Lesson Fifty Two
WHAT JEALOUSY DOES
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Christmas in our home is a time to share gifts. I have to admit I love this! I take great joy in finding just the right gift that will light up someone’s eyes.
One particular Christmas when the girls were about middle school age, I had delayed wrapping the gifts until Christmas Eve. As I dug into my task I quickly realized I had forgotten to buy tags. Now I could have made some homemade tags, but it was late, I was tired, and I thought, This could be a new way to do Christmas. I’ll wrap the presents with no tags on them. I most likely will remember which is which and even if I don’t, it will still be fun!
It was memorable, but for all the wrong reasons.
It was memorable, but for all the wrong reasons. We still half smile and half roll our eyes remembering the Christmas with no tags. No one selected the right gift from under the tree. So, when they unwrapped the gift with great expectations, they were met with disappointment as they recognized it wasn’t for them and had to turn it over to someone else. It was particularly a bad idea when you have two girls close in age. They’d open a gift, exclaim, “What I always wanted!” and then I would say, “Oh, that’s not yours, it’s your sister’s.” Needless to say, the spirit of Christmas didn’t last long in our house that morning. It went from grumbling to irritation to flat-out unhappiness.
A spirit of discontentment descended on King Saul. As David moved into the palace and became more and more successful, Saul grew more disgruntled. At first, Saul saw David as charming, with a temperament that soothed the king’s soul. But as people continued to sing David’s praises, the more Saul’s jealousy grew eventually to the point where Saul attempted to take David’s life at least four different times.
Saul’s jealousy grew eventually to the point where Saul attempted to take David’s life at least four different times.
While our home on that Christmas morning never reached that level of seriousness, it doesn’t take much to nurture an unkind spirit. When we focus on how things are not going well; when we compare ourselves to others; when we continually look for ways to set ourselves up to look better; when we stop giving and think only about receiving—it is then that discontentment can take root and grow until it pushes away the kind and gentle Spirit that Jesus wants to bring to our hearts.
Certainly, there are times when things won’t go well, much like realizing none of the presents are yours and everyone else’s seem better. It’s okay to acknowledge disappointment. But after we do, let’s lift our eyes away from ourselves. Think of Jesus. Think of our blessings. Replenish your spirit and be renewed.
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Saul and David were two men with vastly different experiences, but both made mistakes. David ran from Saul and made two critical errors—the first at Nob and the second at Gath. Saul ordered the killing of 85 priests, including the High Priest. What made the sin even more grievous was that Doeg, Saul’s henchman, went on to wipe out the entire town of Nob, save one.
But what about David? David made some serious errors which from all appearances (there’s the word we’ve encountered the past three weeks) seemed as if he had abandoned God. He lied to the High Priest and sought refuge with the enemy (nonbelievers). Remember, all through David’s early life we have been shown that God recognizes not what is seen on the outside of people, but the heart, where one’s true allegiance lies.
If we layer the Psalms David wrote on top of this part of his life, we will discover that David may have appeared to abandon God, in actuality, God was with him the entire time. Yes, David made mistakes, but God was never far from his heart. Even when it appeared that David was running in an opposite direction from where God wished him to go, the Psalms revealed where his heart was.
Read these verses to describe what was happening to David and then the psalm he wrote in response.
|1 Samuel 19:12-18|| Psalm 59
|1 Samuel 21:10-15||Psalm 34|
|1 Samuel 22: 1, 2||Psalm 57|
|1 Samuel 22:5||Psalm 52|
|1 Samuel 23:14-23||Psalm 11 and 54|
|1 Samuel 23:29||Psalm 142|
|1 Samuel 25:1||Psalm 120 and 121|
Making it Real
If you haven’t taken the time to read any of the above Psalms, choose one or two or all to read at some point this week. Then compose your own psalm (at least the words) that reflects your journey with God.
Respond & Share
Have you ever panicked and run in opposition to God? How did you find your way back? Share with us in the comments below!
Merle Poirier writes from Silver Spring, Maryland, where she works as the operation manager for Adventist Review and Adventist World magazines as well as the designer for KidsView, a magazine for 8-12-year-olds. She enjoys spending time with her family including being the grandmother of two active little boys, who greatly enjoy Starting With Jesus.