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Saul's Jealousy

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
December 19, 2020 12:01 am

Saul's Jealousy

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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December 19, 2020 12:01 am

After the initial excitement surrounding David's victory over Goliath, envy and bitterness began to wreak havoc in the heart of King Saul. Today, R.C. Sproul demonstrates why the sin of jealousy is so destructive.

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It's interesting to note that after David killed Goliath, King Saul's attitude began to sour. What had David done? All that David had done so far was to obey every command of Saul. David had risked his life out of loyalty to his God, loyalty to his people, and loyalty to his king. But, beloved, the king was jealous.

And as we'll discover today, that jealousy was the source of chaos and destruction. We're glad you've joined us for the Saturday edition of Renewing Your Mind. I'm Lee Webb. We're making our way through Dr. R.C. Sproul's series on the life of David, and the lessons we'll learn today have implications for every one of us. Let's join R.C.

now. Here at Ligonier Ministries, we have a man who works as our director of audio-video production. In fact, even today he's working on this program for your benefit and for mine. But one of the distinctive characteristics of this man is that he is a devotee of Elvis Presley. He likes to sing Elvis songs.

He likes to do Elvis personations. And I doubt if there have been many examples of people who have become a phenomenon of American culture the way Elvis Presley did. I have to admit that I was alive and can remember vividly his first appearance on Toast of the Town, the Ed Sullivan program, and what a raging sensation he was.

Overnight the so-called meteoric rise took place. He was catapulted into the public eye. And I remember also in the weeks and months that followed that the press trailed Elvis Presley all around, and myriads of articles were written about him in the magazines and in the newspapers chronicling that he would go out and buy a pink Cadillac and then a powder blue Cadillac, and he had six or seven of these cars, a fleet of them, and all of the pundits were saying that Presley was a flash in the pan and that he was going to regret this sudden catapulting into an extravagant style of life. But in another sense, Elvis Presley lived the American dream because he achieved fame and fortune virtually overnight.

It's a Cinderella kind of story. But so often in our fantasies, our dreams of fame and fortune, we overlook the stark naked reality that such experiences more often than not are catastrophic to a person's life. There is an enormous price that people have to pay for instant fame, and perhaps no one in biblical history exhibits that truth more clearly that truth more clearly and more deeply than David. You can imagine after he killed Goliath how rapidly his fame spread not only through Israel but through the whole mid-eastern region of his day.

He was an overnight sensation. Instant status and fame accompanied him, but at the same time as David experienced this radical change in his life from the quiet, domestic life of a shepherd where he could enjoy his solitude, his time of reflection and meditation before the living God, now that all changes, and he becomes visible to everyone around him. And what happened to David is what happens to many people who achieve instant fame.

The first thing that happened to him of great significance was that he became a target of jealousy. That of course came principally from the king whose troops were defended by David. Let's look at the text in 1 Samuel chapter 18. Before we get to the reaction of Saul to David's overnight fame, let's look at what is introduced in the beginning of the chapter in verse 1. Now when he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David.

Saul took him that day and would not let him go home to his father's house anymore. And then Jonathan and David made a covenant because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan took off the robe that was on him and gave it to David with his armor, even to his sword and his bow and his belt.

What is introduced here at the beginning of this chapter is a relationship between two men, a relationship of bonding that serves as the supreme biblical model of loyal friendship. If anybody in the world had reason to be jealous of David, it was Jonathan. If anybody in the world had reason to be afraid of David, it was Jonathan.

Why? Jonathan was the crown prince of the kingdom of Israel. He was the heir apparent to the throne of Saul. David could have been seen immediately through the eyes of Jonathan as a potential threat and rival to all of Jonathan's own aspirations. But instead of a response of fear or of envy or of jealousy, the response of Jonathan was one of love. His soul was knit to that of David. Later on we will see that Jonathan realizes early on that he himself will not receive the throne of Israel and that instead David will ascend in his place.

And even when that takes place, Jonathan shows not one ounce of envy or bitterness or threatening, but if anything takes place, the bond between these two men grows even deeper. And in a very real sense, Jonathan risked his life, as we will see later, out of his love for David. But that was the response of the son of Saul.

It was not Saul's response. Initially, Saul was excited about this victory. David had got him out of a jam. He was looking embarrassed before all of his troops and before the whole nation at the taunts of Goliath, and now David had rescued him. And now Saul inquires as to the family of David and asks David to leave his home and come and live at the palace of the king.

