Summary: The sixth message in a series on the little foxes.

Song of Solomon 2:15 KJV Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.

James 3:14-16 KJV But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. [15] This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. [16] For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.


Several years ago, because of a class that I was taking, I was encouraged to read a biography about Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. He is the famous classical music composer and I actually had very little interest in him until I started reading his biography by Maynard Solomon. As I labored through the first chapter or so, I suddenly was swept into a very compelling but dark story of this composer. He was a young musical prodigy who owed much of his development to the iron will and discipline of his father, Leopold.

It was not very long in his young life that he was invited to play for the emperor and his court. As he played through his set of music, the emperor and his attendants were shocked at the skill that this young man displayed. However, there was another musical genius who heard the composition on that fateful day and it would forever ruin his life. Antonio Salieri was a disciplined and noted classical composer and musician himself who felt that God had called him into the field of music. On that day in the emperor’s music theatre, Salieri realized that what he had pursued and disciplined his whole life had slipped from his grasp and had been given to this young Mozart. It was as if Salieri, who had pursued God with everything he had in the world of classical music, lost the gift of music to this young intruder Mozart.

Wolfgang Mozart was a very talented young prodigy that composed a minuet and trio for the piano when he was six years old. This was followed by seventeen operas, forty-one symphonies, twenty-one piano concertos, and multiple piano sonatas. His ranging musical talent also branched into musical scores and pieces for the organ, clarinet, and other instruments. What is ironic about it all are his crude habits and reproachful behavior. Mozart was given to great pompousness and arrogance. He did not have control of his moods and often expressed them in extreme outbursts of rage, anger, and violence. He was prone to get drunk and pursue immoral relationships. He was also subject to great irreverence toward things that were in authority or to be held in godly honor. Through all of this, it appears that Mozart did not have any spiritual leanings whatsoever.

As a great contrast, Antonio Salieri, in his early days pursued the path of piety and moral cleanliness; a path that was directly opposite of Mozart. He sought God for guidance and opportunities that would honor Him. Mozart apparently never sought God for anything and seemingly was quite ungrateful for his personal gifting in the field of music. This literally drove Salieri to his own destruction. Salieri became envious of Mozart and worked night and day to discredit and tear down all that he did. Before long, Salieri’s soul had become so hardened to God, that he allowed this envious spirit to drive him toward hatred.

A. Quotes on Envy

Erwin Lutzer—Envy is rebellion against God’s leading in the lives of his children. It’s saying that God has no right to bless someone else more than you.

J. I. Packer—Envy is one of the most cancerous, soul-destroying vices there is. . . It is terribly potent, for it feeds and is fed by pride, the taproot of our fallen nature.

Unknown—Criticism is often nothing more than low-grade envy.

Lloyd John Ogilivie—One of the major causes of stress is combative competition—more accurately envy. . . it grows in the soul-soil of comparisons and blossoms in noxious thorns of desire for what others have or achieve.

Leslie Flynn—The envious man feels other’s fortunes are his misfortunes; their profit, his loss; their blessing, his bane; their health, his illness; their promotion, his demotion; their success, his failure.

John Dryden—Jealousy, the jaundice of the soul.

Clarence Macartney—Beware of envy! You are not too refined, too educated, too sensible, and too Christian to avoid destruction. The flame is there in your heart, and unexpected breezes of a tempting occasion may break forth in devastation that now would appall you.

Clarence Macartney—Envy is the spur with which the devil will ride the noblest tempers.

B. Biblical References Concerning Envy

The Bible has much to say about envy also. Here are a few passages concerning it:

Job 5:2 KJV For wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth the silly one.

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