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19. Trust in God, not in men

Last week we learned that we shouldn't critisize or publically ridicule or gossip about our spiritual leaders. We should rather pray for them and uplift, encourage and help them wherever we can.

Today I want us to look at the opposite. It is when people let us down and criticize us. Let us continue with the life of David.

David and his men were in Judah, as God told them to go there through the prophet Gad. Whilst there he heard that the Philistines were attacking Keilah. David then did the right thing. He turned to God and asked Him what to do. God told him to go and attack the Philistines and save Keilah. David's men were naturally afraid to do that, because they weren't exactly welcome in Judah in the first place. So David turned to God again and God encouraged him:

"Arise, go down to Keilah. For I will deliver the Philistines into your hand." 1 Samuel 23:4

God promised to be with him and David was obedient. I love it how David was obedient the whole time. He immediately reacted when God spoke. We can certainly learn a great deal from him.

David and his men went down to Keilah and saved all the inhabitants and defeated the Philistines. Saul heard about this and immediately wanted to go there and kill David. Look how twisted his mind is:

"God has delivered him into my hand, for he has shut himself in by entering a town that has gates and bars." 1 Samuel 23:7

Saul actually believed that God was helping him in this instance. I was actually shocked that he believed that, seeing that he just mercilessly killed 85 of God's priests and a whole innocent town. People can indeed be twisted and believe the weirdest things in the Name of the Lord. One should be careful from whom you take advice and word 'from the Lord'.

David heard from Keilah that Saul was coming to kill him. He turned to the Lord immediately for advice and the Lord told him that the people of Keilah will deliver him to Saul. David once again listened to God and left Keilah in order to be safe. When Saul heard this he didn't come to Keilah anymore.

I wonder how David must have felt. Here he went and saved the town of Keilah from certain death. He had nothing to gain; he was literally just being obedient to God. He saved a whole town from destruction. And when his life is threatened God tells him that these very same people will turn on him. I don't know about you, but I would have been upset. I just saved their lives and now they are not prepared to stand up for me. I was doing what the Lord placed on my heart, and what thanks do I get?

People are fickle and can change their attitude towards us at the first chance that they get. It has happened many times that I have helped people and barely got a thank you. It has happened countless times that people whom I have done a lot for don't return the favor when I needed help. Many times they even turned their back on me when I needed support the most. Does it sound familiar? Through all of this I have learned that Psalm 146 is so true! Let me quote verse 3-5:

"Do not put your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His spirit departs, he returns to his earth; in that very day his plans perish. Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God."

I have learned not to place my trust in men. Not to expect anything from them. I do not always get it right; I must be honest, especially when it comes to people close to me. But I am getting better, day by day with the strength given to me from Above. My trust should be in Him and in Him alone. My thank you will come from Him. My reward is from Him. He will always be there for me, He will always help me. I am never alone and I should never be afraid. The God of the Universe is with me, what more can I want? He loves an obedient, willing heart and He will reward my obedience. When? I don't know, but I know I can look forward to it, just like David. David didn't retaliate against these people who would have delivered him to Saul. He didn't get even and waste his energy there. No, he moved on in the will of the Lord and his reward was great.

Father, thank you that we can trust in You. Our hope is in You and You alone. Our hearts sometimes get hurt here on earth, as fellow human beings let us down. But thank you that we can know that You will never let us down. We can always trust in You. Hallelujah! Thank you Lord!! Amen

 

18. Pray for your spiritual leaders

Last week we saw how caring David was. He arranged with the king of Moab that his parents can stay there so that they will be safe and looked after whilst Saul was searching for him. It is heartwarming to see how he cared for his parents, just as God wants us to.

