How to defeat the green-eyed monster (Deuteronomy 2)

Jealousy and I go way back.

We first started to hang out whenever I was with a good friend of mine. My friend had the most dramatic birthday parties and a playroom stuffed to the rafters with American Girl dolls and accessories (my favorite!). I couldn’t help wondering why I couldn’t have all those things.

I guess my relationship with jealousy solidified then, because from that day to this she has plagued me. She points everything out to me: people who have more friends than me, who have traveled abroad while I haven’t, who always have something fun to post on Instagram, who have a boyfriend, who are naturally skinny, who have been recognized for their art, who get more of a following on social media than me, who…

It never ends. There’s always someone or something to be jealous of. Always.

Imagine what it’s like to be the one everyone else is jealous of. That was the Israelites, at least right now. In Deuteronomy 2, Moses continues his long sermon by talking about the lands the Israelites passed through on their wilderness wandering before finally arriving to the land of King Sihon the Amorite.

In case you don’t recall, the Israelites demolished Sihon and his nation. It was a victory so huge it would be referenced for years to come.

Feeling jealous yet?

Monster Spray

What if you didn’t have to be? Jealous, I mean? Of anyone?

I think Deuteronomy 2 holds the key to that.

In the first part of the chapter the Israelites aren’t fighting kings or destroying cities, they’re just traveling. God specifically commanded that the Israelites were to travel through the land of their relatives the Edomites peacefully. He told them not to provoke war and to pay the Edomites for their passage.

Then the Israelites passed through Moab at a city called Ar. Again, God warned them not to provoke anyone or start a war.

And then they came to King Sihon’s land.

But what was the difference? Why did they destroy one land and not the others? Thankfully, God explicitly explains why.

He said “I have given Esau [father of the Edomites] the hill country of Seir as his own” (verse 5). And “I have given Ar to the descendants of Lot as a possession” (verse 9).

Wait a minute. God was out here blessing other peoples? Giving things to other nations? I thought this was the Israelite show.

But when we think about who God is, it makes sense. He created all people. He loves every last person who has ever made an appearance on this planet. It’s His joy to bless and be intimate with all of them.

And that’s how we overcome jealousy. If God has blessed this girl with friends and a great job and a close connection with her family, then He can bless you too. If God has blessed this guy with a girlfriend he loves and the ability to travel and a new car, then He can bless you too.

If God is with them, then He sure enough is with me, too.

The way God blesses each person is different, fine-tailored to where they are in their relationship with Him and where He wants to take them in their life. But the way God loves is never different.

When you see Him smiling on someone else, remember He has a special smile just for you. And have faith.

“My power is available for everyone that breathes.”

But why do we forget this? I mean, God is God. He’s in absolute control. Nothing happens without Him knowing and seeing. He loves everyone unconditionally.

I think jealousy stems from pride. At least for me it does.

I see someone else’s blessings and I give the credit to the person. I think “She must have worked hard. She must be so great. She is really doing it all.”

And while she may be great and a hard worker, she doesn’t deserve the credit. The credit goes to God. Completely. Fully. Because every good gift comes from Him. Because He is the support and strength behind everything in our lives.

When we lose sight of this, we’re thinking that we’re the ones who deserve the praise and glory for what’s happening in our own lives. We’re patting ourselves on the back, ignoring the Creator without whose strength we couldn’t even stand on our own two feet!

And that’s dangerous. King Sihon fell because he thought there was no one to answer to beside himself. That seductive thought is at the root of all sin: “I’m the one in charge. I’m the one doing all of this. I don’t have to listen to anyone else.”

This means that if we want to overcome jealousy, we also have to surrender and submit to Jesus. He’s in control of our lives. He gets to call the shots. He’s the one who paints the picture of our lives, and He’s the one who makes it amazing.

And that’s beautiful. Israel triumphed (when they did) because they answered to God.

And that truth is at the root of all happiness.

 

What do you think? Will this help you overcome jealousy? Share this with someone!

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