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Los Lunas Cornerstone

Church of the Nazarene

What About Him/Her? (1 Samuel 18)

    Today’s message is one that I believe applies to each and every Christian at some point in their walk with the Lord. It’s an issue that is seen not only in the New Testament, but throughout the entire Bible, and if we’re wise, we’ll learn from the examples we’re given so we can grow into maturity as Christians.
    I’m going to be in 1 Samuel 18 today, and I want to just jump right in. Through this passage, we’re going to see David become much more prominent and successful, and we’ll see Saul handle David’s rise very poorly. I’m just going to tell you now, before we even look at the Scripture, that Saul’s go to response to David’s success is jealousy.
    What we’ve got in 1 Samuel 18 is three different events when David is shown favor in some way, and Saul’s response is to let his jealousy of David get the best of him. I want us to look at each of these events and Saul’s jealous response to see what we can learn. So, with that, let’s look at 1 Samuel 18.
    The first event we find in the first 9 verses. The key verses here are verses 6-7, which is what we’re going to start with. This takes place shortly after David has killed Goliath, and the people are rejoicing and celebrating the defeat of the Philistines. “It happened as they were coming, when David returned from killing the Philistine, that the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with joy and with musical instruments. The women sang as they played, and said, “Saul has slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands.”
    Everyone is celebrating and having a great time, they came out singing and dancing to meet King Saul, but the song the women sang gave David higher praise than Saul. So, the first point of jealousy was that the people sang David’s PRAISE. Praise is your first blank in your bulletin today.
    Even though David was the one who defeated Goliath, which also dealt a huge blow against the Philistine morale…Saul felt he should receive the largest share of the people’s praise. After all, he is their King, right? Saul just couldn’t share the spotlight.
    There’s more going on here, too, than just the people singing David’s praise. This chapter opens with Jonathan, who is King Saul’s son, forming a special bond with David. We’re told that Jonathan’s soul was knit to David’s soul, and that Jonathan loved David as himself. Verse 3 says that Jonathan made a covenant with David. This was a covenant of loyalty, where Jonathan promised David he would always fight on his side for him.
    In fact, when we read the word “knit” here, that Jonathan was knit to David, the Hebrew word qšr also hints that there was a conspiracy aspect to their bond. That may have been intentional, an intentional conspiracy between David and Jonathan against Saul, but it is most likely that this tells us how Saul viewed the bond and covenant of loyalty between his son, Jonathan, and David. Saul saw it as a conspiracy against himself.
    Add in the fact that verse 5 tells us that anytime Saul sent David out to do something, David was successful and prospered, and we have the perfect recipe for a very jealous king. Saul looked at these things: the people singing David’s praise, Jonathan’s close bond with David, and David’s prosperity; and he became SUSPICIOUS of David. That’s your next bulletin blank. Verses 8-9 say this, “Then Saul became very angry, for this saying displeased him; and he said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, but to me they have ascribed thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom?” Saul looked at David with suspicion from that day on.”
    Saul began to suspect that David was up to no good. He viewed David’s actions as conspiring against him. That’s probably not a good impression for a king to have, especially in an ancient culture where you could be put to death for much less.
    Let’s move on to the next point of Saul’s jealousy in verses 10-19. Verse 12 tells us this, “Now Saul was afraid of David, for the Lord was with him but had departed from Saul.” One of the causes for Saul’s jealousy of David was that the Lord was with DAVID but not Saul. That’s the blank that comes next in your bulletin. We’ve talked before about the Lord being with David, and how that made the difference between Saul’s leadership and use of his gifts, and David’s leadership and use of his gifts.
    Saul’s jealousy of the Lord being with David made him afraid of David. Verse 14 tells us that David was prospering in everything that he did because the Lord was with him. Meanwhile, the mental torment that Saul had previously experienced returned, and his mind was tortured again. Now, remember, that David would normally be the one to soothe Saul’s delirious mind? He would play his harp excellently and Saul’s torment would fade.
    Well, once again, Saul’s torment happened and David played his harp as usual to try to bring Saul some peace. Look at verses 10-11, “Now it came about on the next day that an evil spirit from God came mightily upon Saul, and he raved in the midst of the house, while David was playing the harp with his hand, as usual; and a spear was in Saul’s hand. Saul hurled the spear for he thought, “I will pin David to the wall.” But David escaped from his presence twice.”
