18 And thou hast shewed this day how that thou hast dealt well with me: forasmuch as when the Lord had delivered me into thine hand, thou killedst me not.
19 For if a man find his enemy, will he let him go well away? wherefore the Lord reward thee good for that thou hast done unto me this day.
As we discussed yesterday (Do not live with envy), we have choices to make when we come up against jealousy, whether we are the victim or, perhaps, the one who is tempted. Saul had fallen prey to the sin of envy. He was jealous of David’s popularity and realized that David would be the people’s choice to be king. This led him to try to kill David many times. The incident mentioned in this chapter of the first book of Samuel concerns another failed attempt that puts Saul in David’s power. David is tempted to slay Saul and is encouraged by those around him to take advantage of Saul’s vulnerability, but refrains because of his respect for God’s law.
How often in our present day we are encouraged to “get back” at those who have done us wrong. Violence escalates from words to actions, and one action to many even more violent actions involving more and more people. Family members against family members; neighbor against neighbor; country against country! Where does it end? It has been known to end in murder, feuds, and even wars. So much of the violence in our world is caused by someone or some group wanting what someone else has. We need to examine how we respond to the injustices we suffer. Could we be as generous as David was? I’m sure that most of us will never have to worry about someone killing us because we are more popular or have more than another. But when we look at some of the headlines of the past few years, we can name actors and actresses, sports stars and political figures that have been killed for just those reasons.
We will never be able to prevent people from acting out of jealousy in our world. However we can be satisfied with what we have and not be jealous of our neighbor. We can also refrain from retaliation when faced with the actions of others.
Lord, please keep our eyes focused on you and not fall into the trap of envying the possessions of others. Amen.