For the week of May 15, 1999 / 29 Iyyar 29 5759
Torah: Be-midbar / Numbers 1:1-4:20
Haftarah: Hosea 2:1-22
Replaced by: Pre-Rosh Hodesh - I Samuel 20:18-42

The Jealousy Trap

"As long as the son of Jesse lives on this earth, neither you nor your kingdom will be established. Now send and bring him to me, for he must die!" "Why should he be put to death? What has he done?" Jonathan asked his father. But Saul hurled his spear at him to kill him. Then Jonathan knew that his father intended to kill David (1 Samuel 20:31-33).

King Saul was jealous of David. God had chosen Saul as the first King of Israel, but because he more than once chose to do things his own way rather than God's, God decided that David would be the next King rather than Saul's son Jonathan. Saul couldn't handle that.

David served in Saul's army and did a good job. The people thought very highly of him. Saul couldn't handle that either.

Saul couldn't handle that God judged him for the wrongs he had done and was preparing David to take his place. He was more concerned about his place and position than what was best for his people. Because he was personally offended, he couldn't find room in his heart to welcome the blessings of God that would come (and were already coming) through David.

Saul's jealousy so controlled him that he became obsessed with the desire to kill David. And not only David, but he also became suspicious of those around him and was willing to get rid of anyone whom he perceived (rightly or wrongly) as being loyal to David.

Because Saul would not accept God's will in his life, he began to see everything and everyone through warped eyes. Saul really believed that David was his enemy even though more than once David clearly demonstrated otherwise. But once we believe lies, we see life from that perspective.

It would have been painful for Saul to accept the truth in his life, recognizing his disloyalty to God and making room for Israel's new leader. But how much better the rest of his life would have been, if he would have taken responsibility for his actions and continued to follow God in whatever way God wanted.

While there is nothing wrong with holding places of power and influence in life, we need to learn that it is God's prerogative to give these things to whom he desires. He also reserves the right to remove us from our positions if he so decides.

It is an honor to be given great responsibility, and it is very difficult to accept the need to allow others to take our place should God so will. But this difficulty should not be an excuse to not do what is right. For when we insist on holding on to what is no longer ours, we not only harm ourselves but also the very ones that we seem so eager to lead.

This does not only apply to people in high positions. All of us can be blinded by our desire to hold on to (or strive for) a position in life rather than knowing the freedom of accepting God's will. But once we realize that life is not about the positions we have, then we are free to be whatever God wants us to be no matter what happens.

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