Jealousy is not Pretty


1 Samuel 18:6-9

When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with timbrels and lyres. 7 As they danced, they sang:
“Saul has slain his thousands,
    and David his tens of thousands.”
8 Saul was very angry; this refrain displeased him greatly. “They have credited David with tens of thousands,” he thought, “but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?” 9 And from that time on Saul kept a close eye on David.


Saul should have been grateful for David’s leadership and support. He was making Saul and his armies stronger than ever. Instead of valuing David’s work, he considered him an enemy and a threat. Jealousy began to consume Saul and from that time onward, he began to try and manipulate his relationship with David.


There were choices that Saul could have made that would have made him a stronger and better leader. Sadly, he allowed jealousy to consume him and the results were tragic, not just for his life but for many around him. Saul allowed many relationships to be dominated by his jealousy, demanding loyalty from those who worked with him. 

Just imagine if things had been done differently.

  • Rejoice in the skills and abilities of others. Join in, praising what God has done in their lives. Do not look for ways to be critical. 

  • Open doors for others who have been gifted. Help them find a place of service in which they can flourish. Too often we have lost people from the church, or a business because we have been threatened by their success. When we are unable to rejoice in what they bring to the table, we send them away. 

  • Provide the resources for these individuals to succeed. Genuine leaders like this will help to strengthen the whole community. When they do succeed, we rejoice together and allow them to get the credit for what they have done. 

  • Don’t look for ways in which to be critical. Sometimes we save our harshest criticism for those who are talented and succeeding. Somehow we think that by looking for some kind of weakness, we are justifying where we find ourselves in life. 

  • Don’t try to manipulate circumstances to your own benefit. Constantly look out for the needs of others and rejoice in allowing them to soar beyond our abilities. 

Years ago we had the privilege of serving under an amazing leader who never wanted to get the attention for himself. He loved lifting up new, young leaders who would shine. His greatest joy was to watch others perform well. He considered their success, his success. Not wanting to be up front, he would simply beam when he watched those in whom he had invested do well. There was something beautiful in this response, the complete opposite of the ugliness witnessed in Saul. Jealousy is not pretty, but the opposite is pure beauty. 


Lord, may I support those around me who are far more gifted. Amen. 


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