Proverbs 23:15-18

15 My son, if your heart is wise,

   then my heart will be glad indeed;

16 my inmost being will rejoice

   when your lips speak what is right.

17 Do not let your heart envy sinners,

   but always be zealous for the fear of the Lord.

18 There is surely a future hope for you,

   and your hope will not be cut off.

It is not only for the good of the child that the father instructs him in the way of wisdom, it is also for their mutual joy. It is no different with our heavenly father. His commands and warnings, questions and promises have this in common: they are for our joy as well as his own. There are many benefits of wisdom, not least of which is happiness. In conduct and in speech there are of course consequences to be avoided, but let us not lose sight of the joy set before us.

“Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the Lord. There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.” Comparison is a major obstacle to contentment, yet how easy it is to fall into its trap! No matter how enviable a person may be, no one is exempt from sin (Psalm 130:3). Don’t waste your time comparing yourself to others, focus instead on your own path.  Put your hope in the Lord’s kingdom, into which you have been invited, because your own kingdom is too small a thing to live for.

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