READ: 1 Samuel 18-19
THINK: Have you ever been attacked by the "green-eyed monster"? That's the analogy some use to describe jealousy. This envious emotion is a frightening prospect in a person's life, and it can bring destruction to anyone who is nearby. Jealousy eats at a person's spirit and arouses suspicion. It clouds a person's judgment and incites erratic behavior. Left unchecked, jealousy breeds bitterness and can literally drive a person insane. God's presence is not compatible with jealousy, and those who allow themselves to be consumed with jealousy risk alienating themselves not only from other people but from God himself. Rather than succumbing to the attack of jealousy, look for reasons to celebrate the blessings, talents and opportunities God gives others. These things are a credit to God, and if you acknowledge Him, you might be pleasantly surprised at the blessings and opportunities that come back to you.
RESPOND: What do you think accounted for Jonathan's and David's close friendship? What do you think accounted for David's success in all he did (18:5,14)? Why was Saul angry over how the Israelite women celebrated the victory over the Philistines (18:6-8)? How did Saul's jealousy affect him, and why did it turn to suspicion of David (18:8-9,15,28)? Why was Saul troubled by an evil spirit, and how could he still prophesy under that influence? (See 18:10 note.) How did Saul intend to get rid of David (18:17,20-21)? Why do you think David was hesitant to marry either of Saul's daughters (18:18,23)? Why did Jonathan defend David so strongly (19:4-5), even though David's success would detract attention from Jonathan? Who were the prophets with Samuel, and how was the power of God's Spirit evident among them (19:20-24)? What purpose did Samuel's school of prophets serve? (See 19:20 note.) Why and how might God's Spirit come over people who are not following His plans? (See 19:21 note.) Does being empowered by the Holy Spirit automatically mean that a person is in a right relationship with God? Why or why not? (See 19:21 note, subpoint 2.)
PRAY: Pray for someone of whom you've been jealous or envious. Ask God to forgive you for your attitude and for not honoring Him for other people's opportunities and successes. Pray that you'll never resent God's blessing or work in other people's lives and that you'll never take for granted the power of God's Spirit in your life.
ACT: Give a sincere compliment or demonstrate a specific act of kindness to someone of whom you've been jealous or envious in the past. If you've acted harshly toward the person, apologize and make things right. This will do wonders for your attitude and perspective. It may even enhance an old friendship or spark a new one.
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