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Catching The Thief Called Jealousy–Part 2 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
April 22, 2024 1:00 am

Catching The Thief Called Jealousy–Part 2 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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April 22, 2024 1:00 am

We all like to build our own individual kingdoms. King Saul, unlike David, was blinded by his jealousy, unable to see God was ultimately in charge. In this message from Psalm 27, Pastor Lutzer shows three areas which expose jealously in our hearts: control, companionship, and contentment. Are we willing to relinquish control?

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Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. Eventually, being jealous of someone else ends badly. It's far better to see ourselves as God sees us and thereby be content. Today, more teaching on catching the thief called jealousy, as exemplified by Israel's King Saul. Also, teaching on the answer to this debilitating emotion.

Stay with us. From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, Saul chasing down David for so long seems ultimately pointless. Well, David turned out to be pointless because David was able to escape from Saul, but Saul had these emotions that he wanted to work out. He was very jealous. I need to tell you, Dave, and of course you all know this, everyone who is listening knows, that so often the story is this.

A young person comes into an organization and is more gifted than his boss, and what does his boss do? He tries to destroy this young person. Jealousy, a terrible sin, envy, covetousness. The Bible speaks about all of these sins that we so seldom mention, and that's why this message is so important. And speaking of this, I've written a book entitled Living with Your Passions. It does deal with David's sin of lust and desire, but the intention of the book is to help us to navigate our way in a nation that is awash with sexuality. So for now, let's listen to God's word, but at the end of this broadcast, I'm going to be giving you info as to how this book can be yours.

Let's listen carefully. The sixth difficulty in keeping promises. Difficulty in keeping promises. You see, Jonathan, who is Saul's son, talks to his dad and says, in effect, dad, please don't do all these things to David. David doesn't want to get back at you. David is not going to kill you to get the kingdom. And so Saul changes his mind, and it says in chapter 19 that Saul said verse six. In fact, he vowed chapter 19 verse six, as the Lord lives, he shall not be put to death. And yet in the very same passage, we read verse 10 and Saul tried to pin David to the wall with a spear, but he slipped out of Saul's presence so that he struck the spear into the wall and David fled and escaped that night.

Let me ask you something. When Saul made a vow and says, David shall not die, was he sincere? Of course he was sincere. People who have these kinds of torments within the soul are very sincere. The only problem is because they have not dealt with the core of their problem, they continue to repeat at the same cycle of behavior. I've heard it a hundred times.

Maybe that's an exaggeration, but it's close. An angry, vicious, jealous man beats up on his wife and so she decides to leave and then he begins to cry and he begins to beg, Oh, please stay. I promise you this will never happen again. I promise you that I will change. I promise. I promise.

I promise. Does he mean it? Of course he means it within the limitations of his own shriveled soul. Does he fulfill his promise? Of course not, because he has not dealt with the basic fundamental problem of who he is before God.

Number seven, irrational desire for control, an irrational desire for control. If you were to read the next chapters, what is Saul doing? Here he is. He's the king of Israel. He's got business to look after because his job was not just ceremonial.

I mean, he was running a country and what is he doing? He is spending 10 years pursuing David, sometimes personally. Can you get this?

The king running from cave to cave in the Hills of Judah trying to pursue David, trying to personally kill the guy. Irrational. Of course it's irrational. Possessiveness.

He wants to control, manipulate, finagle somehow his will has to be done and his rival has to be put out of the way. So here you have a man who falls in love with a woman. By the way, I usually am putting men in bad light in this series. Got in a letter or two saying, what makes you think that all the problems are with the men and not with the women? Well, when I use the word he, you can just broaden that a little bit and recognize that sometimes it includes she also.

Okay. But here's a man who grew up in a home that lacked love and so he is exceedingly jealous. He's dating this woman and he doesn't want her to talk with anybody else. Exclusively she is supposed to only talk and be friends with him. She thinks, Oh, this man just loves me to death. He just loves me.

