“So the women sang as they danced, and said: ‘Saul has slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands.’ Then Saul was very angry, and the saying displeased him; and he said, ‘They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed only thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom?’ So Saul eyed David from that day forward” (1 Samuel 18:7-9).
Do you ever struggle with feelings of jealousy upon hearing the success other’s may be experiencing? Jealousy is a temptation with which many of us battle. What are the harmful effects of jealousy if we allow it to gain a foothold in our lives?
After David returns from killing the giant Goliath, David and Saul’s son Jonathan strike up a great friendship (1 Samuel 18:1-4). Saul also puts David in charge of some of his soldiers. David conducts himself honorably and “behaves very wisely” in this new position (1 Samuel 18:5, cf. v.14, 30). Saul had found a great, faithful servant in David.
However, Saul knew God was going to take the kingdom away from him because of his own sin (1 Samuel 15:26-28). Centuries earlier, God’s servant Moses found himself in a similar position as King Saul. God had told Moses he was not going to lead His people into the Promised Land because of his sin (Numbers 20:12). Moses had accepted this judgment from God and he continued to lead Israel through the wilderness years. Moses faithfully served God during the remainder of his days upon this earth even though he knew he would not be the one leading Israel into the Promised Land.
King Saul, however, did not embrace God’s taking the kingdom away from him and giving it to another. He fought against the directive from God. He became very insecure. As the opening verse above indicates, King Saul becomes very jealous when he hears the women praising David for killing ten thousands and ascribing to him the killing of only thousands. Instead of celebrating David for being a faithful servant who had helped him in defeating their enemies, the Philistines, Saul chose to be jealous of David’s success. He casts the eye of jealousy upon David (1 Samuel 18:7-9).
Saul’s jealousy had destructive effects not only upon himself, but upon his relationships with those around him. His jealousy over David created a breech in his relationship with David as he attempted to kill David by throwing a spear at David as David was trying to comfort Saul with music (1 Samuel 18:10-11). Later, Saul devised a plan to have David fight against the Philistines in hopes that the Philistines will kill David for him (1 Samuel 18:18-27). Following this, Saul’s own daughter Michal was forced to choose between her father Saul and her husband David as she helped David to escape from Saul (1 Samuel 19:11-17). Furthermore, Saul’s jealousy over David created a rift between himself and his son Jonathan as Saul in his jealous rage throws a spear at his own son Jonathan as Jonathan defended David before his father(1 Samuel 20:30-33). Saul’s jealousy over David had disastrous effects upon himself and his relationships with others.
When I let jealousy gain a foothold in my life, does it not also have disastrous effects upon my attitude and begin to affect my relationships with others? Today, I will rejoice that I can feel secure that God loves me and cares for me. Instead of feeling jealous over the success of others, I will celebrate their success and rejoice with them. I will learn to be content with how God has blessed me! I will not give the devil an opportunity to gain a foothold in my life by being jealous of others!
“Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (1 Timothy 6:6-7).