20 October 2021

Proverbs 24:1-2

Do not envy the wicked,
    do not desire their company;
for their hearts plot violence,
    and their lips talk about making trouble.

Sometimes we are envious of the wicked. They seem to prosper. They seem to be happy and contented. They have traits that seem admirable – daring, decisive, even generous at times. Some even rise to the status of heroes and legends.

But don’t forget what they are about – trouble, violence. They are wrong-doers. It is easy to be daring and decisive without a conscience. It is easy to be generous as an oppressor and possessing riches that one can maintain through stealing from others. It is easy to be kind to some people while ruthless with others.

And remember what it is to become the friend of evil men. You move yourself into the position of owing the duties of friendship as they define it. You are expected to do them favors – from hiding them from the law or helping them to break the law. They scheme trouble – not trouble to get into, but trouble to cause for others, and they have no troubled conscience about you getting caught in those troubles.

Do not envy the wicked, but rather delight in the path of righteousness and in the Righteous One who acts only for your good.


Psalm 88

Lord, you are the God who saves me;
    day and night I cry out to you.
May my prayer come before you;
    turn your ear to my cry.

I am overwhelmed with troubles
    and my life draws near to death.
I am counted among those who go down to the pit;
    I am like one without strength.
I am set apart with the dead,
    like the slain who lie in the grave,
whom you remember no more,
    who are cut off from your care.

You have put me in the lowest pit,
    in the darkest depths.
Your wrath lies heavily on me;
    you have overwhelmed me with all your waves.[d]
You have taken from me my closest friends
    and have made me repulsive to them.
I am confined and cannot escape;
    my eyes are dim with grief.

I call to you, Lord, every day;
    I spread out my hands to you.
10 Do you show your wonders to the dead?
    Do their spirits rise up and praise you?
11 Is your love declared in the grave,
    your faithfulness in Destruction[e]?
12 Are your wonders known in the place of darkness,
    or your righteous deeds in the land of oblivion?

13 But I cry to you for help, Lord;
    in the morning my prayer comes before you.
14 Why, Lord, do you reject me
    and hide your face from me?

15 From my youth I have suffered and been close to death;
    I have borne your terrors and am in despair.
16 Your wrath has swept over me;
    your terrors have destroyed me.
17 All day long they surround me like a flood;
    they have completely engulfed me.
18 You have taken from me friend and neighbor—
    darkness is my closest friend.