“Let not your heart envy sinners,
but continue in the fear of the LORD all the day.
Surely there is a future,
and your hope will not be cut off.”
Confession: shortly before reading these verses, I was praying about some envious feelings in my heart. Difficulty grasping circumstances that I continue not to understand. I prayed that God would help me here, and my focus began to shift from the world back to my Lord.
Then I turned to Proverbs 23. And as in countless other instances, God gave me exactly what I needed to hear in that moment to solidify what He had begun to show me during my prayer.
This is a gentle reminder of where we should look. Not to those around us. Not to the thing we wish for but just don’t have. Only to Christ. “Continue in the fear of the LORD all the day.” All day, every day, focused on Him. Determining to live a life pleasing to our God—a life marked by faith and love. Regardless of what our eyes see, setting our gaze on the brilliant light of His glory which is shining in our life and reminding our heart of truth. The truth that our God is good, faithful, and almighty. The truth that He withholds no good thing. He is not holding out on me, and He is not holding out on you.
I love that the statement in verse 17 leads us into the assurance, “Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.” A declaration echoed throughout Scripture. Confident that hope in our God is not empty or false. He will come through, and it will be wondrous. We can’t see what He’s doing, we don’t know His plans for us, but we do know Him. We know His faithfulness. We know His grace. We know His love. We know His unchanging-ness. We know His power. We know His sovereignty. We know His promises. And so we hold fast.
“Truly God is good to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart.”
“This God—his way is perfect;
the word of the LORD proves true;
he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.”
“The Rock, his work is perfect,
for all his ways are justice.
A God of faithfulness and without iniquity,
just and upright is he.”
“I will restore to you the years
that the swarming locust has eaten,
the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter,
my great army, which I sent among you.
You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,
and praise the name of the LORD your God,
who has dealt wondrously with you.
And my people shall never again be put to shame.”
“Those who wait for me shall not be put to shame.”
“But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
let them ever sing for joy,
and spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may exult in you.
For you bless the righteous, O LORD;
you cover him with favor as with a shield.”
I take refuge in You, Lord. Refuge in Your salvation, in Your promises, in Your faithfulness. I wait for You, and hope in Your perfect Word—Your Word which stands, day in and day out, in all of our circumstances and for all eternity. As my heart is tempted to look around me, as my mind starts to fixate on that which dishonors You, remind me of Your truth and strengthen me to turn back to the One who will never let me down. You are faithful and You are writing a story with my life that overflows with Your grace and powerful love. Thank You for Your abundant goodness towards me. Thank You for caring enough in this moment to remind me of who You are, for drawing my heart and mind back to You.
“Return, O my soul, to your rest;
for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.”