousy doesn't allow the afflicted person to see clearly. When jealous,
a person is seeing a fuzzy picture, at best, and not likely to be thinking rationally. So, how do we overcome this green
1 Corinthinas 13:1 "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."
Matthew 22:37 "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
The greatest thing we can do is to love God but the second most important thing is to love our neighbor. We are to love others
as much as we love ourselves. I have heard hundreds of sermons in my lifetime on the love of God but not so many on loving
others as we love ourselves. I think the second most important commandment has not been given enough attention. If, for example,
everyone in the world were to obey this commandment, there would be no more war, there would be no more hunger, there would
be no more divorce, there would be no more child abuse ... and the list goes on. And certainly, there would never be any
room in the world for jealousy because everyone would be putting others before themselves.
If you find yourself becoming jealous of someone, you should ask yourself, "why"? Why are you jealous of that person. Do
they have something you are envious of, a possession, a lifestyle, a relationship? Would it be possible for you to work and
attain the same thing or something similar as they have? If so, be happy for them and make attainment your goal instead
of being jealous. If not, get over it and move on. Just because someone has something you cannot have does not mean that your
life is meaningless. I have had several goals in life I have had to give up for one reason or another. I now see others in
a position I once prized. I am not jealous of these people. I have made my life and I am living it. There are probably
people who look at me and wish they were living as I am ... such is life. Make your life the best it can be and wish others
well as you do. If you do these things, love others, put them before yourself, wish them well and live your own life, you
will be happier than if always feeling like the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. Believe me when I say, where
that green grass grows is usually right smack over a septic tank!
The Pearly White City
Hebrews 11:10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and
maker is God.
Words & Music: Arthur F. Ingler, 1902.
There’s a holy and beautiful city
Whose Builder and Ruler is God;
John saw it descending from Heaven,
When Patmos, in exile, he trod;
Its high, massive wall is of jasper,
The city itself is pure gold;
And when my frail tent here is folded,
Mine eyes shall its glory behold.
In that bright city, pearly white city,
I have a mansion, a harp, and a crown;
Now I am watching, waiting, and longing,
For the white city that’s soon coming down.
No sin is allowed in that city
And nothing defiling or mean;
No pain and no sickness can enter,
No crepe on the doorknob is seen;
Earth’s sorrows and cares are forgotten,
No tempter is there to annoy;
No parting words ever are spoken,
There’s nothing to hurt or destroy.
No heartaches are known in that city,
No tears ever moisten the eyes;
There’s no disappointment in Heaven, No envy and strife in the sky;
The saints are all sanctified wholly,
They live in sweet harmony there;
My heart is now set on that city,
And some day its blessings I’ll share.
My loved ones are gathering yonder,
My friends too are passing away,
And soon I shall join their bright number,
And dwell in eternity’s day;
They’re safe now in glory with Jesus,
Their trials and battles are past.
They overcame sin and the tempter,
They’ve reached that fair city at last.
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