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Avoiding harboring bitterness

Whatever Saul asked David to do, David did it successfully. So Saul made him a commander over the men of war, an appointment that was welcomed by the people and Saul’s officers alike. When the victorious Israelite army was returning home after David had killed the Philistine, women from all the towns of Israel came out to meet King Saul. They sang and danced for joy with tambourines and cymbals. This was their song: “Saul has killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands!” This made Saul very angry. “What’s this?” he said. “They credit David with ten thousands and me with only thousands. Next they’ll be making him their king!” So from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David. 1 Samuel 18:5-9

From our text, when David came back from the battle against Philistines and defeated Goliath, women started to express their praise. Hearing and seeing this jubilation directed towards David, King Saul became filled with anger and jealousy. His bitterness grew when the people started to compare him with David in his ability to fight the enemy. King Saul had everything at his disposal. He was anointed to rule Israel and God provided him Samuel to help him lead and obtain godly wisdom. The wealth of the kingdom was entrusted at his bidding. He also had the applause of the Israelites. Until one day that David was more praised because he defeated Goliath, thus the Philistines. “Saul has killed his thousands and David his ten thousands" (1 Samuel 18:7). He continued to harbor resentment that it affected his ability to lead and his judgment. He even plotted to have David killed in the battle with the Philistines. “For Saul thought, “I’ll send him out against the Philistines and let them kill him rather than doing it myself” (1 Samuel 18:17). Instead of celebrating with the Israelites the victory they had won because God used David to defeat Goliath, his fury towards David continued to grow. As he learned about David’s military success and as he heard the people’s growing adoration for him the more he was overcome with bitterness. Saul grew angry at David for receiving more praise than he did. “All Israel and Judah loved David because he was so successful at leading his troops into battle” (1 Samuel 18:16). This led Saul to become David’s enemy for the rest of his days. David used to provide soothing music to King Saul, now all Saul felt was hatred towards David. In spite of all Saul had in his life, he died envious, miserable, and bitter. He just allowed bitterness to control him. We can avoid resembling our lives of that of Saul’s. This is why when there is a hint of anger and jealousy towards others’ success or victory, we should ask God to help us not be overcome by such emotion. In this way, our life will surely be different from Saul’s experience. But if we are not aware that we are already harboring ill-feeling towards another person, the way Saul allowed his life to be ruined by bitterness could also happen to us. So do not let unresolved anger aggravate your life. Why not let God have all your resentments and let your heart be free by asking Him for forgiveness and His mercy?


Noel De Guzman

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