David then listened to the prophecy of Gad that he shouldn't stay in the stronghold, but that he should depart for Judah. He was obedient and went to the forest of Hereth. Saul then heard that David and his men were there. He then stirred up his servants, especially his servants from the tribe of Benjamin that he was also from, that David was the enemy. And it was here that Saul did an evil thing. Doeg, the Edomite split on David and told Saul that he went to Ahimelech at Nob when he fled from Saul. So Saul called Ahimelech and all the other priests to come to him. He interrogated them insinuating that they were conspiring against him with David. They didn't know what he was talking about as David never shared the truth with them. It was then that Saul did a horrible thing. He ordered that all 85 of the priests be murdered. He even went further and ordered that the whole city of Nob be struck with the edge of the sword, men, women, children, oxen, donkeys, sheep, everything. He ordered the massacre of innocent people, all because he was jealous of David.

We should never allow jealousy to become so out of control. Many, many people are in jail today due to jealousy. Many murders have been committed due to the ugly head of jealousy rearing its head. We should never allow it to fester and to grow so big, driving us to do inhumane things.

The other lesson that I believe that we can learn here is that God's leaders can so easily come under attack. They are easy targets because they are elevated at church, but we should never allow that to happen. Even if we don't agree with our leaders at church, we should never bad mouth them, never spread lies about them and never belittle them. God doesn't take kindly to His men and women being attacked.

I know spiritual leaders can let us down and I know they can make mistakes. But it is not our job to judge them, let alone attack them or gossip about them. If they are preaching things that are contrary to the Word of God we need to have conversations with them and share our perspective with them. And if we cannot come to an agreement we can leave the church if we truly do not agree with their doctrine. There are many avenues to follow. But publically attacking them or discrediting them is not the way.

I know some spiritual leaders are there merely for their own personal gain, but I believe most are there because of their heart for God and we need to honor that. The leaders of the early church were violently persecuted, but they continued due to the fire for Christ that they had within them. Their members prayed for them and it pulled them through on many occasions. Today we need to pray for our leaders too. They need our prayers, our encouragement and our love. We need to lift them up and help them to keep on standing. Just like Aaron and Joshua kept up Moses's arms. Everyone gets tired now and again. An encouraging word might be all that they need today.

Father we pray for our spiritual leaders. We pray that You will keep them standing. We pray for supernatural courage and strength to continue with their all-important work. We are sorry that we so quickly criticize them, instead of lifting them up. Give us the wisdom and the right words to say. Amen

17. Honor your father and mother

Last week God showed us that David's family came to him when he was in exile, even though they didn't believe in him at first. They mocked him and didn't respect him, but here it was clear that they did. David forgave them and they joined his forces at the cave of Adullam. Other men who owed money, who were in distress themselves, the outcasts of the society joined him as well until they were 400 in total. But as we will see God used them all mightily and they became men of valor.

From that cave David went to Mizpah of Moab and he asked the king there:

"Please let my father and mother come here with you, till I know what God will do for me." 1 Samuel 22:3

The king of Moab agreed and his parents stayed there the whole time that David was in the stronghold. I just love David's concern for his parents. Saul most probably wanted to get his hand on them in order to either lure David back, or simply out of rage because David escaped. Either way, I love the fact that David was worried about them and made sure that they were safe and looked after. He also had a lot of guts to ask this of a king who was an enemy of Israel. But as we've seen God was with him and gave him favor wherever he went.

This act of David made me think of Jesus too. He also made sure that His mother Mary was looked after. At the cross whilst enduring the most testing time of His life, He made sure that John would look after His mother. Another example is Joseph. He also sent for his father and brothers to come and live with him in Egypt even though his brothers treated him shamefully. When they were in need, he didn't hesitate to help them. It truly is beautiful to see and an example to us all.

God wants us to look after our parents. He wants us to make sure that they are safe and well looked after. It is not the responsibility of others or the church to look after them. Even in the early church when they looked after widows and orphans, they were instructed to only look after widows who truly had no one else. If they had children, their children were expected to look after them.

I know if you have a good relationship with your parents it is easy to look after them, but it is very difficult if your relationship is strained. God is merely placing on our hearts today to make sure that they are okay. We cannot have our parents living on the streets as beggars. We need to help them with the love of Jesus. He will be with us and supply the heart of love and the resources that we need in doing so.

