I know that what I am going to say first doesn’t have much if anything to do with our Bible reading for today. But I just wanted you to know that Boise State is going to be abandoning the famous “blue turf.” I just heard about it this morning. So I called Coach Chris. By the way, he’s a great guy. He told me that it just wasn’t worth the headache and hassle anymore. There are just too many people who hate blue turf. Instead they are going to be installing kind of a teal colored artificial turf. Oh, and one other thing. Today is April 1. So as the saying goes, “April fools.” And remember, you’re still supposed to love me. As I was preparing to write this blog, I had to make a decision to not go back and pick up the story of David and Goliath. You know, from Goliath’s standpoint, it had never before entered his mind how he could be impacted so strikingly by a boy who believed that with God he could do anything, and that he could lose his head over the matter.
Thank you for indulging the last two paragraphs.
As I was reading today’s passage, I was reminded of the tragedy of King Saul’s life. He started out with such promise and potential. And he ended up somewhat of a neurotic, paranoid, lonely, defeated man. He had become a shadow of himself. Now I know that there were a lot of mitigating factors which contributed to his downfall. Today, I want to focus on just one of them.
Read again with me over a part of today’s reading, this time from The Message Bible:
1 Samuel 18:5-9 (MSG)
5 Whatever Saul gave David to do, he did it—and did it well. So well that Saul put him in charge of his military operations. Everybody, both the people in general and Saul’s servants, approved of and admired David’s leadership.
David—The Name on Everyone’s Lips
6-9 As they returned home, after David had killed the Philistine, the women poured out of all the villages of Israel singing and dancing, welcoming King Saul with tambourines, festive songs, and lutes. In playful frolic the women sang,
Saul kills by the thousand, David by the ten thousand!
This made Saul angry—very angry. He took it as a personal insult. He said, “They credit David with ‘ten thousands’ and me with only ‘thousands.’ Before you know it they’ll be giving him the kingdom!” From that moment on, Saul kept his eye on David.
David was so incredibly successful in every assignment that Saul gave him to do that it began to irritate and disconcert Saul. Rather than celebrate the success of this young man who at that point was loyal and devoted to his king, he became jealous and also very angry. That anger continued to grow and fester as it was watered by Saul’s jealousy.
Let me pull just one thing out of this story that is as relevant today as it was in Saul’s time. For a life that is pleasing to our Savior, we must learn to celebrate other people’s successes. Whether the other people are believers or not, in order to live a life that is pleasing to God we have no choice but to learn, to cultivate the celebration of:
- the accomplishments
- the promotions
- the talents
- the opportunities
- the person that they were able to marry
- the job that they just seemed to fall into
- the breaks that they have gotten along the way
- the recognition
- the victories
- the fame
- the salary
- the being at the right place at the right time
- the things they were able to get that you had been hoping that you could get
- and on and on and on…
Saul never learned to be able to celebrate David’s victories. Theirs could have been a long and loyal friendship. It was King Saul’s jealousy, however, that cut it short and ruined it.
There are men today who are jealous of what someone says about their wife. There are women today that are bothered by complements or recognition that comes to their husbands. From the time Linda and I were married (did I ever tell you that I married over my head, praise the Lord) we have had the delightful privilege of celebrating each other’s successes. When you complement my wife or say something praiseworthy about her, I feel complemented because I was the one who was smart enough to have asked her to marry me. When people say something complementary or nice about me Linda is proud of her husband.
One of the destructive forces in King Saul’s life was that he could only celebrate his own success. What a narrow and defeated way to live. Let’s not follow his example.
You say you just got a promotion at work, and you just won the new car dealership’s drawing and have a brand new car, and they discovered huge reserves of oil on an acreage that you have owned for years, and the stock that you bought for pennies just ten years ago is now worth millions. All I can say is way to go. I’m so happy for you. I can’t think of anyone else who deserves all those things more than you.
Learn to celebrate other’s successes. Don’t be jealous and ruin your life.