But that relationship turns sour in a hurry, and what causes it? If we come back to the text and look at chapter 18, we look at verse 5 where we read, And so David went out wherever Saul sent him and behaved wisely. And Saul sent him over the men of war, and he was accepted in the sight of all the people and also in the sight of Saul's servants.

But it happened as they were coming home, when David was returning from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women had come out of all of the cities of Israel singing and dancing to meet King Saul with tambourines, with joy, and with musical instruments. What do we do in the United States when there's an extraordinary feat of heroism or accomplishment? We welcome our heroes in New York City with a ticker tape parade. We get a convertible, and we get the hero and sit him up in the back seat of the convertible where everybody can see him, and he drives down the street, and he's waving, and the people are throwing flowers and confetti and ticker tape and all the rest as they praise and laud the hero. That's not something unique to America.

That's human. And in all cultures, heroes are given a hero's welcome. But in this triumphal procession, the person who stood at the head of the procession was Saul. He was the leader.

He was the king. It was his army that had just been victorious through the heroics of David, to be sure. But nevertheless, Saul now is basking in glory, and the people are coming out to greet him, and the women are flocking in the public square singing and dancing and celebrating with music. And they sang this song, Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands. Now you understand, there should have been enough glory to go around. Saul was being honored in this song.

This was not a jibe at Saul. There was public recognition that Saul was a hero. He had slain his thousands.

However, there was one who had done ten times better. David has slain his tens of thousands. And so the text goes on to say that Saul stood forward and took David by the hand and stood at the front of the multitude and said, Hail David, our mighty conqueror. Take a bow, David.

Aren't we all proud of this young…? No, that's not what he did. What was his reaction to this public celebration? Verse 6 says this, 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, as if that were nothing. Now, what more can he have but the kingdom, so that Saul eyed David from that day forward? Sometimes in the Bible, like we have in a good novel, we have the literary device of foreshadowing, and there is the foreshadowing in this text that is at the same time foreboding. We are told that Saul from that day on began to eye David. This lad bears watching.

Why? What had David done? All that David had done so far was to obey every command of Saul.

David had risked his life out of loyalty to his God, loyalty to his people, and loyalty to his king. But, beloved, the king was beloved. The king was jealous. Let me just pause right here for a second and ask you the question, have you ever been jealous of anyone? Have you ever experienced other people's being jealous of you? Do you have any idea how utterly destructive that peculiar human emotion can be?

How many reputations have been destroyed? How many friendships have been violated? How many wars have been fought that were driven by this perverse attitude of jealousy? Jealousy is so damaging that one form of it actually is elevated to the status of one of the Ten Commandments.

The Tenth Commandment prohibits the coveting of another person's property. And covetousness is a mild form of jealousy. Jealousy is covetousness run amok. It creates a rage of hatred, unjust hatred of one person for another. We even have an expression in the American culture, color him green, that a person becomes green with envy.

And so it was with Saul. His jealousy knew no bounds. And coupled with jealousy, almost always is that twin emotion, fear. I could add to that list hatred, spiteful hatred, the kind of hatred that wishes ill upon arrival. The New Testament says that we are to rejoice with those that rejoice and to be abased with those who abase, and that we are to celebrate that we are to celebrate every member of our body's prosperity or success.

But instead there are those who despise it. Now the fear that is in the heart of Saul is if David is so famous, if David is so popular that they're singing that he has killed his tens of thousands, what else can this kid get? He has all the fame.

He has all the adulation. The only thing left for him that he doesn't have yet is the kingdom, my kingdom. And Saul determines from that day, driven by his rage, driven by his jealousy, driven by his fear, that that shall never take place.

And it happened on the very next day. We're told in verse 10 that the distressing spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the house. And 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 twice David escaped his presence.

Now notice in verse 12, the depths of the degeneration of the king. Now Saul was afraid of David because the Lord was with him. Why in the world would anybody be afraid of somebody if they knew God was with him? Unless they knew that they themselves were at enmity with God. I read that as if that were a complete sentence, that Saul was afraid of David because he knew that God was with him.