Father flow mightily through us and pour Your love out on us. Shower us in Your Shalom peace and give us the courage to do the right thing. We follow and honor You in everything. Amen

16. Walk the road with those God has placed on your heart

Last week we saw how brave Jonathan was and how he trusted God without wavering. He knew that David was going to be the next king instead of him, and yet he helped him to escape from his father. He did the right thing, knowing that God would honor him for it.

So with the help of Jonathan, David fled from Israel. He made a quick stop at Nob and obtained the sword of Goliath there and then he fled to king Achish of Gath. But the moment he arrived there the servants of king Achish told him how the women sang that David has slain ten thousands and Saul only thousands. This made the servants suspicious of David and they wanted to kill him. David realized that he was in trouble:

"So he changed his behavior before them, pretended madness in their hands, scratched on the doors of the gate, and let saliva fall down on his beard." 1 Samuel 21:13

King Achish was disgusted by this and demanded that David be taken out of his sight. Once again David was saved from the hands of those who wanted him dead. He then went and dwelt in the cave of Adullam. When his father and brothers heard that he was there, they went to him there. As well as:

"…everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented. So he became captain over them." 1 Samuel 22:2

David now had an army of about 400 men. But there are two interesting things to me here. First of all, his father and brothers came. They were the ones who taunted him, who didn't think he was even good enough to be called when Samuel first came and yet here they came the minute they knew where he was. They obviously had a change of heart and saw God's hand in his life. The same with Jesus's brothers, they also mocked Him and didn't believe in Him, and yet after His death James, his brother became the head of the church in Jerusalem. We can learn from this. Those closest to us might not support what God is doing in our lives. They might ridicule us and make fun of us. But when they later ask forgiveness and realize what God is doing in our lives, we should forgive them and join forces with them for the greater good of His Kingdom.

Secondly, basically all the people no one else wanted joined David. He had an army of men with terrible pasts. The Bible doesn't go into detail what they all did, but from what I can gather it wasn't good. These men weren't your model citizens, those you would typically choose for your army. And yet God chose them for David. God knew what would work best. God selected them and later we will see that they became valiant men, trusted advisors and friends of King David. Today we shouldn't look at the past of many people that God puts on our pathway, rather we should see the Godly potential in them. Jesus never looked at the past of any of His disciples or followers and discredited them from following Him. In fact He encouraged them to follow Him. And many of them became faith heroes, people we owe the Gospels to.

Walk today with the people God has placed in your life to help you in reaching your goal. Forgive those that didn't believe in your dream at the beginning and allow them on this pathway with you. And do not look at the past of others that want to join and help you. God knows who you need on this road. He knows who will really help you to achieve your God-given dreams. Do not discredit them, but walk with them, alongside Jesus. Then you cannot go wrong.

Father, thank you for the people that You have placed in our lives. Please give us the discernment to recognize them and to walk with them to the glory of Your Name. You are such a wonderful awesome God, never leaving us to fend for ourselves, but always providing for us. We love You. Amen

15. Want what God wants

Last week we saw that Saul didn't give up on trying to kill David. He really tried on several occasions and it frustrated him that he couldn't succeed. He realized that God was with David and this made him scared. But yet he didn't give up.

David caught wind of the fact that Saul wanted to try and kill him again. He mentioned this to his friend, Jonathan. Jonathan couldn't believe it, because normally his father would tell him everything. But as David insisted, they devised a plan. The next day was the New Moon festival. Normally David would eat with the king. Therefore they decided that on that New Moon, David wouldn't eat with the king, but he would hide. If the king asked about David, Jonathan would say that he had asked to go home and sacrifice with his family. If the king is angry about this, they would know that he was planning to kill him. If he is not angry, all will be well. Either way Jonathan will let David know.

