(Today's post by Chris Queen)
I Samuel 17:55-19:24
Remember the Eagles hit, “New Kid In Town”? The first verse and chorus of the 1977 #1 smash talks about the upside of fame:
There's talk on the street; it sounds so familiar
Great expectations, everybody's watching you
People you meet, they all seem to know you
Even your old friends treat you like you're something new
Johnny come lately, the new kid in town
Everybody loves you, so don't let them down*
Shortly after Saul was anointed king, we saw him in that very position the Eagles describe, but things changed for Saul when his obedience to God took a back seat to a lot of other things.
In chapter 17, the young soon-to-be-king David defeated the seemingly unsinkable Goliath. David is now the new hero of Israel. He meets Saul’s son Jonathan, who will become his best friend.
When the men at war returned home, all the women came out to sing a song of victory. (Presumably the women met the army because all the men were at war, but also because David was a rock star!)
18:7 This was their song: “Saul has killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands!”
8 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!” 9 So from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David.
Next thing we know, Saul is trying to kill David! He hurls a spear at David – twice – and puts him in harm’s way in battle. He offers one daughter to David and then another – Michal, who is in love with David, for the price of 100 Philistine foreskins, a price that’s not just gross but dangerous. But David goes above and beyond, and God protects him every time.
18:28 When Saul realized that the Lord was with David and how much his daughter Michal loved him, 29 Saul became even more afraid of him, and he remained David’s enemy for the rest of his life.
30 Every time the commanders of the Philistines attacked, David was more successful against them than all the rest of Saul’s officers. So David’s name became very famous.
Back to the Eagles, as they point out the fleeting nature and downside of fame:
There's talk on the street, it's there to remind you
It doesn't really matter which side you're on.
You're walking away and they're talking behind you
They will never forget you 'til somebody new comes along
Where you been lately? There's a new kid in town
Everybody loves him, don't they?*
Saul tries again and again to kill David out of the jealousy that is eating him alive. His own son Jonathan and daughter Michal go out of their way to save David’s life. Saul knows that his time as king is limited, and he knows he has let the Lord down. But all he can see is the jealousy that he has for David. As we’ll see, this jealousy continues to flare up for Saul and his rivalry with David takes some really interesting turns ahead.
How do you handle the success of others – especially when it’s greater than yours? Is jealousy a problem for you? How can you rely on God to help you deal with others’ success more gracefully?
*”New Kid In Town,” (Frey/Henley) ©1976 Cass County Music, Red Cloud Music