David and Saul

Open Your Bible

1 Samuel 18:1-30, 1 Samuel 19:1-24, Psalm 59:1-17

Scripture Reading: 1 Samuel 18:1-30, 1 Samuel 19:1-24, Psalm 59:1-17

It all started with pride and a hankering for toast.

With a freshly ironed shirt and crisp college degree, I walked through the doors of my new job and stepped into a schedule full of meetings and a to-do list of fires to put out. Literally.

Soon after becoming acquainted with the office kitchen and its various coffee creamers and water bottles, I found myself staring into a tiny toaster smelling very burnt toast. The piece of bread was mine, of course, but its transformation into unrecognizable burnt crumbles made me feel as if I had no business being near baked goods of any kind, ever. I looked around the empty room, wondering when the toast’s lunatic owner, ahem, would rescue it from the smoke-producing heat.

I regularly find myself feeling neglectful like this in the kitchen, but I can also be careless with my thought life too. Envy starts a fire in my heart, causing my feelings to combust from the inside out. From seemingly nowhere, jealousy rears its ugly head, just in time for me to realize these terrible thoughts are unfortunately, actually mine (all mine!)—unlike my friend’s new engagement ring, vacation plans, promotion, or instagram attention, which caused my emotions to boil over in the first place. I truly want to celebrate these things for my friend (I do!), but turning away from my good intentions for even five seconds leaves these feelings to roast unattended over an open flame.

Envy might be the only sin that never feels good, not even for a moment. Other sins give us fleeting pleasure or empty promises, but envy hands us a box of matches and permission to light the fire. And before we know it, we’re in a room full of smoke.

In 1 Samuel 18, there’s a friendly celebration happening, the kind we intend to give the people we love as a way to congratulate them. Saul is great! David is great! We all have tambourines! But envy creeps into Saul’s heart when he hears, “Saul has killed his thousands, but David his tens of thousands” (v.7, emphasis mine).

The matches are lit, and Saul is off to kill David. That escalated quickly, didn’t it? I’m not sure Saul even knows how he got there, but then I remember my own failed attempts to rescue bread from the kitchen toaster. (I grabbed a paper towel to smother the flames, which of course, actually made them worse.) So, I can understand why Saul would want to get rid of any evidence pointing directly to his failures.

I’ll bet Saul had one word ringing in his head that may sound familiar to you and me: mine. He wanted to claim it all as his—the glory, the credit, the recognition, the love. (Can anyone else relate?)

Although David seemed to have it all together, he only had one quality worth envying: the presence of the One who actually does hold it all together. In these two chapters, we see the phrase “God with David” four times. This is what sets David apart. This is what Saul wants. This is what we all want. Our cries may say “Mine!,” but all we ever really want is for Someone to choose us, to adopt us as their own.

The glory, the credit, the recognition, the love—they’re all the Lord’s. And friends, so are we. He smothers the flames of envy by showing us we already belong. After all, it all started with love and a hankering for home.

“You are my strength, I sing praise to you;
 you, God, are my fortress,
my God on whom I can rely.”
– Psalm 59:17


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65 thoughts on "David and Saul"

  1. Tyasia Goodwin says:

    We are all saved by grace through faith. None of us are able to boast in how much we love God, but only in how much He loves us.

    I think it’s fine to admire other people’s walk with the Lord but consider you don’t know what they have been through to get there secondly, when it comes to you the LORD delights in your desire for him. Give him you and the LORD will be pleased. Not sure if that helps but focus on you and your King. ❤️ god bless you

  2. Annika Kruger says:

    Good evening all. Hope I get a reply.

  3. Tara Beatty says:

    Envy- man! I read the comments (which I treasure, BTW) and think, “I do not envy much.” But that is a lie from the enemy himself. I envy all the time. I admit it, right here! I envy happy couples. I envy wives with husbands who love them and love God. Husbands who want their wives to enjoy their life. To have friends. To help and serve their wives. Who do things with their family. Who think of their family first. Ahhhh! I am jealous. This sin is eating at me. My husband works hard or worked hard for what we have and wants to enjoy all of his blessings doing what he wants to do. Fish and hunt – not close to home. We say “bye” to him often as he goes north to his hunting land or East to his fishing area. Without us. He would be fine for us to go with him, but we cannot just leave like he does. The kids have school or activities or there are so many things to take care of at home. Someone has to be at home doing them. So, if people are doing this study, I humbly ask for prayer. Prayer for my marriage. Prayer for my husbands walk with the Lord and his relationship with our family. And prayer for me and my envy of what I don’t have in my marriage. I need to lay it all at the feet of Jesus EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

  4. Audrey Flores says:

    Oh so good! I often find myself being envious of others I perceive to have a closer relationship or full trust with Jesus. But instead of praising them and asking Jesus to show me how I may achieve that in my personal way I go to very envious thoughts. Why don’t I have that? I wish I could sing like that. Why not me? Is basically what I ask. But God humbles me when others say I have pure faith. So I know it’s envy and the enemy trying to get me to not believe so His plans for me won’t succeed. I’ve been working on this but slipped up a lot tonight.

  5. Alyssa says:

    This comment is in response to Anna :

    I totally hear your heart, girl and understand where you’re thought process is coming from. First, you must acknowledge that those feelings and thoughts of envy are not YOUR thoughts. All the lies that fill our minds come straight from the enemy (Satan). To beat those lies, we must call them out and cover them in truth. I encourage you to really get alone and away with the Lord and ask Him to show you what His Word says about envy and jealousy. Look for scripture and verses that speak against that, then begin speaking out loud and praying those verses over your mind, your life.

    Other’s relationships with God is not your relationship with God. God loves each of us uniquely… not equally. Equally would imply that His love can me measured and it can not. Instead, He loves you as if there were only one of you… and there is only one of you. The love and gifts and passions He placed in you is to bring Him glory and to reflect your true identity. Envying over others’ unique love from God is only robbing you from fully embracing and stepping into who He has created you to be. He has placed you with gifts and abilities that He has created no one else to do. You are you! And He delights in that and wants to fully work and be that center stage in your life.

    You’re not alone, girl, this is something I definitely struggle with too. But this is why we need community and fellow sisters in Christ to come alongside of us and pray, encourage, and support us when these lies creep in. I pray this answered your question. If you would like to chat more, I would absolutely love to :)

    1. Tara Beatty says:

      What a beautiful response to Anna!

  6. Anna says:

    I know that I’m reading this late but if someone could reply that would be great! :)

    How do I deal with feelings of envy when they are directed at people who I think are ‘closer to God’? The study says that the fact that God was with David was something “worth envying”?

    The last bit, “He smothers the flames of envy by showing us we already belong” is helpful… but what if I feel like I don’t belong more than other people? How do I stop thinking like that and envying other people’s relationships with God?

    Thank you! :)

  7. Donnia says:

    This is what I want too, I want the present of the mighty God with me I want his works flowing through me so that when people see me they see him.