As it happened Saul didn't enquire about David the first evening as he thought that maybe he was unclean. But he did in fact ask about him the next evening and when Jonathan told him he had gone home, Saul was very angry:

"You son of a perverse, rebellious woman! Do I not know that you have chosen the son of Jesse to your own shame and to the shame of your mother's nakedness? For as long as the son of Jesse lives on the earth, you shall not be established, nor your kingdom. Now therefore, send and bring him to me, for he shall surely die." 1 Samuel 20:30, 31

Jonathan then tried to defend David, but the moment he did, Saul even hurled a spear at him too. Then Jonathan left, hurt and angry. He then went to tell David to flee as his father was determined to kill him.

For me it is heartwarming to see how Jonathan did the right thing. He was supposed to be next in line for the throne. His future was clear and cut out for him. And yet, when he realized that God wanted to give the Kingdom to David instead, he didn't retaliate, he didn't try to help his father kill David, he didn't cry and ask God why. He didn't do any of these things. He trusted God and did the right thing. He helped David to escape even though he knew that this could cost him his throne.

I have so much respect for Jonathan. Nowhere in the Bible do you read anything bad about him. In fact when events of his life were recorded it showed courage and an absolute faith in God. And yet, he wasn't destined to be king. It wasn't God's plan for his life. He was there to help David become king. And God was pleased with him and I can promise you that his reward in Heaven is great.

Wow. What if your whole purpose in life is to help someone else excel? Would you be okay with that? What if you are the one who needs to help others rise higher? Would you still do it?

Jonathan did and in my eyes he is a hero, a true hero. He placed his ego on the side and did what God wanted him to do. We should always seek the will of God first above all. We shouldn't be jealous of others 'making it' in this world, excelling in areas that we would have liked to excel in. We should be happy for them; we should encourage them and help them to be the best that they can be. I know it is much easier said than done. But ask God to help you, ask Him to lead you and to change your heart so that you only want what He wants. Set your ego aside, set your ambitions and need to win aside and replace it with a heart of love. Your reward in His Kingdom will be great. He will exalt you there and place you higher than you can even imagine! You must just be prepared to humble yourself here on earth.

When Jesus walked on earth they wanted to exalt Him as King a couple of times and yet He didn't want that. He didn't want that honor and prestige. He wanted to do the will of His Father. He wanted to please Him above all else. Only what He wanted mattered to Jesus. And today He wants the same for us.

Father, give us Your heart. Help us to want what You want Lord. Help us to desire what You desire. Give us the courage to help others succeed; give us the wisdom to know what to do. I know Your heart delights in our willingness to follow You without any prejudice. You and only You and what You want. Please help us with that. Amen

14. Trust God's perfect timing

Last week we saw how Saul conspired against David. He wanted him killed and wanted the Philistines to do his dirty work for him. But God was with David and protected him. He even helped him to excel in Saul's request by giving him 100% more than what he asked for. God protected him and really honored David's wise conduct.

Even though Saul failed in this attempt to kill David, he certainly didn't give up. Just in the next chapter Saul told Jonathan and all his servants that he wanted to kill David. Jonathan pleaded with his father not to do it, because he loved David as a brother. Saul agreed, but the minute David was in the same room as Saul, playing harp for him, Saul suddenly hurled a spear at him, trying to pin him to the wall. When that didn't succeed, Saul decided to kill him at night, whilst he was sleeping in his bed. Fortunately David's wife heard about it and helped him to escape through the window and placed an image in his bed pretending that he was sick in order to buy time for him to get away. This helped until Saul demanded that he be killed in his bed, sick or not. That is when he found out that his daughter had tricked him by saving David. Then he sent messengers off in hot pursuit of David. They found David with Samuel at Naioth, and the minute they came there the Spirit of God came upon them and they started prophesying. When Saul heard this, he sent another group, but they started prophesying as well and the third group was no different. Irritated by the turn of events, Saul went himself, but the moment he came there the Spirit of God was upon him also and he started to prophecy too.

