Green-eyed Monster

We have all lived it. We have all been on the receiving end of it. Jealousy, the green-eyed monster.

A feeling of envy, especially of a rival. It is also defined as covetousness. Which is the tenth of the Ten Commandments.

In my last post I promised the rest of the story behind David’s older brother speaking with a snotty tone to him, and his response to him.

David said, “Who is this heathen Philistine that is allowed to defy the armies of the living God?” When David’s older brother heard this he insulted him, “What are you doing here anyway? Aren’t you supposed to be home taking care of the sheep? I know what a cocky brat you are, you just came to see a battle.” (See 1 Sam 17 [TLB])

Before this happened, you need to know that King Saul had been told by Samuel that God wanted to settle accounts with the Amalekites for refusing to allow the Israelites to cross their territory when they were escaping from Egypt. Saul was instructed to completely destroy the whole nation of them—the men, the women, the children, the oxen, the sheep, the camels, and the donkeys. Not a single living thing was to be left alive.

Saul went forth with his army, but spared the life of the king and some animals, justifying himself, by saying he was going to sacrifice them to the Lord. Saul had previously disobeyed the Lord, by getting impatient and not waiting for Samuel to make the burnt offering, and but did it upon himself. In both instances, his reply showed that he was more concerned with his popularity and what men thought of him, than obeying God. Samuel refused to join Saul at the alter when he sacrificed the Amalekite animals, knowing God would not receive this offering and that he was now rejecting Saul as king. Saul had been more concerned with his reputation than getting right with God.

God told Samuel to go to Bethlehem to anoint a new king. But Saul was now suspicious of everything and had spies to make reports to him. So God told Samuel to take a heifer to make a fellowship offering and invited the elders to come, sanctify themselves, and join in, so Saul would not come and kill him. Jesse and his sons were also invited, which was a great honor. David, the youngest son, was considered insignificant in his family, and was not even called in from the fields to join in.

The eldest son, Eliab, which means God is my Father, was the one who spoke harshly to David on the battlefield. When Samuel took one look at Eliab, he thought to himself, “surely, this is the one God has chosen for me to anoint as king. But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge a man’s face or height, for this is not the one. Men judge by outward appearance, but I judge by a man’s heart.”

This continued on with each additional son, until Samuel asks Jesse, “Are these all there are?” Jesse replied that there was one more son, but he was out tending the sheep. Samuel wanted him sent for at once, and no one was going to sit down and eat until he arrived. David arrives and God said, “This is the one, anoint him.” So as David stood among his brothers, Samuel poured the oil over his heads and the Holy Spirit came upon him and gave him great power from that day forward. I’ll bet that has the brothers wondering.

The Holy Spirit then left Saul and he was tormented with depression and fear. His aides suggested he find a harpist to play music to quiet his soul. Saul was told there was a young man who was handsome, brave and strong, and had good, solid judgment. He was also told that the Lord was with this young man. Guess who that young man was? David. From the instant Saul saw David, he admired and loved him, and David became his bodyguard.

This all happened before David kills Goliath. David now goes between Saul’s camp and back home to tend sheep. Being anointed with oil was normally only done for prophets. So Eliab and his brothers witnessed David being anointed, but didn’t know why. Eliab also knew David was chose to tend to Saul with harp music, and word probably got out how much Saul loved him.

Enter the green-eyed monster. Could it be that Eliab ridiculed David that day because he was jealous? Because it seems whenever you step out in faith to fight the enemy, there is always someone waiting in the wings to discourage you, and it often begins in your own home. Eliab became angry when David asked about Saul’s offer to fight Goliath. Why? Did he say to himself, “I’m the oldest son, I should have been the one anointed and chosen to be in invited to live in Saul’s court?” Further showing the state of his heart, and why God did not choose him. And he is not living up to his name, “God is my Father.” Was he also angry because he knew he didn’t have the guts to go fight Goliath but was one of the soldiers quaking in fear every day for forty days when Goliath issued his challenge?

But here’s the best part. David was anointed and had the power of the Holy Spirit on him. He therefore did not let his brother’s words discourage him, for he knew God was with him. In his commentary, Warren Wiersbe states, that David “sees Goliath as just another animal attacking God’s flock!” And as a shepherd who killed lions and bears to save his sheep, knowing God gave him the strength for that, he knows God would also give him the strength for this battle.

This is so very reassuring to me, and should be for you as well. We do not have to react to the angry words or jealousy of others. We can respond calmly knowing God will give us the strength to fight our “giants” when they come crashing into our lives talking smack. And like David, we don’t have to be afraid, but we can run out to meet them on the battlefield, because God is with us. Therefore we can respond with God peace and not react in anger.

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