But there's a comma there. It's not simply because he knew that it's not simply because he knew that God was with David, but what comes after the comma? But that God had departed from Saul. So now you can see that jealousy is escalating to the highest possible proportion. Now he's jealous not only of the favor of the people that rests upon David, but he's jealous of the favor of God. Do you realize, my friends, that jealousy ultimately is a grievous sin against God? Because all of the fortune and prosperity or gifts that we receive in this world, we receive from the hand of God's benevolent providence. And when I am jealous of another person, what I am saying, bottom line, is, God, it is not fair that you should allow this person to have that possession or that office or that success or that achievement, and you have not given it unto me.

So that every time we are jealous, we show hatred to our fellow persons, but above all, we express our anger with God. So how does Saul deal with this? Saul had promised that anyone who killed the champion Goliath that he would receive his daughter in marriage, and he tried to give one daughter to David, and that didn't work. And then Michael, we read in verse 20, Saul's daughter loved David, and they told Saul, and the thing pleased him.

Now what does that mean? Here comes the report to Saul. Saul, I know you were supposed to give your first daughter to David, and you didn't do it. You fudged on that one, but you still have Michael here, and we can still keep your word, and let's give Michael to David as his wife because she loves him. And this pleases Saul.

Why? Because Saul says, oh, I've always wanted my daughter Michael to marry a hero like David. Or, oh, isn't this wonderful? Now David, the champion, can become my son-in-law.

No, no, no, no. Here's what pleased him. He's scheming already on how he can get rid of David, and so he comes to David, and he said, I'll let you have my daughter Michael as your bride, and you won't have to pay a dowry of money. I know you're a poor shepherd boy.

You don't have anything saved up, but we have to have some kind of dowry, and I'll tell you what the dowry is. I want the foreskins of the Philistines taken in battle. And so Saul says, give me one hundred foreskins of the Philistines, and take vengeance on the king's enemy.

Why did he do that? The Scriptures tell us in verse 26, but Saul thought to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines. He wasn't trying to honor David. He was trying to destroy him. What price, fame, and fortune, to be suddenly thrust as a target for the jealousy of raging men.

That was the lot of David. The hearts of men haven't changed, have they? Envy, jealousy, revenge, there's really nothing new under the sun. But as we learn today from Dr. R.C. Sproul, those things don't belong in the lives of God's people. I hope you'll stay with us here on Renewing Your Mind.

R.C. will have a final thought for us in just a moment. There are many things that are not the same, but there are many things that are not the same. There are many things that are not the same. There are many things that are not the same.

There are many things that are not the same. There are so many important themes we're learning about in this series on the life of David. Today we touched on Jonathan's loyalty to David.

We saw Saul's jealousy, and we saw David's honesty, all part of the framework of God's redemptive plan. Our resource offer today will help you connect the dots to see how the Old Testament relates to the New. It's the special edition of Dr. Sproul's series, Dust of Glory, a 57-part study tour exploring the themes and events of the Bible. And this special edition set provides an extra disc containing the study guides for the series.

So request Dust of Glory when you go to or when you call us at 800-435-4343. As we near the close of 2020, we look back on an eventful year, don't we? We look back on a global health and an economic crisis, increasing lawlessness and political unrest. But we as Christians are uniquely prepared for times like this. We may not know what's coming around the corner, but we do know that we've been entrusted with a message of salvation, and we here at Ligonier Ministries intend to faithfully proclaim that message. Your year-end gifts will put us on a strong financial footing as we press into 2021, proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ. So I want you to know how thankful we are for your financial support.

Now as promised, here's R.C. with a final thought. In our quorum Deo thought for today, I want us to look into our own souls and see how much jealousy resides there. It's an easy thing to deny, but it is so common. It is so normal and natural for human beings to be eaten away inside by an ungodly spirit of jealousy. Jealousy is never befitting in the life of the Christian, life of the Christian. And the only way I can know to combat that effectively in our own lives, to transcend that human penchant and tendency towards jealousy, is that every time we feel the slightest twinge of jealousy, we need to make that be a light bulb go off in our minds, a jolt to our memory systems, and remember at that moment that this is a sin against God. It is an assault against His kindly providence. If I am jealous for what somebody else has or for what somebody else enjoys that I lack, my jealousy signals immediately my displeasure with the very government of God who gives and who takes away. And so I need to be reminded of that the first instant a feeling of jealousy comes. Next week we'll discover some of the tragic results of Saul's jealousy. So I hope you'll join us for the message titled, Saul's Judgment and David's Blessing, here on Renewing Your Mind. Thank you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-13 19:49:08 / 2024-01-13 19:56:56 / 8

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