The point is; Saul couldn't touch David. He desperately wanted to change God's plans, but he couldn't. God was fighting on behalf of David. Today we might also find ourselves in situations that we feel will never end. We might look around us and wonder how this will ever be resolved. We might have people doing their best to discredit us, we might be on the pathway that we believe that God has ordained for us and yet it might feel as if everything is going against us. One incident after another after another might come our way, trying to get us off God's pathway for our lives. But as David, we should stay firm and trust God.

God didn't take David out of the situation, but He helped him to handle it. He saved him and in the process He taught David many valuable life lessons. I truly believe that David wouldn't have been the great king that he was, if he hadn't gone through all of these situations. God was building his character and preparing him to be the best king that he could be. God was with him every step of the way. And today He is with you too. He knows the best timing for everything to work out as He had planned. Until then He wants us to be conformed into the image of His Son, righteous, holy and true. He wants us to represent Him in every way. And then He wants us to lead people to Him, to lure them closer to Him.

His timing is perfect. We shouldn't look at current circumstances, but up to Him and to where He is leading us to. And at the right time, we will be exalted into our 'royal' position. And from there, we will be able to make a huge difference for His Kingdom.

Father thank you that we can trust Your timing. And that You will look after us in the meantime. Thank you that You will protect us and not allow any evil to prevail against us as we walk this road with You. We love You so much. Amen

13. God protects you

Last time we saw that Saul got jealous of David and of all the honor that he received. He got so jealous that he tried to kill David on two occasions. But God protected David and this made Saul afraid. Yet Saul didn't let go of his jealousy and that made the rest of his life one devoid of joy. We can certainly learn from this and be determined to keep jealousy at bay.

Saul removed David from his presence and made him his captain over a thousand. And the Bible tells us that David behaved wisely in all his ways and the people loved him for it. But when Saul saw this he was even more afraid of him. He then concocted another plan. He decided to orchestrate that the enemy kill him instead. He made known to David that he wanted him to become his son in law in exchange for 100 foreskins of the Philistines.

"So Saul said, "I will give her to him, that she may be a snare to him, and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him." 1 Samuel 18:21

Saul wanted to make sure that David died in the process. He thought that at least one of the 100 Philistines would kill David. But he was so wrong. Not only did David go to execute his King's wishes, he exceeded them. He and his men killed 200 Philistines and brought their foreskins to the king. David went far and beyond what was expected of him and succeeded, because God was with him.

Today other people might set you up for failure. They might want to see you fail. They might be jealous of you and might want to put obstacles in your way. But do not fear. God is with you. God sees your heart and no one can come against you. He wants you to succeed on the path that He ordained for you.

This made me think of the time when the King of Moab brought in Balaam to curse Israel on his behalf. I am sure many of you know the event. He desperately wanted Israel cursed. On three occasions he tried to use Balaam to curse Israel on his behalf, but instead of a curse, Balaam pronounced a blessing on them. Why? Because Balaam said that those that are blessed by God, cannot be cursed by mere mortal men.

And isn't it more true today than it was under the Old Covenant? Jesus came to take the curse so that the blessings can be ours. We are children of the Most High, we inherit all things through the blood of Jesus. Therefore no one can hinder us. No one can place obstacles in our way, or sabotage the plan God has for us. All we need to do is to stay on the ordained pathway of God for our lives. That is all. We need to stay close to Him and abide in His shadow. Then no evil can befall us and no plans concocted behind closed doors can prevail. If God is for us, who can be against us?

Father, thank you that we are safe with You. Thank you for all Your blessings and that You are so good to us. Thank you that You are our Shepherd, protecting us from all harm. We love You. Amen

 

98. New Year 2020

Happy New Year! I know we are already two weeks into the New Year, but I just wanted to say from my side, happy New Year! May we all stand in awe of all the miracles of God, all His goodness and grace this year!

A dear friend of mine commented the other day that the year 2020 reminded her of having 20/20 vision. I therefore Googled 20/20 vision and the following definition was given:

"20/20 is a term used to express normal visual acuity (the clarity or sharpness of vision) measured at a distance of 20 feet. If you have 20/20 vision you can see clearly at 20 feet."