    Saul was already suspicious of David. He feared him as well because the Lord was with David. So this time when it came time for David to play his harp for Saul, Saul took the spear in his hand and tried to pin David to the wall with it. Not once…but twice! Twice he tried to kill David. All of this coming from the jealousy Saul felt and the emotions that came out of that jealousy.
    Then we’re going to add verse 16 into the mix, “But all Israel and Judah loved David, and he went out and came in before them.” All of Israel and Judah loved David! They loved him! He was so popular with the people. So, when we’re told that David had to flee from Saul’s presence twice to escape death, we also find out from this verse that David would go amongst the people and be safe from Saul’s assassination attempts because the people loved David! I’m sure Saul felt like his own people were conspiring against him, just like he thought David and Jonathan were doing.
    So, Saul tried to conspire against David. We have this strange account in 1 Samuel 18:17, “Then Saul said to David, “Here is my older daughter Merab; I will give her to you as a wife, only be a valiant man for me and fight the Lord’s battles.” For Saul thought, “My hand shall not be against him, but let the hand of the Philistines be against him.”
    Because Saul knew that the Lord was with David, he came to the realization that he might not be able to outright kill David. So instead of trying again just yet to kill David, he conspires for David to be heavily oppressed and maybe even killed by the Philistines. Saul offers David his daughter, Merab, in marriage, if David will fight for Saul. The motive though, as we read, is to put David in harm’s way. David refuses, humbly, because he claims that his family is not lofty enough for him to be the King’s son-in-law.
    With all of this, the Lord being with David, Israel loving David, and Saul’s madness that drove him to try to kill and conspire against David, Saul DREADED David. That’s your next blank. In verse 15 we’re told as much, “When Saul saw that he was prospering greatly, he dreaded him.”
    Saul is suspicious of David, and he dreads him. Dread isn’t the same as fear. Dread carries with it an element of anxiety. It’s like fear on steroids. Not only did Saul fear David, but he was so afraid of David that it gave him anxiety about his dealings and his relationship with David.
    It gets worse, too. Let’s look at our third point of jealousy in verses 20-30. Look at verse 20, “Now Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved David. When they told Saul, the thing was agreeable to him.” Saul had already tried once to marry one of his daughters to David, though we know it was to hurt David.
    But this time, the marriage arrangement came about because this other daughter LOVED David. That’s your next blank this morning, and Saul’s third point of jealousy toward David. Saul’s own daughter, Michal, loved David. It appears as if David loved her in return.
    Now, I know what you might be thinking, that this verse said that Saul was agreeable to their relationship. What about that?  Wouldn’t that show that Saul wasn’t jealous about Michal’s love for David?
    Verse 21, “Saul thought, “I will give her to him that she may become a snare to him, and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him.”
    David wouldn’t marry his first daughter out of humility, but he loved Michal, and Michal loved him. So the marriage was agreeable to Saul because he thought again he could trick David into being put into harm’s way. Saul goes so far as to ask for a very risky and gruesome dowry from David in exchange for Michal’s hand in marriage. Saul asks for a particular body part from 100 Philistine soldiers. You can read verse 25 quickly to see what exactly Saul asked for, and you can also see in that verse that his hope was that in collecting this dowry to pay for Michal’s hand, that David would fall by the hand of the Philistines.
    David succeeded in the seemingly impossible task though, and instead of killing 100 Philistine soldiers for this dowry, he killed 200. Saul had no choice then but to give David Michal’s hand in marriage. I want to read verses 28-29 to finish our story this morning, “When Saul saw and knew that the Lord was with David, and that Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved him, then Saul was even more afraid of David. Thus Saul was David’s enemy continually.”
    Your next bulletin blank this morning is ENEMY. You can look at your bulletin and see the progression of Saul’s jealousy. It goes from suspicious, thinking his son is conspiring with David against him…to dread, being fearful and anxious about David to the point of trying to kill David, both directly and indirectly…to finally just being a flat-out enemy of David’s, driven by all that he sees that David has, and the prosperity David experienced, and the success David had, the love David had of those who Saul thought should have loved him more.
