There’s an old story about a king who had all he wanted at his disposal. He lived in a palace, had many servants, a great army, wives, children and a power that few mortals get to experience.
Yet, much of his reign was spent pursuing a young field hand from several towns over. The kid had done nothing to the king. In fact, the young man had actually placed his own life on the line in an effort to protect the kingdom – and he came out the victor!
Interestingly enough, that’s where the trouble started.
The townspeople were so impressed by the young boy that the king could no longer enjoy the lavish blessings surrounding him. Instead, his entire existence was consumed with jealousy over the victory that the boy had experienced… a victory the king, himself, could have claimed had he been willing to step out in faith. It wasn’t long before his jealousy so consumed him, that he left his palace in pursuit of David with one goal in mind – kill him.
King Saul’s seething jealousy of David, the shepherd boy, is found in 1 Samuel. There we read of pursuits in the wilderness, hunger, danger, depression… and even royal potty breaks in dark caves.
Because of Saul’s focused hatred for David, he eventually finds himself sleeping in the wilderness surrounded by a bunch of smelly guys while his wives slept peacefully in the beauty of their palace home.
Saul’s morning constitution meant attempting to find a comfortable position in the darkness of a grimy cave so as not to dirty his royal robes while relieving himself. What he didn’t know was that his nemesis, David, was watching him from behind a rock several feet away. David even cut off part of the king’s robe to prove it.
Their story begs the question: what pulls us away from Kingdom living? What takes us so far from our palace that we find ourselves in the filth of a life we never expected to experience again?
Was David a great kid? Yes.
Did he do some pretty amazing things? Umm… yeah - carrying Goliath’s head around in a gunny sack is pretty… umm..noteworthy (gag).
And though David might have had just as many (if not more) Twitter followers as King Saul, he also possessed a respect and a love for his king. A respect that kept him from stealing the kingdom – a respect that kept him from taking Saul’s life no matter how often he had the opportunity. A respect that demanded others view Saul with the reverence his position deserved.
Saul saw David as a threat. He hated anyone admiring David more than they admired him and he missed out on kingdom living simply because he was unable to move past the bondage of jealousy.
He missed nights at home with his wife.
He missed afternoons playing ball with his sons.
He missed seeing his daughters skipping happily through the palace halls.
He missed opportunities to use his power to do good for those around him.
He missed leading his people.
Isn’t it sad? The things that we so willingly give up in our pursuit of ruining someone else’s life?
What has the power to draw you out… away from the life God has intended?
It’s ironic that it is often the things… often the people we struggle with loving the most that pull us into a wilderness existence…far from the palace of Kingdom living?
To be jealous of another is bad enough but to be willing to give up the pleasures of Kingdom living simply to ruin the life of another – is it worth it?
Count the cost.
Consider the price.
It’s unlikely that Saul ever considered that though he would never have given up his kingdom to David, he in essence gave it up for him. The appetite for David’s death outweighed the ability to let his jealousy go and enjoy the life God had intended for him.
And, in the end, he lost his kingdom.