So in essence if you have 20/20 vision you have good eye sight. And this made me think. Isn't that the essence of the message for us all for the year 2020? That we should all sharpen our spiritual eyesight so that we can see clearly what God wants us to do.

God has a special plan for us all; we just need our spiritual eyesight to clearly see the way, not only for this life, but for our place in the Kingdom of God. It is when we try to walk and plan our lives with our physical eyes that we stumble and fall. It is when we see everything in the natural that we get despondent and off the course that God has planned for us. We need to open our spiritual eyes to see the world as He sees it. In fact we need to see beyond this world, into the eternal Kingdom of our God and Savior. And how do we do that? Scripture tells us:

"Seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth." Colossians 3:1, 2

"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." Romans 12:2

We need to renew our minds, to focus on Heavenly things and not on earthly things. We need to believe what is true of us in the spiritual and to walk as the sons of God, the royalty that we are. We need to see beyond this world into His Kingdom and our special role in it. We need to see Jesus lifted high; we need to see Him living in His fullness within us and guiding us on the way forward. We need to enter into His rest for us. That is our Promised Land. He has already done everything for us; we simply need to accept His grace and rest in that. Therein lies true freedom and victory.

The number 20 according to the 'Numbers dictionary - Martin van der Merwe' means reward:

"Period of fullness and completion and expectation (completing the period of waiting) that you will receive your reward."

I truly believe our reward is in walking with our spiritual eyes alongside the Prince of Peace. If we walk hand in hand with Him, we will experience His fullness, His joy, His love, His Shalom, His glory, His life. What more can we want from 2020?

May our reward be glorious, so glorious that we can only praise His Name and lift Him higher and higher, exalting Him and praising Him and in the process draw others closer to Him. Drawing people closer to Him is your main purpose and if you can achieve that this year, 2020 will be ticked off as a very successful year!

Dear Father, thank you so much for the privilege to be alive and to be able to experience another year! We want to have perfect 20/20 spiritual vision this year. We want to see our lives as You see it. Please help us in our journey, we know You will and we thank you for that! We want to walk hand in hand with You this year, rejoicing in Your goodness and grace. Amen

97. Christmas 2019

I once had the wonderful privilege to be in Europe during the Christmas season. It was truly a magical experience. The sun set at around four in the afternoon, but that was when the beautiful Christmas lights came on. There were lights everywhere, all colors and all shapes and sizes. Everywhere it twinkled lifting the spirits of the people who for most of the day only saw snow and grey clouds. Now for us from South Africa the snow was awesome! But I can just imagine if you only saw white snow and grey clouds for months on end, it might become a bit gloomy. And that is why they have the lights; it really lifts you to another dimension. It is so festive and despite the cold, family and friends come together to celebrate the glorious season and to rejoice in hope.

This made me think. Jesus came and said that He is the light of the world:

"When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8:12

When I think of Jesus, I think of light. His birth was no different. The special light of the incredible star announced His birth, as well as the light of the whole host of angels that appeared to the shepherds. And His light kept on shining. He shone in a dark world. He shone hope, forgiveness, atonement, life, healing and so I can go on. His whole being shone forth the glory of God. So when I think of Jesus I think of the Christmas lights in Europe. Jesus' light was not like a spotlight descending on the human race, unveiling each and every blemish that we have, demanding restitution. No, His light is gentle and kind, giving warmth, joy and a sense of something magical to a dark world. His light brings people together to sing to the glory of His Father.

And then Jesus did something remarkable. He said that we are now the light of the world:

"You are the light of the world - like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden." Matthew 5:14

Paul also affirms this in Romans 13:12:

"The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light."

