Genesis 37; Exodus 20:17; 1 Samuel 18; Proverbs 27:4; Isaiah 14:12-14; Matthew 12:14; James 3:16,17
The Bible says that jealousy is a poison that destroys relationships. Envy contaminates our thinking, and only a humble heart can save us from sure destruction.
Bibles, paper, pens, pencils, crayons
Connecting with the Scripture Topic
- Describe a time from your childhood when you were jealous of another student in school. What did that classmate have that you wished you had? How did it affect your relationship with that person?
- Are there similarities in the stories you hear? If so, what are they?
Sharing and Receiving Scripture
- How bad is jealousy? Draw a picture of two bottles. Put a “skull-and-bones” picture on the first bottle along with the word JEALOUSY across its front label. On the second bottle write the words “Harmful Side Effects.” List the consequences to someone who drinks the poison of jealousy.
- Thought Questions
The oldest sin in the Bible is jealousy. Read about Lucifer’s fall in Isaiah 14:12-14 (see also Ezekiel 28:12-17). According to these texts, what deadly steps did Satan take?
- “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God” (Isaiah 14:13).
- “I will sit enthroned on the mount of the assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain” (Isaiah 14:13).
- “I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:14).
- Lucifer became proud of his own beauty and accomplishments.
- Lucifer was jealous of Jesus’ relationship with the heavenly Father.
Read Genesis 37. The evil results of jealousy are clearly portrayed in the story of Joseph. What can we learn about jealousy from this story?
- Parents should not “play favorites” with any of their children.
- Joseph really should have kept his dreams to himself; sharing them nearly cost him his life.
- Even blood (family) is not strong enough to stop the deadly results of jealousy.
- Getting rid of Joseph did not bring peace to his brothers (see Genesis 50:15).
- Envy destroys family relationships.
The story of David and King Saul also illustrates the consequences of jealousy. Read 1 Samuel 18 (and chapter 19 if time permits). How could this story begin so well and turn so sour?
- Saul wanted all the praise and glory for himself.
- Saul was afraid of David because the Spirit of the Lord had left Saul.
- A turning point came when Saul began to compare himself to David (see verses 8, 9).
- David’s humility irked Saul because it revealed the bitterness in his own heart (see verse 23).
- Saul knew that God was blessing David, and this made Saul very afraid (see verses 28, 29).
The Bible gives many other warnings and examples about the poison of jealousy. Choose some of the following passages and study them for more insights into the destructive nature of envy and covetousness.
- James 3:16, 17
- Matthew 12:14
- Proverbs 27:4
- 2 Corinthians 12:20
- Proverbs 14:30
Applying the Message of Scripture
Gather in groups of two or three. Choose one of the following options and work on a solution. Then report back to your group when your facilitator says time is up.
- Option 1: “I hate her!” your 13-year-old daughter sobs. “The other girls think she’s so pretty. I just hate her!” What have you learned from today’s lesson that might shape your response to your daughter?
- Option 2: Draw a picture of a forked pathway leading in two directions, one toward heaven and the other toward eternal destruction. Using what you’ve learned in today’s lesson, put signs along the “destruction” pathway that indicate what steps lead to jealousy and how it will ultimately destroy you.
- Option 3: Create a short “commercial” where someone pitches the benefits of purchasing and enjoying a new beverage called “Jealousy Juice.” Have a little fun! Demonstrate the false notions about envy that people believe (“When you enjoy this drink, it will make you feel better instantly!”).
Valuing Scripture in Your Life
- Has jealousy overwhelmed you? Is God’s Spirit urging you to let go of envy in some corner of your heart? Reflect on these questions for a moment.
- As a group, bow your heads quietly while one person reads James 5:16, 17. Conclude with prayer.
Next Week’s Scripture Focus:
Proverbs 23:29-35; Matthew 25:15-30; Mark 10:17-27; John 3:36; 1 Corinthians 7:2-5; 1 Peter 3:3, 4