Refined by the Word yet again … ouch

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The past few mornings I have been reading in 1 Samuel. 

These are familiar passages, not just because of past years of reading through the Bible. 

Sermons listened to, Sunday school lessons attended and taught, my own pondering of the accounts covering Samuel’s birth and David’s reign plus several Bible studies have opened up deeper and deeper understanding over the years.

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Yet every single time I read through 1 Samuel, another layer of scales is removed from my eyes and I see God and humankind, and thus my own flawed self, more clearly. 

Today I have multiple passages starred and some new question marks in the margin, but here is the one I will share with you today. 

First the passage:

The next day an ugly mood was sent by God to afflict Saul, who became quite beside himself, raving. David played his harp, as he usually did at such times. Saul had a spear in his hand. Suddenly Saul threw the spear, thinking, “I’ll nail David to the wall.” David ducked, and the spear missed. This happened twice.

Now Saul feared David. It was clear that God was with David and had left Saul. So, Saul got David out of his sight by making him an officer in the army…Everything David did turned out well. Yes, God was with him. As Saul saw David becoming more successful, he grew more fearful. …But everyone else in Israel and Judah loved David. They loved watching him in action.

1 Samuel 18: 10-16 selected passages The Message

As background for “the next day”, the previous day found David returning victorious from battle and the women of the city poured out to sing how Saul kills by the thousand but David kills by tens of thousand. 

Saul was angry and felt threatened by this younger and more popular warrior. His attitude toward David turned irreversibly at that time. Saul was entering himself into the comparison game and losing.

So we see Saul feeling threatened and this insecurity gives rise to  a violent anger expressed in throwing a spear across the room at David with intent to kill….twice. 

And yet in verse 12, we are told it was Saul who feared David. 

I would think it would be reversed. I imagine if I were in David’s shoes, even just playing an instrument in the presence of a crazy man holding a big old spear would be a little intimidating. 

But nope…it is Saul who is fear-filled. 

Obviously David did not operate in fear, because he showed up another day for the same audience with the same scowling face and the same spear nearby for an encore performance. 

Saul schemes plan after plan to kill David off and by the time we get to verse 29 the fruit of all of this is revealed:

…his (Saul’s) fear of David increased and settled into hate. Saul hated David. 

1 Samuel 18: 29 The Message

We can see the clear progression of this:

Competion leads to Jealousy that leads to Fear that leads to Increased Fear that leads to Hatred.

None of these characteristics are godly. 

We are told not to compare ourselves to others.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others.

Phillipians 2:3-4

We are told to not be envious. 

For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

James 3:16

We are told to not fear. 

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

1 John 4:18

We are told to not hate.

But I (Jesus) tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

Matthew 5:44

It makes me think about the way the planting of small seeds goes.

Comparison begins in our minds, maybe based on visible evidence, and this leads to envy/jealousy which leads to fear that we won’t get what we think should be ours. This leads to increased fear and finally we dive deep into hatred of the one we think has stolen what was never ours to have.

Wow. 

God’s word really is a sharp knife. 

I am so thankful for it. 

We can reverse the downward descent from comparison to hatred by drawing close to God using the passages above as prayers for Him to make us more like Jesus.

God bless you today and if I stepped on your toes, it was with my own bruised feet, my friend <3

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