For their heart studieth destruction, and their lips talk of mischief.
Never envy wicked men; never desire their friendship (Pr 24:1). God knows appearances will tempt you to admire them, but there are strong reasons against it. Here is one of those reasons – their character is perverse and their goals evil. If you love God, you will hate their ambitions and intentions. Their opinions are the opposite of godly wisdom.
This verse is the second half of a proverb. The first half reads, “Be not thou envious against evil men, neither desire to be with them” (Pr 24:1). Solomon warned his son here and elsewhere to not envy the wicked or to fret at their apparent prosperity and pleasure (Pr 24:19-20; 3:31-32; 23:17-18). David had taught him this (Ps 37:1-2,7-10; 73:1-3).
God allows pleasure and success to some wicked, for this world is the only heaven they get (Ps 17:14; Job 12:6-11; 21:7-26). Such blessing is the prosperity of fools, and only fools are tempted by it (Pr 1:32; Ps 50:21; Jer 48:11-12). It is the favored lifestyles of the rich and famous, now promoted much more than ever before, that can tempt good men.
But the warnings of God and Solomon ring loud: Do not envy them! Do not fret because of them! Do not desire to be with them! Ignore appearances; be wise; think more deeply than fancy clothes, fast cars, large homes, luxurious vacations, and lots of cash. There are other things to consider that are far weightier and also the great future reversal of fortune.
Be honest with God (Jer 12:1). Do you ever wish you had their beautiful spouses, spacious homes, fabulous businesses, children in the best schools, popular esteem, economic power, and so forth? They do not have to worry about careful and disciplined lives to please God – they can do whatever they wish. Do you ever envy their lifestyle?
Why not envy the wicked? The lesson in this proverb is because their character is corrupt with destruction and mischief. They destroy sexual purity with casual sex, marriage with affairs and divorces, sanity with same-sex nonsense, and children with pampering. They rush money to Haitian devil-worshippers after an earthquake while using an abortion doctor to rip apart their own unborn children because they say they cannot afford a child!
They love destruction. They kill the unborn by abortion. They destroy art with Picasso, music with rap, and entertainment with comedies. They destroy companies with unions, a right worldview with evolution, and financial integrity with deficit spending. They steal domestic peace with odious women and spoiled children. They ruin thrift by credit, labor by welfare, life by protecting murderers, and love by lust. They love destruction.
They love mischief. They allow violent movies and wonder why violence in schools occurs. They deny creation to push evolution and wonder why youth act more and more like animals. They mock authority where they can and wonder why no one will follow or obey them. They push spending as a virtue and wonder why no one saves. They think two men in bed is marriage and two women adopting babies a family. They love mischief.
The world is perverse and getting worse. Society has not had a profitable moral thought in generations. Why envy them? The whole world and everything in it will soon melt with fervent heat by God’s righteous vengeance for its profane rebellion. But even more than their certain destruction drawing near, why would you be tempted to their corrupt and abominable thinking on every subject? Learn to hate every false way (Ps 119:128)!
Godly men want nothing to do with a mentality and lifestyle of destruction and mischief. They instead want to be constructive and noble. Rather than destroy, they would save. Rather than plan mischief, they seek to profit others. They hate dysfunctional anything, so they are disciplined and structured in life to follow wisdom, truth, and righteousness. There is no reason to envy men that live a lifestyle opposite your holy goals. Reject them!
Why not envy the wicked? Because God hates them and will judge them (Pr 3:31-32). Because they will be destroyed rather than rewarded (Pr 24:19-20). Because only the righteous will realize their hopes (Pr 23:17-18). Because the wicked will be cut off in this life and sent to hell in the next life (Ps 37:1-2,7-10; 49:6-15; 73:17-20; 37:34-38).
Do not measure success by circumstances or the things you can see (Luke 12:15). God’s love for a person is not usually reflected by their possessions, especially in this life (Jas 2:5). A man rich today will be dead tomorrow and in the torments of hellfire, but a poor man today could easily be in Paradise tomorrow, just as Jesus taught (Luke 16:25).
Do not desire to be with them, for they will corrupt your good manners of godly sensibility and its noble conduct (I Cor 15:33). Companions of fools will be destroyed, but those associating with wise men will be wise (Pr 13:20). The constant bent of worldly men toward mischief will drown you in the dysfunctional problems of their ignorance. Get away from them! Do not envy them! Despise them and their toys instead!
There are reasons now to despise wicked men rather than envy them, but there is also a day coming when the prosperity and pleasures of the righteous and wicked will be totally reversed. Do not think only of this life, which can leave you hopeless – for Christianity is primarily a religion of the next life (I Cor 15:19; II Cor 4:17-18). Good men will soon have transformed bodies and enjoy a new earth and heaven for eternity (II Pet 3:10-14).
Jesus Christ never envied the wicked or wanted to be with them, unless they were repentant sinners. He valued heaven’s joys and pleasures, so even a crucifixion death did not discourage Him (Heb 12:1-2). When Satan offered the world’s kingdoms, they did not entice Him (Matt 4:8-10). Will you, like Moses, flush the pleasures and riches of this world for even affliction and reproach with God and His people (Heb 11:24-26)?