We are the light of the world, wearing our armor of light. Jesus lives within us and it is now HIS light shining through us. Our lights should spread warmth in a cruel dark world, our lights should attract a gloomy world closer so that they want what we have, our lights should bring joy to the depressed and hope to the forsaken. We shouldn't walk around with spotlights and condemn the world for their sins or shine our spotlight on the speck in our friends' eyes. And on the other hand, our lights shouldn't be so dim, that no one even notices it. No, we should shine our lights like the lights in Europe. We should attract people, make them want to come closer, make them want to know Jesus more. We must share what we have and warm their hearts with the Good News of Jesus Christ! That is why we are here on earth, to spread His Kingdom and His love to a world in desperate need for it.

May we all stand still this Christmas, celebrating the life of Jesus, taking in His Word and spreading His warm, cheerful, loving, magnificent light to all.

Father, thank you for placing the beautiful, awe-inspiring light of Your Son inside of us all. Thank you for entrusting us with this gift. Thank you that we can celebrate Christmas, and rejoice in Your Son freeing us from sin and from darkness. May we all walk in this victory and make You proud. We love You. Amen

12. Do not be jealous

Last week we saw how David obtained favor wherever he went. Everyone accepted him and honored him. We also learned that this new found fame didn't go to David's head; in fact he remained humble and behaved wisely in everything that he did.

Now as David and the army returned home after the battle with the Philistines the women came out and started singing.

"So the women sang as they danced, and said: "Saul has slain his thousands and David his ten thousands." 1 Samuel 18:7

The Bible tells us that Saul heard this and he was very angry that they ascribed ten thousands to David and only thousands to him. He became very jealous of David. In fact, he became so jealous that he wanted to kill David:

"And it happened on the next day that the distressing spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied inside the house. So David played music with his hand, as at other times; but there was a spear in Saul's hand. And Saul cast the spear, for he said, "I will pin David to the wall!" But David escaped his presence twice." 1 Samuel 18:10, 11

David defeated Goliath and rescued the armies of Israel from the Philistines and yet due to jealousy Saul wanted to kill him. He became blind with jealousy. And when he didn't succeed, he became afraid, because he realized that the Lord was with David and not with him anymore (1 Samuel 18:12).

It is easy to judge Saul from this side. It is easy to read this and think that he truly didn't act in a Godly manner. But don't we do the same? We might not try to kill them (Thank goodness!), but in our hearts we might do that. Don't we get jealous too when we succeeded in something and suddenly someone else does it even better than us? Don't we get jealous when someone else gets the promotion that we felt that we deserve? Don't we get jealous when our children practice hard at something and then another child outperforms them with ease? Be honest with yourself today. Haven't you been jealous too?

This 'story' warn us of the dire consequences of jealousy. We will still see how much misery it will bring King Saul. Fortunately for us God's Spirit will never depart from us as it did him, for we are sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise (Ephesians 1:13), but when we allow jealousy to take over, we will live with the lower energy levels of jealousy and its consequences until we decide to let it go. It truly is not worth it. Living with God's Spirit mightily flowing through us is the highest level of energy that we can live on. And when we live on that energy level good things will manifest for us, we will also be filled with joy, love and God's Shalom peace. That is where God wants us and where we will experience life and life in abundance. But if we make friends with jealousy and if we decide to harbor and cherish that in our souls, we will be operating at much lower levels of energy. Then we cannot access all that God has in store for us. Then it is not God punishing us, but we ourselves deciding to live on a much lower level than what He had planned for us.

God has such wonderful plans in store for us, plans that will fit us as a glove, plans that will honor His Name and will further His Kingdom. It might look totally different than what we might think, but it is what God knows would be best for us. We might think we know best, but He really does! So why be jealous of His plan for another? That plan might not work for you. You might think it would, but in reality it wouldn't. Don't you think it would be better to trust His timing and His pathway for our lives instead of wasting time wishing you had another's success? Learn from Saul and see where it got him. We will see the detail in future weeks. But know that his end was a dreary one. God doesn't want that for us, that is not His plan. Rather walk in His fullness and experience all that He came to give you. His plan for your life is perfect.

Father, thank you so much for all Your love and for the good plans that You have for us! Help us to see the pathway through Your eyes. Help us to be happy for other people's success and to walk our pathway with joy! As we know You know best. Amen