(Pro 24:1 KJV) Be not thou envious against evil men, neither desire to be with them.
When we see a command in the Bible, it is in response to an existing condition of need. We would not have any of the letters of Paul if he were not responding to specific issues in the early church. In the same way, commands like this are not hypothetical shots in the dark. They are not God guessing at what might be helpful in some situations. They are universal principles that reflect on the human condition and our need for knowledge of the truth.
We don’t like to admit it, but we are “envious” (7065) of people around us. It doesn’t always run away and control us. It doesn’t drive us to robbing banks and stealing from the poor. Yet there is something in our heart when we are in a house that has central air when we have window air conditioners. There is something about getting a ride in someone’s new car when ours has broken down again. There is something about watching people give orders and seeing them obeyed. If these people are not serving Jesus, then they are serving the enemy. We fall into the trap of envy or covetousness.
“Evil” (7463a) exists. It is brought up frequently in Proverbs. We don’t like to admit it. Too often we are consumed with the lives and activities of the evil of the world. I read a blog recently that stated that a major world event received 20 seconds of mention on only one network and the arrest of a teen age celebrity was covered widely and by over 20 minutes on that same network. Why? Because people like us watch it. We are attracted to it. We become consumers of evil. What would happen if Christians would totally stop watching some of these programs? What would happen if all Christians would cancel their subscriptions to magazines and cable that were offensive? One thing is sure: We would have a lot of Christians who might get bored enough to actually start reading their Bibles again.
Update: I made a typo change in the last paragraph.