So they married because they're in love after they're married. What does he do? I don't want you calling anybody on the phone unless I know about it. I don't want you to be in contact with your mother and your father. I want you to cut off all your friendships.

Why? The man is terrorized. He fears betrayal. He fears that something will be said about him that will be uncomplimentary, that people are hatching plots and he can't stand the insecurity.

And so in order to make sure that he has somebody to fill this huge vacuum of love, which nobody can by the way, but to make sure that he thinks it's going to happen, he puts demands on his wife that no wife can ever fulfill and she is trapped in a box of an angry, jealous, vicious man who thinks he's a fine Christian. Always have to add that because remember jealous people live in denial. Remember they've rationalized it all to them. It's a matter of honesty.

It's a matter of biblical truth of submission. You have to understand human beings. They're funny. This past week, somebody said, aren't people funny? They like to sit at the front of the bus, the back of the church and drive in the middle of the road.

Just get used to it. We're strange. Well, what is the answer? What is the answer?

Number one, the first issue that needs to be settled is the issue of control, the issue of control. I want you to notice that it says in verse 10 and now I'm back in first Samuel chapter 18 verse 10. Now it came about on the next day that an evil spirit from God came mightily upon soul and he raved in the midst of the house while David was playing the harp with his hand as usual and he tries to kill David. What in the world is this evil spirit from God doing in the king's palace terrorizing Saul, making him paranoid and a murderer? Answer. If you are going to live with jealousy in your heart, God will allow an evil spirit to so trouble you and so consume you that the jealousy will be all encompassing. Why? Is it because God likes to make things difficult?

Yes, sometimes he does. Psychiatrists are trying to make people feel good and sometimes God is trying to get people to feel mighty bad because what he wants them to do is to be brought to absolute repentance because they cannot live with themselves anymore. What Saul should have done in light of all of his terror is to simply say, God, I give it up. I give you the kingdom. Let David rule. Let him have it because I am your subject and your kingdom belongs to you.

It's part of the larger kingdom that rules the universe. God, I am your subject in the midst of it and I surrender my right to rule to you the living and the true God. Then the evil spirit from the Lord would have had to cease his work parenthetically, no extra charge, no second offering.

Think this through. Imagine Saul going to a contemporary humanistic secular psychiatrist and they're trying to figure out the cause of the jealousy and of course they're finding it in Saul's background, which may be true. All kinds of interesting things are coming to the surface in the midst of these long drawn out sessions, but unfortunately missing is any understanding of the spirit world and the relationship of people to God and the relationship of people to demons. And so that's why all of the attempts to resolve the matter are only a temporary and fail because behind it is a tremendous spiritual battle. You say, well, was this true also of others that were jealous?

Oh yes, yes, yes. Remember I told you that Cain killed Abel, the story that you know so well. What does it say in first John chapter three verse 12? It says, why did Cain kill Abel? It is because he was of that wicked one.

He was of the devil because the devil wants you to be jealous and then the devil wants you to fight back and preferably to kill if necessary to get that rival out of the way. The issue of control. Do you realize today my friend that God has every right to have somebody else bypass you in the promotional matter? Even those who know less than you do. Do you realize that God has the right to help you to enable somebody else to be a success and then because of your hard work, that person get the credit and that person get the commotion, the other commotion, the promotion.

What you wish he will get is commotion, but he gets the promotion. Do you realize that it's perfectly okay for God to allow some of us to be born into homes where brothers and sisters were more gifted and talented and better looking than we are and that we become as it were the unloved one of the family? Did you know that that's okay? Have you been willing to accept that kind of control?

One day I saw a kid in a stroller, a little boy, and he had this steering wheel and he was just turning it in a frenzy and you know what? It didn't affect the direction he was going at all because it wasn't connected to anything that mattered and you know there are people like that. You know you think about Saul here. What is Saul trying to do? He's trying to manipulate to keep the kingdom. He's saying I can't let the kingdom go. Listen, the kingdom is in God's hands. Now mind you, sometimes there is the illusion of control.

