feast: Are You Envious or Content?
Given 06-Oct-20; Sermon #FT20-04A; 40 minutes
There is a distinction between envy, which is always evil, and jealousy, which in some contexts is godly, especially in cases when God commands His people to have no other gods before Him. Envy is a work of the flesh, involving coveting what someone else has. Being content with what one has serves as an antidote to envy. A significant example of envy occurs in the relationship between the two wives of Elkanah—Hannah, whom Elkanah loved but who could not bear children, and Peninnah, who could bear children but lacked the affection Elkanah gave to Hannah (I Samuel 1 and 2). Because of this perceived slight, Peninnah tormented Hannah for years, apparently not content with her own children. Hannah, grief-stricken at Peninnah's taunts, begged God to open her womb, promising the firstborn son to God's service. As God blessed Hannah with more children, Penninah, because of the envy she expressed toward Hannah, possibly lost children, motivating her to ask Hannah's forgiveness to save the lives of the last of her children. Hanna's example teaches God's people to be content with what they have, realizing that God answers prayers on His Own terms and on His Own timetable.