I am preparing to teach during our 5th-6th grade retreat in a couple of weeks. The weekend’s theme is overcoming our sin nature. One of the ways that our sin nature manifests itself is through the green eyed monster of jealousy. The prime manifestation of our sin nature is our selfishness. The green eyed monster of jealousy stems from our selfishness. Here is the Greek definition of the word translated into English as selfish, “This is being upset because someone got something and you did not. Instead of rejoicing with that person, you get upset because you wanted it“. Jealousy is a twin sister with envy. The difference is, jealousy produces envy. Envy means not only are you upset at what others have, you want it and if you cannot have it, you will destroy what they have so that the other person can be miserable with you. We are going to see how this place out in a real life situation between King Saul and the future King David.
Before we get into the study, there is one more thing I would like to mention about people who are controlled by jealousy. According to Galatians, the Apostle Paul writes that, ” that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God”. Jealousy is a terrible thing and, it not overcome, will keep people from inheriting the kingdom of heaven. There are many “church goers” who are, unfortunately, controlled by jealousy. This is a problem that needs to be addressed and resolved. Let’s take a look at I Samuel 18:5-16:
So David went out wherever Saul sent him, and prospered; and Saul set him over the men of war. And it was pleasing in the sight of all the people and also in the sight of Saul’s servants. It happened as they were coming, when David returned from killing the Philistine, that the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with joy and with musical instruments. The women sang as they played, and said, “Saul has slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands.” Then Saul became very angry, for this saying displeased him; and he said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, but to me they have ascribed thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom?” Saul looked at David with suspicion from that day on. Now it came about on the next day that an evil spirit from God came mightily upon Saul, and he raved in the midst of the house, while David was playing the harp with his hand, as usual; and a spear was in Saul’s hand. Saul hurled the spear for he thought, “I will pin David to the wall.” But David escaped from his presence twice. Now Saul was afraid of David, for the LORD was with him but had departed from Saul. Therefore Saul removed him from his presence and appointed him as his commander of a thousand; and he went out and came in before the people. David was prospering in all his ways for the LORD was with him.
When Saul saw that he was prospering greatly, he dreaded him. But all Israel and Judah loved David, and he went out and came in before them.
I. Saul, a man controlled by jealousy
At first, Saul and David were friends. Saul liked David. David returned the feeling by serving Saul with all of his heart. Along the way, as the two worked together, David prospered because he was a man after God’s own heart. He was sincere in his service of the Lord by serving Saul. God’s favor was upon David and the people began to take notice. The people whom David served with sincerity loved him and showed their praise. They also praised Saul but, they praised David more. This stirred Saul’s sin nature and he was very jealous of David. Instead of being happy that he had a great servant in David, Saul was angry. This is what jealousy does to a person. Instead of giving David his due honor, he got angrier and angrier. This began to eat away at Saul’s relationship with David. Jealousy will not allow a person to give another person his or her due respect. Saul gave up control and his sin nature took over, leading him to do some nasty things.
II. Saul’s jealousy turns to envy
As I wrote earlier, envy is a twin sister to jealousy. If jealousy is left unchecked, it quickly gives way to envy. Saul is not only jealous of David, he allows jealousy to turn to envy. Saul cannot stand the praise that David receives and instead of enjoying his own praise, he tries to stop David from being praised. He decided to murder David. The Lord protected David but Saul did not seem to mind. If Saul could not enjoy more praise than David, he was going to stop David from receiving any praise. Envy leads us to destroy the source of our jealousy. Since Saul that he could not stop David, he sent David away. David continued to prosper. The anger that Saul had toward David turned to dread. Jealousy and envy end up hurting the one who is controlled by them. Untimely, they will destroy the person. The ironic thing is, the one whom jealousy and anger are aimed at, if he or she is walking with the Lord, is not negatively impacted.
III. God’s solution for jealousy
As we have seen, jealousy comes naturally to us because it is part of our sin nature. On our own, we cannot overcome it. We need help from an outside source. God gives us the answer in Titus 3:3-5:
For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,
The solution begins with God. He has to do something to us to set us free from our natural tendency towards being jealous. We need to be rescued from ourselves. God is our Rescuer, our Savior, and He makes it possible for us to overcome our sin nature. He regenerates us, or, as Jesus put it, God causes us to be born again. He changes us from the inside out. Once we are born again, the Holy Spirit continually renews us, exhorting us to listen to the Lord instead of our sin nature. Instead of being jealous of others, we rejoice with them when good things happen and mourn with them when bad things happen. We begin to see people the way God does. We appreciate people instead of seeking to tear them down.
What about you, my dear friend, are you consumed by jealousy? Does it control you instead of you overcoming it? If you do nothing to check jealousy, it will control you. You are predisposed to it because of your sin nature. If you have been born again, are you choosing to listen to the Holy Spirit or giving in to your jealous desires? May the Lord help us overcome our jealous nature, moment by moment, day by day!