A Temptation to Envy the Prosperous Wicked

6. But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.”
1 Timothy 6:6-7

“See what Asaph recognized: ‘Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart’ (Psalm 73:1). He was acknowledging the goodness of God to whom God has given a clean heart (forgiven of sin). But in the very next breath, he admits something. ‘2. But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. 3. For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked’ (Psalm 73:2–3). Think for a minute. Have you ever been jealous of someone’s “good luck” or the “cool stuff” they can afford to buy? Maybe someone else can afford to do something you have always wanted to do. That is exactly what Asaph caught himself just about to do. He had been looking at the people who did not belong to God, who had not given their hearts and lives to Him, realizing they were busy pleasing themselves and becoming rich in this world. He was jealous. He was about to “buy into” the lie with which Satan tries to fool us. Do you remember what Jesus told us to do? ‘19. Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also’ (Matthew 6:19–21).

“Notice that Asaph recognized God’s goodness to those who were of a “clean heart.” Their hearts were with God, forgiven by God. That is where God wants our hearts and even our minds. Do you remember what happened to Achan when he disobeyed God and stole the garment, the wedge of gold, and the shekels of silver. Israel lost the next battle, and Achan and his family were stoned (Joshua 7:20–26). He chose “things” (riches) over obedience to God and His Word. 

“Asaph saw the prosperity of this world and did not understand (Psalm 73:4–12). He began to think that he had missed. ‘13. Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency. 14. For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning’ (Psalm 73:13–14). He was almost ready to give up his “religion.” He didn’t understand why it seemed he had so many problems and troubles when the wicked didn’t. Notice where it was that Asaph learned what he needed to know about this situation. ‘Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end’ (Psalm 73:17). He found the answers to his questions when he went to “church”, that place dedicated to the things of God. Then he understood “their end.” He recognized his ignorance (“So foolish was I, and ignorant …” Psalm 73:22). He knew God would lead him and give him counsel (Psalm 73:24) and then receive him into glory. It is here that he acknowledges ‘there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee’ (Psalm 73:25b). He had made God his heart’s desire.” (An excerpt from The Biblical Path of Life, Year One Quarter Four, Lesson 4.)

When you were born, you did not bring anything with you (see Ecclesiastes 5:15-16). Jesus told us to lay not up for ourselves treasure here on earth, but in heaven. He also gave us a warning that where our treasure is, that is where our heart will be. We can also be reminded of this in 1 Timothy 6:6-7: “6. But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.” After remembering this, see what we are to do: “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:2).

Are you content with what you have?

Have you made God your heart’s desire?

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