    I want to shift gears from talking about ancient history and this story of a jealous man who lived thousands of years ago to something more recent: you and me. Remember I started my message this morning by saying that this message is one that applies to every Christian at some point in their walk? We’re addressing the issue of jealousy this morning, and it’s something each of us is sure to face at some point in our Christian life because we have been trained from the time we were very young to want more. Get the bigger, better, newer thing. Your smart phone is dinosaur if you’ve had it more than two years. Your computer is ancient if you’ve had it more than five years. You need the new and improved…whatever.
    Ooh, your co-worker has the newest, biggest, best, and now you need it too. Let’s keep up with the Johnsons. We have been trained and wired to be jealous of the things, and the prosperity and the success, and the gifts and the talents that others around us have.
    It didn’t end with Saul. It was an issue for the Corinthian church, too. They became jealous of one another’s spiritual gifts, and there was coveting and quarreling because they thought that some gifts were more important than others, and they became jealous of those who had those gifts.
    This is what Paul told them: “For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. If they were all one member, where would the body be? But now there are many members, but one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.”
    Paul of course was talking about the church! Each person who makes up the church is IMPORTANT! That’s your next blank this morning. If you are here this morning, or participating in service online, or watching this at a later date, if you are a part of the church, not just this church, but the whole church, you are important. If you are a part of this church, you are important to this church. God has given you talents, gifts, possessions, and ideas for you to help this church function the way that God wants! You are vital! Your role here is vital! And it hurts the body, hurts the church when even just one person leaves or doesn’t use what God has given them to strengthen and build the church up. We are each needed in equal measure.
    Paul was addressing jealousy in this passage, and I am too. We must always be on guard against two attitudes: the attitude that we are less important and less needed in the church because we are not like so-and-so, and we don’t have so-and-so’s talents or gifts or money or time; and the other attitude is the attitude that we are better than so-and-so because we have certain gifts or talents or time or money. Both attitudes are rooted in jealousy, and both are wrong.
    I want to end with Jesus’ response to Peter’s jealousy of John. John was the disciple Jesus loved, or so John claimed, though judging by Peter’s jealousy it was likely true. Peter was constantly looking to John, asking questions about John’s life and John’s ministry. John 21:20-23 says this, “Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; the one who also had leaned back on His bosom at the supper and said, “Lord, who is the one who betrays You?” So Peter seeing him said to Jesus, “Lord, and what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!” Therefore this saying went out among the brethren that that disciple would not die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but only, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you?”
    Peter asked Jesus, “What about him? What about John?” This was just after Jesus told Peter that his job was to feed Jesus’ sheep. He personally gave Peter a mission in the church, and Peter says, “What about John?”
    And what was Jesus’ response? “Don’t worry about John. You, Peter, you, follow me. Do what I ask you to do. Don’t worry about John.”
    I think He wants to say the same thing to each and every one of us this morning. Don’t worry about so-and-so. Don’t worry about that big, huge church with all the stuff. You do what I ask you to do. Pretty simple, right?
    The answer to Saul’s jealousy was to keep his eyes fixed on God. He didn’t do that, and he fell into the jealousy trap. The Corinthians answer to their jealousy was to keep their eyes fixed on God. Peter’s fix to his jealousy was to keep his eyes fixed on God. Guess what? That’s our answer, too. That’s our safeguard against the trap of jealousy. Keep your eyes fixed on GOD! That’s your last blank this morning, and the point that I want to stick in our minds and our hearts. If we take nothing else away from this message…take this thought…keep your eyes fixed on God!

1. Think of a time you looked at another person’s gifts, talents, job, income, possessions, family, etc. with jealousy. What did that jealousy do to your relationship with that person? Your relationship with God?

2. Every believer is a vital and important part of the body of Christ, the church. How does jealousy of roles create disunity? What happens to the body when this happens?

3. What are some practical ways you can keep your eyes fixed on God to help avoid falling into the jealousy trap? Daily gratitude for what you have? Using what you have been given? Praise and worship of the Lord? More quiet time spent in the Word? Put into practice one way you can keep your eyes more fixed on God this week!

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