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Sabbath School Lessons on The Bible and Human Emotions
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Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 37 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 10: Jealousy *
Introduction: Do you dwell on the fact that beautiful young women will
get old? Handsome men will lose their hair and gain a stomach?
Gravity overtakes all? The rich should be taxed more? Welcome to the
world of the envious and jealous! Some envy may have good economic
results - you work diligently to buy things. The problem is that
keeping up financially with those around you is a moving target. With
each new level of society you rise to, you find people who are richer
and have even more stuff. The work to keep up never ends! What is the
solution? Let's plunge into our study to see what the Bible teaches
us about jealousy and how to deal with it!
- Read Isaiah 14:12. What tragedy do we see here? (Someone who
was at the top in heaven has been "cast down" to the earth.)
- Read Isaiah 14:13-14. What is the cause for this tragedy?
(An attitude: "I will make myself like the Most High.")
- Read Genesis 3:1-5. What is the temptation presented to Eve?
(She would be "like God.")
- The verses from Isaiah are commonly understood to refer to
Satan. The serpent in Genesis 3 is Satan. What kind of
temptation, what kind of attitude, is common to both
stories? (Envy. Jealousy.)
- What should we conclude about the sin of jealousy? The
sin of envy? (This is the sin which began all our
- Are we looking at more than the sin of jealousy and
envy in these sad stories?
- Read Exodus 20:17. Consider the Ten Commandments for a
moment. Could the Ten Commandments been shortened and still
cover the same issues?
- Would obedience to the commandment against coveting
eliminate the need to specify the commandments against
theft and adultery?
- What relationship is there between coveting,
selfishness, jealousy and envy? (They are part of a
cluster of related sins. Jealousy and envy arise out
of covetousness, pride and selfishness.)
- Let's revisit Eve's situation. How would you rate her life
before sin? (Perfect.)
- What does this teach us about jealousy, envy and
covetousness? (They are not only sin, they are
irrational. People in the most wonderful circumstances
can be jealous.)
- Disordered Life
- Read James 3:14-16. Is there a difference between ambition
and selfish ambition? (Read Proverbs 13:4 and 1
- Looking back at James 3:14-16, how is "disorder" the
result of envy? (You want to take what is not yours.)
- What do you think it means to "boast" about selfish
- What does it mean to "deny the truth" when it comes to
- Are either of these things (boasting or denial
when it comes to envy) a problem in your life?
- Read James 3:17. What characterizes those who are not
jealous? (They have peace and they show mercy.)
- Read James 4:1-3. Ask yourself the question that James asks.
Is your answer the same as he suggests?
- What can we say about the results of jealousy and
envy? (That if we engage in this sin, we have no
- Read Proverbs 14:30. How does this lack of peace
impact our health? (Envy makes us sick.)
- Read James 4:4-5. Why is James calling us "adulterous
people?" (We choose the world over God.)
- How is that adultery any more than choosing one spouse
instead of another?
- Why does verse 5 refer to us envying "intensely?" Has
that anything to do with adultery? (We belong to God.
Not only is He our Creator, but God died for us as our
Redeemer. As the children of God, we have all that we
need. Thus, it is simply envy to want the world.)
- Read James 4:6. What does pride have to do with jealousy and
- Let's apply these ideas to our lives. What makes you jealous
or envious? (Something you do not have.)
- What makes you worry? (That you will lose something that you
- Is the fear of losing your job, your money, your
looks, your youth, etc. the sin of jealousy and envy?
(We generally covet something because we want people
to think better of us. We generally do not want to
lose the stuff we have because people will think less
well of us.)
- Would you have more peace in your life if you did
not worry about what others thought of you? (Re-read James 4:6. A proud person would care. A
humble person would not. God tells us that He
will give us the grace to be humble. There is a
strong connection between pride and the sin of
jealousy and envy.)
- Illustration: Saul and David
- Read 1 Samuel 18:2-5. Would David's high rank in the army be
cause for envy?
- Who should naturally be jealous? (Jonathan, the King's
- Anyone else? (Other army officers who now find
that David outranks them.)
- Was Jonathan jealous? (The recorded evidence is
that he was not.)
- Read 1 Samuel 18:6-9. Who is jealous of David? (The King!)
- Was there any truth to the statement of the people?
(Yes! David killed Goliath (1 Samuel 17), not King
- Saul is the king. Is there any rational reason for him
to be jealous of a subordinate? Should the king be
envious of a man the king himself promoted? (This is
exactly what we saw with Eve and Satan. Individuals
with excellent situations became jealous because they
coveted more. King Saul is worried that he will lose
his position to David. Saul covets the job he already
has - no doubt due to his pride.)
- Read 1 Samuel 18:10 and 1 Samuel 16:14. How can you have an
"evil spirit from God?"
- Re-read James 4:5. This also speaks of the "spirit he
caused to live in us." How should we understand this?
(Needless to say, the Holy Spirit is not inspiring us
to do evil. But, God created us with free-will. After
sin, our inclination is to do evil ( Genesis 8:21).)
- Read 1 Samuel 18:10-11. What does Saul have in mind when he
attempts to "pin David to the wall?" (He intends to kill
- Is this the natural result of the sin of jealousy and
envy? (Yes. At a minimum you want to take away what
the other person has. At its worst, you want to take
it away and give it to yourself! The rich should not
be squeezing the poor so that they become richer. The
poor should not try to take away the wealth of the
rich. Both constitute the sins of jealousy and envy.)
- Let's give King Saul a "make-over." How would King Saul
react to David if Saul decided that his life was in God's
hands, and he would do whatever God wanted? (Saul would say
that my time as King is over, and I will do whatever else
God wants. That would take a humble, trusting heart. Pride
would be gone.)
- Friend, would you like peace in your life? Would you like to
get out of the race to be rich, and live a life of
contentment? The key is to ask the Holy Spirit to give you
the grace to be humble. If you are truly humble,
covetousness, envy and jealousy will be left behind. Why not
decide today to ask God to improve your attitude and give
- Next week: Freedom From Addictions.
* Copr. 2011, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.