March 24

1 Samuel 18-20, Psalm 83

It was almost 40 years ago when I proposed to my wife at the age of 19. A few months before we were married, for no earthly reason and without any substance I underwent a 3 month attack of jealousy. It is something I never really struggled with beforehand and really not since, but for those 3 months it consumed me. I remember my thoughts were illogical but I found it difficult to repress them. The object of this jealousy was a co-worker where my then fiancée was working. He never showed any interest in my wife, nor did my wife ever give me any reason for concern. I remember over-asking questions about lunchtime, and over-analyzing everything that was said, etc. in the process I lost 15-20 pounds and pretty much destroyed 3 months of my life. I remember finding it difficult to think about much else. Though the seven deadly sins are not spelled out in a particular Bible verse, according to Christian tradition they are: envy, gluttony, greed, lust, pride, sloth, and wrath. Envy is the intense desire to have an item or experience that which someone else possesses. This sin actually has no pleasure attached to it. We read in Proverbs 14:30, "A sound heart is life to the body, But envy is rottenness to the bones."

We see Saul consumed with envy, which led to irrational thinking and fits of wrath. We read the beginning of this in 1 Samuel 18:7-9, "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 thousand 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." Though David had proven himself totally submissive and faithful to the authority of Saul, it mattered little to Saul who was consumed with envy. As David continued to succeed in one military campaign after another for Saul, we read in 18:12, "Now Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with him, but had departed from Saul." We see him acting out in jealous wrath in 18:10-11, "So David played music with his hand as at other times; but there was a spear in Saul's hand. And Saul cast the spear, for he said, "I will pin David to the wall!" But David escaped his presence twice." The remainder of today's reading in 1 Samuel 18-20, details Saul's attempts to wrongfully murder David. When David's friend and Saul's son, Jonathon, confronts Saul about these irrational thoughts, we read in 20:33, that he even tries to kill his own son, Jonathon. A person cannot be jealous of another without seeking to hurt another. A list or desire for whatever that person possesses blinds them to the truth and to everything else which should be important to them.

Jon Courson writes of this in his commentary, "I guarantee there has been or will be a situation in your life similar to this. You'll have a choice to feel threatened and to throw spears- or to rejoice and help others excel. If you try to keep someone else down, you will spiral downward yourself. But if you help someone else go higher, you will inevitably be on an upward path as well. On a daily basis, let go of the spear, and pick up the harp." James warns us in James 3:14-16, "But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there." The examples in the Bible are there for many reasons, among them our personal application. Many are envious of a whole host of things: other's spouses, children, money, homes, vacations, jobs or careers, positions, etc. This type of thinking is wrong and if not put under the Lordship of God and repented of, will lead to a downward spiral as it it did for King Saul.

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Marj Lancaster