(Bible quotations are from the NIV unless otherwise stated)
14th June 2007
Today, we're looking at 1 Samuel 18v5-16.
Saul was King, and David was a young man in his service. And David served him extremely well. So well that the people sang songs about how Saul was great, but David was even greater. Saul hated that. As he considered how successful and popular David was, he asked himself “What more can he get but the kingdom”.
It was understandable. Saul was King and wanted to remain King. Saul was jealous.
In modern English, the words “jealousy” and “envy” have become more or less synonymous. But there was once a difference:
That’s why the second commandment describes God as a jealous God:
Envy is always sin. Jealousy can be sinful, but may not be (as in the passage we just read in Exodus). It’s not sin to want to keep what’s mine. But it can lead to sin because we’re willing act immorally or unkindly to try to keep what’s ours. It can also be sin if God wants us to give something away and we’re not willing to obey Him.
John the Baptist had victory over the wrong kind of jealousy. When he was told that Jesus was becoming more popular than himself, he responded with true meekness:
Sadly, not many of us have the grace to respond to the will of God in this way.
Getting back to Saul, the next thing we read is:
Saul was looking after number one – and number one’s ego. He would fight to protect his leadership, and the respect that he thought was the result of being a leader.
But when we adopt bad attitudes, we open ourselves up to evil influences:
And, having succumbed to the temptation to treat his own position as more important than godliness or obedience, he started to attack the person whom he perceived as a threat:
Why? Here’s why!
I don't think this means that God was 100% with David, or 0% with Saul. I think it means that God was blessing and prospering David much more than Saul. Of course, God has the right to prosper whomsoever He wants.
Because Saul was afraid that David would continue to grow in the people’s esteem, he sent him away:
The jealous man can’t bear to have the blessed, successful man near him – he feels threatened, even when the other person means no harm against him. But however negatvie you feel about somone, whatever you try to do to him, if God intends to bless and prosper him, He will:
Verse 15 says:
When Saul saw how successful he was, he was afraid of him.
And this is SO sad, because David was serving Saul, doing as Saul directed, all this time. And David never sought Saul's harm.
No matter how much Saul hated David and threatened him (because he mistakenly felt threatened by him) he couldn’t stop God or the people loving him:
As we get older, we will find young, enthusiastic Christians who can preach better than us, lead worship better than us (and stay awake longer than us) and who are more popular than us. Let us choose to rejoice that God is raising up such people. They’re not a threat to us, they’re God's new army :-)