Sometimes the little boy in the stroller does go the same direction that he steers. For 10 long years God let Saul still be king and gave him the illusion of control but ultimately at God's moment David became the king. Some of you are hanging on because you don't want a rival. Some of you are unwilling to give up the control of your life to God as if you think your scheming, your manipulation, the things that you do is going to accomplish what you want, your control, your possessiveness, your whatever. Give it up. Give it up.

It's like a molecule thinking that it can control the universe. Just give it up. There's a second issue and we're looking now at the soul almost as an onion that needs to be peeled away to get to the core. The second issue is companionship.

If the first one is control, the second is companionship. What you must be willing to do is to give other people and those relationships over to God. Stop blaming them for the way you feel. Stop blaming them for betraying you. You need to love even those that are your rivals. Find somebody whom you hate and learn to love them. That's the Christian duty.

That's the Christian responsibility because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who is given unto us and as we receive the Spirit in his fullness, he will enable us to love people who are our rivals and decidedly unlovable. Third, it's the issue of contentment. Are you content with who you are? Are you content with your relationship with God? Are you content with the way in which God put you together where he has planted you, your circumstances, your role in life? Are you willing to so submit that to God and say, I am going to be content.

I've got your promises and I've got your love and I can make it. Jesus said, are you envious because God is generous? By the way, let me ask you that question. Are you envious because God is generous? Have you ever noticed that God sometimes blesses some people more than he should?

I see that all the time. I mean, God blesses all kinds of people that I wouldn't bless if I were God. He is so generous. Is your eye envious because God is generous? Jesus said, cannot I do as I will with those who are my own? Do you realize that in being jealous, you are trying to play God and telling him how to run his world? Give it up.

Give your reputation to him. Give your station in life to God and simply say it is in your hands. Saul didn't. He ended up committing suicide because he said, I would rather die a suicide than give up the kingdom.

Let me tell you the story of a friend of mine who was a minister and because of immorality, he had to resign from his church. But even worse than that, he did some other things that made a reconciliation with his church and with his family basically impossible. I met with him this summer for a couple of hours and this is essentially the way he told me his story and I will reconstruct it as I remember it. He said, I want you to think of my life as being a shell and in that shell is my soul. He said, all of my life who I was was totally determined by what other people thought of me.

Of course, he struggled with jealousy because anybody who is held hostage to the opinions of others has to be jealous because what if they begin to think better of somebody else and speak ill of you and good about somebody else, you see? He said, everything that I was was determined by my vocation and the people who affirmed me. He said, I hated confrontation because that always meant that there might be somebody who doesn't like me and I found that very difficult to take. Now, he said, I want you to visualize that because of what I did instantly, he said, in the minds of all of the people whose opinion I depended on in their minds, I was now the scum of the earth.

Furthermore, he said, all of the props that held me up were actually props that were not only kicked out from under me, but they became clubs by which I was clubbed by my family and by my friends. He said, I was so filled with shame and so filled with guilt that when I woke up in the morning, my question was, how do I go about putting one foot ahead of the other and somehow make it through the day? He said, if I had had the guts, I would have committed suicide. He said, you have to understand that when I began then to confess my sin and to get right with God and to read the Bible, he said, all that I could offer God was my raw unprotected soul. I had nothing else, no friend, no affirmation, nothing. Unprotected soul, no longer hiding behind the opinions of others.

It's all that it was. And he said, there in my despair, he said, God began to put me together to assure me that I'd been forgiven despite the terrible, terrible things that I've done to help me to understand that I was accepted and even that I was loved by God despite my terrible sin. And he said, in those awful days, I had only God to cling to and look to him alone for my reason to live and for any value that I might still have. That is the heart finally of the wounded soul to come to God and to say, God, all of the rivalry that I so fear, all of the jealousy of those that are around me, all of the things that I thought about you, the way you created me and my place in life and, and, and the way I am. And I'm not successful and I'm standing in the shadow of others who are better than I. Oh God, I give it to you and I'm finished. I surrender the control of my life to you.

