Summary: King Saul has been consumed by jealousy over David’s popularity. This jealousy turned to hatred fueling his desire to kill David. Jonathan had to choose loyalty to his Father, or his best friend David.

The Game of Thrones- Israel’s Experience with Human Kings”

“A House Divided”

In the darkest hours of the Civil War President Abraham Lincoln quoted Jesus when he said: “A house divided cannot stand.”

This morning we are returning to our series of messages under the theme: “The Game of Thrones: Israel’s Experience with Human Kings.” A House Divided.

King Saul has been consumed by jealousy over David’s popularity. This jealousy turned to hatred fueling his desire to kill David, creating a deep personal dilemma for Jonathan who had to choose loyalty to his Father, or his best friend David.

The Lord had withdrawn His favor because of Saul's disobedient and unrepentant heart. And although Saul's behavior may be extreme, isn’t it generally true that when we are no longer following God's will for our lives, we start to experience a general lack of peace and joy?

Throughout I Samuel we have watched the tragic unraveling of Saul’s life and his kingship. He was anointed as king so that he could be blessed by God and thus be a blessing to others. His constant acts of disobedience to the word of God resulted in a forfeiture of those blessings.

We know that David entered the king's service as a harpist, to relieve Saul's troubled mind. David had won a great victory for the king over Goliath and the Philistines. But our chapter starts with Saul issuing orders for his son Jonathan and all his attendants to kill David. Why?

At first it appeared as though David was to have nothing but honor. The king obeyed his good impulse, and gave the young hero high promotion among his officers, with the evident approval of the soldiers and all the people. But a black cloud of jealousy soon gathered.

I Samuel 18:5-9

All too quickly Saul's admiration of David has turned to anger to jealousy, which led to hatred. This is the same situation that Cain had with his brother Abel. Jealousy turned to rage and Cain, even when warned by God, killed his brother. And so we find (read I Samuel 18:10 b)

“…David was playing the harp as he usually did. Saul had a spear in his hand and he hurled it, saying to himself, ‘I’ll pin David to the wall.’ But David eluded him.”

It was the unanimous love of the people for David that drove a wedge between him and King Saul.

I Samuel 18:27b-29

“….Saul gave David his daughter Michal in marriage. When Saul realized that the Lord was with David and that his daughter Michal loved David, Saul became more afraid of him and he remained his enemy the rest of his days.”

I Samuel 19:9b, 10,11 (read)

The real problem with jealousy is that it so hard to contain. Once it takes hold of us, it becomes an all-absorbing passion, and sadly, all too often, it can lead to actions we later regret. Certainly that was the case with Saul. The very next day – just as we read in chapter 19 – he tries to pin David to the wall. But David escapes with the help of his wife Michal, who lets him down on a rope. She then delays the soldiers long enough for David to get away. David flees to Ramah, to the house of Samuel, the great prophet who led Israel for many years and who anointed him as king.


There is a fable of an eagle which could out fly another, and the other didn’t like it. The latter saw a sportsman one day, and said to him:

"I wish you would bring down that eagle." The sportsman replied that he would if he only

had some feathers to put into the arrow. So the eagle pulled one out of his wing. The arrow

was shot, but didn’t quite reach the rival eagle; it was flying too high. The envious eagle

pulled out more feathers, and kept pulling them out until he lost so many that he couldn’t fly,

and then the sportsman turned around and killed him. My friend, if you are jealous, the only

man you can hurt is yourself.”

Why do you suppose many people allow jealousy to hinder their relationships, spiritual growth or ministry? The Jews became infuriated with jealousy toward Paul and Barnabas when they preached that God’s blessings were now available to all Gentiles. Quickly, the Jews whipped up antagonistic opposition against Paul and Barnabas. Luke wrote, "When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy, and began contradicting the things spoken by Paul and were blaspheming." (Acts 13:45)

I’m sure you remember what happened to Joseph because his brothers were jealous over a multi colored coat given to Joseph by his father Jacob.

They were so jealous they wanted to kill him and almost did…. had it not been for a caravan of Ishmaelites passing through the region on their way to Egypt. The oldest brother, Reuben, convinced the others that rather than kill Joseph they should sell him into slavery- they could be rid of him and at the same time make some money as well.

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