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The poison seed of ungodly jealousy

King Saul's jealousy of David

There are in the bible various forms or types of ‘Godly’ jealousy. These involve instances where a righteous zeal is expressed either by God Himself or by His servants. Here are some examples.

Exodus 20:5; Our God is a jealous God, who loves us so much and therefore forbids His people from idols to protect us from demons behind the idols.

Numbers 5:12-31; Where a jealous husband suspects his wife of infidelity, if she is innocent, she will then be able to conceive a child.

Number 25:11; Phinehas is jealous for God’s honour and His commandments

2 Corinthians 11:2; Paul is jealous to protect purity of Corinthian Church

However our subject today is ‘Ungodly’ Jealousy

Definition: ungodly jealousy is a negative emotion which often involves envy, mistrust , and suspicion. Jealousy is a form of covetousness. It changes the way people perceive others, their own life, and even their perception of God’s goodness and plan.

Biblical examples of ungodly jealousy are found below.

2 Corinthians 12:19-21 v20 includes ‘jealousies’ on the list of things that should not be in the church.

Galatians 5:19-21 v20 ‘jealousies’ (in KJV emulations) are included in the evil works of the flesh.

Case study

One of the clearest examples of ungodly jealousy was that of King Saul towards David, the son of Jesse. The story is found 1 Samuel Chapters 17-19 where the start of the ungodly jealousy and its ultimate consequences are clearly seen.

Picking up the story

In 1 Samuel 17, we saw David (who knew his covenant) killing the giant Goliath and initiating a great victory over the Philistines.

1 Samuel 18:1-4; Jonathan and David’s covenant is made

1 Samuel 18:5-9

Verse 5; David is promoted over the men of war, and everyone is pleased.

Verse 6; As the Israeli troops came home, they were welcomed with immense joy.

Verse 7; The women sang and danced for joy but ascribed only thousands slain by Saul but ten thousands by David.

Verse 8; The singing of the women caused a seed of jealousy to be sown in Saul’s heart which produced anger and displeasure, insecurity, and a sense inferiority in Saul.

Verse 9; Saul now viewed David with suspicion and mistrust.

Verse 10; Saul’s heart attitude appears to have opened a door to a distressing spirit which troubles Saul.

Verse 11; Saul’s jealousy drives him to attempt to murder David with a spear.

Verse 12; Saul now becomes afraid of David because Saul recognizes that God is with David.

Verse 13; Saul removes David out of sight by transferring his role in the army.

Verse 14; David behaves wisely demonstrating that the Lord was with him.

Verse 15; David’s wise behaviour made Saul even more frightened of him.

Verse 16; David’s shrewd behaviour made him a success, a hero, and loved by the people.

Verse 17; Saul’s plan B, is a deceitful plan. Saul promises his daughter in marriage if David goes to war, and Saul hopes that Philistines will kill David.

Verse 18; David is humbled at the very thought that he might become the king’s son-in-law.

Verse 19; Saul acts shamefully by giving the wife promised to David to another man.

Verse 20-21; Saul’s next daughter Michal loved David, Saul thought that she could work against David as a tender trap.

Verse 25; Saul plots again hoping the Philistines will kill David.

Verse 26; David was pleased with Saul’s idea for an alternative dowry for Michal’s hand in marriage.

Verse 27; David triumphs again giving Saul twice the amount asked for. Saul must give Michal to David.

Verse 29; Once Saul realizes how much Michal loves David, he is even more afraid of him.

Verse 30; David acts wisely as a commander and as a son-in-law of the King.

Saul’s every plan fails because his son Jonathan loves David, his daughter Michal and all people also love David.

The story goes on

Saul then arranges various further plots to try to kill David, including the murder of seventy-five priests at Nob.

Saul eventually dies in battle.

What Saul’s jealousy of David did to himself

The poison seed of jealousy entered Saul when he heard the women ascribe thousands to himself but ten thousands to David. This poison seed produced negative emotions in Saul including anger, displeasure, insecurity, and an inferiority complex. Saul now looked on David with suspicion and mistrust. This evil attitude of Saul’s heart permitted a distressing spirit to trouble him from time to time. David’s music gave Saul some relief from the distressing spirit but more than once Saul tried to kill David with his spear. Saul then tries various ploys involving Jonathan then Michal to get David killed by the hands of the Philistines. All these evil plans fail because God is with David. Saul’s downward spiral continues until he is eventually killed on the battlefield. What a tragic demise for King Saul who once was the Lord’s anointed.

Lessons for us today about ungodly jealousy

While it may seem trivial to be worried about an emotion like jealousy, it often leads people to act in ways that are harmful to themselves or others. Understanding what jealousy is, and recognizing it, can help shape the way believers deal with it, and so strengthen our walk with God.

Jealousy falls under the tenth commandment to not covet. Jealousy is the noun that relates to the state of being jealous: “feeling resentment against someone because of that person's rivalry, success, or advantages; inclined to or troubled by suspicions or fears of rivalry, unfaithfulness.”

It can also be the state of dislike for another’s goods, success, or even lifestyle. It begins with a sinful feeling or thought, but such a poisonous seed can lead us to acting in sinful ways that will not lead to happy endings in our lives.

I believe that the purpose of this study is that the Lord wants us to deal with any ungodly jealousy seeds sown into our hearts. This is achieved by confessing and repenting (1 John 1:9) so let us pray.

Father in the name of Jesus Christ we ask that your Holy Spirit come and convict us of our sin, including all jealousy of others including their success in life or ministry. Please forgive those of us who have acted wickedly through jealousy, insecurity, envy, fear, and mistrust even with your church and remove all the evil consequences from our situations.


Personal Prayer

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