I receive your love. I receive your forgiveness and I'll look to you for my reason to live. Do you know why God put David through 10 years of running from Saul? It's to take the soul out of David's heart because if David had just become King right after the Goliath experience, he'd have been another Saul because, pardon the poetry in me, there's a little bit of Saul in us all. And God says, I have to take the soul out of your heart. He has to take the soul out of my heart. He has to take the soul out of yours and he does it by putting us in circumstances and difficulties that keep making us look to him for our value and our reason to live. That's why David could say the Lord is the strength of my light. Of whom shall I be afraid? What he was saying was all the spear throwers, and some of you live with spear throwers, all of those spear throwers, I've committed them to God and I believe that God will defend me.

That's the issue of control. David said the issue of companionship. He said in the same song, I will meditate, Oh Lord in thy temple and my thoughts shall be of thee. And then of course, comfort at the end of the Psalm, he says, though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will pick me up. Did you know that David was an unloved child? There's evidence in the Bible that he was unloved as the last born and that's why he still struggles in his old age with his parents.

That's why he said in Psalm 27, though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will pick me up. Wait on the Lord, he says, and God will strengthen. God will heal your heart. I say to you today, just give it up.

Just give it up. Let's pray. Our father, we pray that in all the struggles and the jealousies and the rivalries and the dissatisfactions of our heart, would you come and heal us today? Heal those who think that they've gotten raw deals. Heal those who would rejoice in the failure of a rival. Come and heal us, father. You have the right to put us in the kingdom where you want us to be and to remove us when it's time for us to go. So we submit our own little kingdoms to you today.

If the job lasts, if it doesn't last, we submit that to you. We thank father of those who were born in homes where there was so much strife and such a lack of love and today they are possessive and they're fearful of relationships because they know that it confronts all the pain of their childhood. Would you reach down, father, and be merciful and just minister to them too? Lord, we do pray that you will meet us in our need and heal the souls of those who are wounded today. In Jesus' name.

Amen. Well, the relevance of this message is very obvious, isn't it? I can't help but think that there are many of you who are listening who think that this indeed does apply to you. You are being unjustly criticized, unjustly pursued, or maybe you're the one who is being overcome by jealousy. You know, in my ministry, it's been my privilege oftentimes to encourage pastors who frequently have been criticized unjustly. And one of the things I like to tell them is this, that your friends can take you to your potential, only your enemies can take you beyond it. And that certainly is true of David, isn't it?

Saul tried to destroy him but in the process, David was driven into the arms of God and many of the beautiful Psalms that we enjoy today were written when he was running from Saul. Well, I'm holding in my hands a book entitled Living with Your Passions. By the way, it also includes an entire chapter on the life of David because as you know, great man that he was, he fell into the sin of immorality and that led to other sins. It's interesting to see the consequences.

It's always interesting also to see the forgiveness that he received. But the purpose of my book is to help us navigate our sexual culture. I think it'll be a blessing and help to you, it'll help you even as you minister to your children. Now very quickly, hope that you have a pen or pencil handy, I'm going to be giving you some contact info because for a gift of any amount, this book can be yours. Go to That's or you can call us at 1-888-218-9337. In advance, I want to thank you so much for supporting this ministry. Remember the title of the book, Living with Your Passions.

Right now, go to or pick up the phone and call us at 1-888-218-9337. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60614. Running to Win is all about helping you find God's roadmap for your race of life. Pastor Erwin Lutzer helping all of us realize the dark side of jealousy. This message has been another in a series on pulling together in a world tearing apart. Next time, overcoming empty obsessions, ending those fixations that override our reason. Plan to join us. Thanks for listening. This is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-04-22 02:08:12 / 2024-04-22 02:16:59 / 9

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