Summary: Don't let envy ruin your life. Celebrate the success of others. Be grateful for what God has given you.
We are going to see the destructive power of ENVY in the life of King Saul.
• What the difference between jealousy and envy? To envy is to want something which belongs to another person, like wanting someone’s fame and success.
• Jealousy is the fear that something which we possess will be taken away by another person, like we are afraid that the affections of a loved one might be lost to a rival.
• Very often they comes together and you can see them as two sides of the same coin.
Envy destroys. It is going to ruin Saul’s life. Let’s read 1 Sam 18:5-16.
David has been very successful in his campaigns. Saul promoted him because of this.
• He was so consistently successful that the nation began to take notice of him and celebrate his great achievements.
• A song was even written about his victories and the chorus goes like this: “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.” (18:7)
We have no reason to doubt that this was incorrect. The people recognizes it.
• With the many successful campaigns that David had led, it would be true that he has slain more than Saul.
• But something was birthed in Saul’s heart when he heard that, because it caused him to be very angry. That something is ENVY.
• Saul became jealous of David’s growing popularity and fame. Instead of being thankful that he has a great fighter in David, Saul let envy took over.
ENVY eventually ruined his life. Envy destroys, don’t take it lightly.
• The first spark of envy is ANGER. “Saul was very angry…” (18:8). We are UNHAPPY that others are doing better than us.
• It does not stop there. SUSPICION sets in. Saul thought, “What more can he get but the kingdom?” (18:8c). He felt threatened.
• 18:9 “And from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David.” It need not be real; it’s all in the mind.
And that’s not all. Envy leads to angry, suspicion and FEAR. This was mentioned 3 times in this chapter:
• 18:12 “Saul was afraid of David…”
• 18:15 “When Saul saw how successful he was, he was afraid of him.”
• 18:29 “Saul became still more afraid of him, and he remained his enemy the rest of his days.”
You realise again that this FEAR need not be real. It just needs to be in your mind.
• By now we can actually have a clear picture of David’s character and his heart. More or less, we can tell what kind of a person David is.
• I don’t foresee him trying to kill Saul for the throne. David honours God and honours God’s anointed, we see that later in chapter 26.
• Yet Saul was gripped by fear and he wanted to kill David.
• ENVY destroys you. It leads to anger, suspicion, fear and attempted murder.
Two shopkeepers were bitter rivals. Their stores were directly across the street from each other, and they would spend each day keeping track of each other’s business. If one got a customer, he would smile in triumph at his rival.
One night an angel appeared to one of the shopkeepers in a dream and said, “I will give you anything you ask, but whatever you receive, your competitor will receive twice as much. Would you be rich? You can be very rich, but he will be twice as wealthy. Do you wish to live a long and healthy life? You can, but his life will be longer and healthier. What is your desire?”
The man frowned, thought for a moment, and then said, “Here is my request: Strike me blind in one eye!”
That’s what happens when we let envy take roots in our hearts. All sound judgement is gone.
What follows in the next 2 chapters is a rapid-fire recounting of Saul’s 6 attempts on David’s life, 3 in chapter 18 and another 3 in chapter 19.
1. 18:10-11 - He tries to kill David with a spear. “I’ll pin David to the wall,” he says, but David escaped, twice.
2. 18:12-16 - He makes David a commander over a 1000 and sent him out for more battles, hoping that he will be killed at war. But he was successful.
3. 18:17-29 - Saul then offers David his oldest daughter Merab, and then his second daughter Michal in marriage, both times David turned down because he says “I’m only a poor man and little known.” (18:23)
• David would not be able to pay the bridal price but that’s was what Saul was getting at.
• 18:25 Saul replied, “Say to David, ‘The king wants no other price for the bride than a hundred Philistine foreskins, to take revenge on his enemies.’” Saul's plan was to have David fall by the hands of the Philistines.