It seems like sinners get more out of life, doesn’t it? They have more advantages, don’t they? They have more fun, enjoy pleasures without worry, live for the moment, isn’t that right?
We’re not the first to think this way:
Do not let your heart envy sinners,
but rather be zealous in fearing the LORD all the time.
For surely there is a future,
and your hope will not be cut off.
Proverbs 23.17-18 NET
One commentator thought that this answer of the Wise Man was “overly simple” IOVC. But when you reduce it down to the essence—and that’s what a proverb does—that’s the issue: right now, we need to fear God; in the future, there will be a proper settling of accounts.
Fear, because it nourishes hope, which serves as the “anchor of the soul” Hebrews 6.19. Fear indicates that we occupy ourselves totally and constantly (“all the time”) with our relationship with God, and not with temporary pleasures and advantages.
The proverb presents a contrast. Instead of sinners, “this proverb itself declares the fear of God to be of all things the most worthy of being coveted” KD.
Our bright future will come. The reward will be worth it. Self-discipline will resist the temptations. God’s promise is sure. Bet on it.
From lesser desires free my heart, my God, so that you may occupy all the space of my being.
Hold this thought: To avoid envy of sinners, look up and look ahead.