“Do not be envious of evil men, nor desire to be with them.” (Proverbs 24:1 NKJV).
When Asaph focused his mind on the seeming prosperity of the evil men in his generation, he became envious of them and he almost stumbled and slipped from the narrow path of life into the broad way that leads to destruction.
Asaph admitted he was envious of the prosperity of the wicked.
2 But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled; My steps had nearly slipped.
3 For I was envious of the boastful, When I saw the prosperity of the wicked. (NKJV).
In this evil and corrupt world, like Asaph, you also may observe with disgust and displeasure how that many ungodly or evil men “are not in trouble as other men, nor are they plagued like other men. Therefore pride serves as their necklace; Violence covers them like a garment. Their eyes bulge with abundance; they have more than heart could wish. They scoff and speak wickedly concerning oppression; they speak loftily. They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walks through the earth.” (Psa. 73:5-9 NKJV).
Like Asaph the Psalmist, if you focus or set your mind on the seeming and passing prosperity of the ungodly, you may slip from the path of righteousness into the path of sinners, and you may be envious of the ungodly men who seem to be prospering in spite of their ungodliness.
And like Asaph, you also may say in your heart, “Surely I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocence.” (Psa. 73:13 NKJV).
But, when Asaph came into the presence of God, he understood clearly the end of the wicked and then saw the foolishness of envying the passing or transitory prosperity of the wicked.
Asaph was troubled by the seeming prosperity of the evil men until he understood their end.
16 When I thought how to understand this, It was too painful for me-
17 Until I went into the sanctuary of God; Then I understood their end.
18 Surely You set them in slippery places; You cast them down to destruction.
19 Oh, how they are brought to desolation, as in a moment! They are utterly consumed with terrors. (NKJV).
Like Asaph, until you understand the end of the ungodly men, you will always be troubled by their sudden rise to fame, greatness, achievements, possessions, success or prosperity.
Many believers today are envious of the ungodly “super stars” or “celebrities” in the world today because they are ignorant of what the Scripture says about the end of the ungodly people.
The Scripture teaches that it is possible for the wicked to triumph, succeed, or prosper in this evil world in spite of his wickedness or ungodliness. However, the Scripture warns that the triumphing, exulting or singing of the wicked or ungodly people is transitory or short-lived.
4 “Do you not know this of old, Since man was placed on earth,
5 That the triumphing of the wicked is short, And the joy of the hypocrite is but for a moment?
6 Though his haughtiness mounts up to the heavens, And his head reaches to the clouds,
7 Yet he will perish forever like his own refuse; Those who have seen him will say, ‘Where is he?’
8 He will fly away like a dream, and not be found; Yes, he will be chased away like a vision of the night.
9 The eye that saw him will see him no more, Nor will his place behold him anymore.
10 His children will seek the favor of the poor, And his hands will restore his wealth. (NKJV).
While the ungodly men may escape or circumvent justice in this corrupt world, and this may be very painful and difficult to understand, however, they cannot escape God’s justice or punishment at the end of their ungodly life.
The Scripture clearly states this truth.
“Though they join forces, the wicked will not go unpunished; but the posterity of the righteous will be delivered.” (Prov. 11:21 NKJV).
“For the wicked are reserved for the day of doom; they shall be brought out on the day of wrath.” (Job 21:30 NKJV).
“Evil pursues sinners, but to the righteous, good shall be repaid.” (Prov. 13:21 NKJV).
Therefore, it is foolishness for any believer to be envious of the transitory or temporary triumphing and rejoicing of the ungodly men, who shun the gift of eternal life that God graciously offers them in and through Christ Jesus.
Solomon admonishes us not to be enticed by sinners.
10 My son, if sinners entice you, Do not consent.
11 If they say, “Come with us, Let us lie in wait to shed blood; Let us lurk secretly for the innocent without cause;
12 Let us swallow them alive like Sheol, And whole, like those who go down to the Pit;
13 We shall find all kinds of precious possessions, We shall fill our houses with spoil;
14 Cast in your lot among us, Let us all have one purse” –
15 My son, do not walk in the way with them, Keep your foot from their path. (NKJV).
Likewise, the Scripture assures us that the righteous (those who are made righteous by their faith in Jesus Christ) will not miss their rewards here in this life and in heaven.
God will never forget the righteous or suffer his children to beg for food (Psa. 37:25). The afflictions of the righteous may be many, but God will deliver him out of them all (Psa. 34:19). God’s blessings are on the head of the righteous (Prov. 10:6)
“The LORD will not allow the righteous soul to famish, but He casts away the desire of the wicked.” (Prov. 10:3 NKJV).
“The fear of the wicked will come upon him, and the desire of the righteous will be granted. When the whirlwind passes by, the wicked is no more, but the righteous has an everlasting foundation.” (Prov. 10:24-25 NKJV).
“No grave trouble will overtake the righteous, but the wicked shall be filled with evil.” (Prov. 12:21 NKJV).
Friend, are you presently living in sin, walking in disobedience to God’s Word, and dealing wickedly with people?
How would you escape the imminent evil that the Scripture warns will overtake the ungodly if you neglect the free gift of salvation God offers you through Christ Jesus?
Why not receive by faith today the gift of salvation that Jesus Christ purchased for you with His precious blood?
The Scripture says, “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Cor. 6:2 NKJV).
Don’t postpone the day of your salvation; you are not safe and secure in your sins!
Beloved, don’t be moved or troubled by the seeming and passing prosperity of the ungodly men. But continue to love, serve, trust, obey, and worship the Lord in spirit and in truth. God will never forget to reward all your sacrifices and labours of love for His name sake (Heb. 6:10-12).
1 Do not fret because of evildoers, Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.
2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, And wither as the green herb.
3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
4 Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.
6 He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, And your justice as the noonday. (NKJV).
Don’t become discouraged or sluggish in practicing righteousness and serving God because of the fleeting prosperity of the ungodly men. The prosperity and joy of the ungodly men are but for a moment, but yours are eternal (Gal. 6:7-10).
Therefore, “Do not be envious of evil men, nor desire to be with them.” (Prov. 24:1 NKJV).
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, establish my feet on the high way of holiness so that my feet will not stumble and slip from the path of life to the path of the ungodly whose prosperity and joy are transitory, in Jesus’ name. Amen.