Throughout this series, I’ve mostly focused on David and the lessons we can learn from him. This is, after all, a series on the “Life of David.” But today, I’m going to focus on the actions of a different character in this story, to see what lessons we can learn from his example.
Saul was always insecure, prone to giving the crowds what they wanted instead of doing what was right in the sight of God. He did this out of fear - fear of losing his throne, of being rejected and replaced by the people, and fear of being recognized for the weak man he had become.
David - this bright, faithful, charismatic young man who slew a giant with only a sling - changes in an instant from Saul’s salvation to Saul’s worst nightmare. Almost immediately, the people - Saul’s people- are singing David’s praises. Even Saul’s family takes an instant liking to David. His son Jonathan becomes David’s best friend overnight. His daughter Michal falls in love with David and wants to marry him. Everyone loves and admires David.
And Saul is consumed by fear and jealousy. “How can they love David more than me? What will this mean? Will they replace me? Of course they will! They’ve wanted to do that for years. If I don’t put a stop to this soon, David will become king and I’ll be a nothing more than a memory.” Instead of taking inspiration from David and seeking to become a better king, Saul views him as a threat that must be eliminated. And so Saul, who should have been David’s biggest supporter, turns on him and drives him into hiding.
Saul’s sin is haunting and, if we are honest with ourselves, all too familiar. All of us, at one time or another, have experienced the longing to be important. For some, this longing is a desire for fame - to be known, talked about, the center of attention. Others long for popularity - they wanted to be loved, appreciated and adored. Still others prefer the taste of respect, and want their superiority to be acknowledged, even feared, by others.
Regardless of its form, the sin is the same - pride. Pride is the desire to be the smartest, prettiest, most successful, richest and most important - to be the center of everything. Pride pits us against each other; it is the source of jealousy and hatred. It is in fact the original sin - the one that caused Lucifer to fall from heaven - the desire, not to worship God, but to be God. That is what pride is at its dark, blackened heart: the desire to have the universe revolve around you.
This is typically where I would ask questions to identify if my readers were struggling with this particular sin before I recommend some solutions. But the reality is that all of us struggle with pride - no one is immune. In fact, the more you think you have it handled, the worse a case you probably have. Talk to your Father about it today - ask Him to show you those places in your life where Pride has taken hold. Ask Him to help you to acknowledge the truth - that He is God, and you are not. Ask for His forgiveness for the times that you seek the worship of others instead of the being content with His love.
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