3–9 September 2017.

1 Samuel 19–20 (click to read).

In 1 Samuel 20:1 David turns to his friend Jonathan, King Saul’s son, and in despair he asks: “What have I done? What is my crime? How have I offended your father that he is so determined to kill me?” In ch. 19, Jonathan had managed to calm his father down and stop his murderous fury. But that wasn’t the first time Saul tried to kill David, nor would it be the last. Just a few verses later, Saul is trying again to kill David. Why? What has David done to deserve so much hate?

Actually, the problem doesn’t really lie with David at all, but with Saul. Saul is incredibly jealous of David, jealous of his successes and his popularity, and that makes Saul scared – scared that David will take over the throne. That’s why Saul hates David so much.

Hate often grows out of jealousy. We know that bullies often hate because they are jealous of their victims. But jealousy itself often grows out of poor self-esteem. When we feel like we aren’t very good and then see other people doing well, it can make us feel even worse. We feel pathetic, we hate ourselves, then we get jealous of other people’s successes and start to hate them. This hate then pushes other people even further away from us.

Saul watched as his own children turned against him and loved David more. In ch. 19, Saul’s daughter Michal tricks her father to save David. And in ch. 20 Saul finally sees that even his own son Jonathan loves David more than him, and as a result Saul tries to kill Jonathan too. This jealousy is destroying Saul’s life, and tearing his family apart!

That’s so tragic because Saul should have had nothing to be jealous about! Saul was chosen by God to be king, anointed by prophets, and celebrated by all Israel. But amazingly, even with God and country on his side, Saul let the seeds of low self-esteem and jealousy grow in him.

Don’t we also often fall into this trap? It’s so easy for us to think that we are worthless, and that no one loves us or cares about us. And then jealousy, hate, and self-hate grow in us too. That’s a dangerous path to walk down. If you do find yourself thinking this way, please remember: God likes you. Never think that you are worthless. You aren’t! Stop hating yourself, and instead remember that God has chosen you, he loves you, and he values you so much. There is no need to be jealous of others – because God loves you just as much as everyone else.

Pastor Stephen Lakkis