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Burning Jealousy
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King Saul hated David with great passion! The young shepherd boy had repeatedly shown himself to be wise and strong. Every effort of the jealous king to destroy David turned against the ruler. Saul could not pin the future monarch of Israel down. He was always on the move. Even javelins hurled at David seemed to be mysteriously turned away by a hidden hand. God protected the next anointed king as Saul’s jealousy burned deeper and deeper.

I was reminded of the hidden destructive power of jealousy when I was burning piles of brush on our property recently. Almost a dump truck load of sticks and small trees, branches and twigs were tossed onto the burn pile and consumed. After the job was finished I took a break. I eventually came out to see an ash heap about three feet high. The outside was covered with a fine, light gray powder.

Since I didn’t see any smoke, I took an old rake and stirred the pile. Suddenly a blast of heat hit me in the face, not enough to hurt me but enough to get my attention. Beneath the gray ash were lots of hot burning embers still smoldering. The deceptive covering and lack of flames gave the impression the pile was finished burning. Yet with a little stirring I quickly discovered the work was not finished. There were still plenty of coals and blackened chunks of wood living beneath the surface.


The experience brought to mind a time when we went camping with some relatives. A campfire had burned brightly one night and eventually went out during the middle of the night. The next day it was completely dead—or so thought our four-year-old son. After breakfast he went exploring the grounds when suddenly we heard him shouting and crying. Evidently he thought the powdery gray ash was fun to step in until he bumped into some hidden embers. We quickly snatched him up and ran his foot under icy cold water.

Jealousy can burn deep in our hearts for a long time. King Saul first felt its twinge when the young women of Israel sang, “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands” (1 Samuel 18:7).  Rather than cleansing his heart of this hateful sin, it continued to smolder and burn until the king, whom Israel had so gladly chosen, became a madman who would even kill Abimelech, the high priest and his entire family at Nob out of a fit of rage (see 1 Samuel 22).

Jealousy is not to be played with. It would be well for each of us to pray, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23). Ask God to stir your heart and burn out all sin, especially the deadly evil called jealousy.

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By Curtis Rittenour. Copyright © 2013 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW KING JAMES VERSION © 1982 and the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION.

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