Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Anger "Management," Part Two: Case Study II

(Miss the first part in this series?)

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Anger:  Case Study II      Saul, I Samuel 18
The Background
When David (by God's grace and help) defeated Goliath, the Philistine giant, King Saul was thrilled--understandably so!  Israel had a lot riding on David's success, after all!  King Saul promoted David in his army and probably felt really proud of his new military acquisition...excited about future victories that he'd surely achieve.  When they got home, though, David--not Saul--was the new hero of Israel.  The ladies, especially, loved him.  And they held a little dance party in the streets for David, singing a little song about his amazing victory.  It went something like this:
  Saul has killed thousands,
  And David has killed tens of thousands!

And King Saul became angry. 

You can almost hear the whine in his voice as he pouts, "They have ascribed to David ten thousands, but to me only thousands:  what more can he have but the whole kingdom?"

The Heart Issue
Like Cain, Saul's heart issue was envy.  Saul became angry because David received more accolades and recognition than he.  What a proud man--Saul had had ample opportunity to fight Goliath and was too afraid.  But when David did the job and was praised for it?  Well, that just about sent Saul over the edge. 

See, Saul was a man-pleaser.  He had grown accustomed and addicted to the praise of men.  He thought he deserved the song-and-dance more than David did.  And the Bible tells us that "Saul eyed David from that day on," deceiving him and trying several times to kill him.  (There's a lesson to be learned here about God's protection and preservation of those who are faithful to Him!  Glory!  But that's for another day.) 

:::Making it Personal:::
The root problem was not Saul's angry spirit, but rather the idol of  Man's Recognition which he had erected in his heart.  Anger was merely the rotten fruit that displayed itself over time.  This is why tactics such as breathing deeply, counting to ten, and/or retreating to another room will not ultimately solve my problem with anger...because the roots of idolatry are still alive and well and producing the fruit of anger! 

The (Attempt at) Resolution
Much later, Saul expresses what appears to be sincere humility toward David.  Although he eventually gives up the chase, there's no evidence that he took any great measures to further restore his relationship with David, or with God.

The Result of Envious Anger
Saul is another casualty of envious anger.  One wonders what mighty things God may have done with a humble, consecrated King Saul.  Instead, Saul spent his life chasing the object of his anger, consumed with his craving for man's recognition.  Finally, we witness Saul begging his armorbearer to kill him when he's wounded in battle.  When his armorbearer refuses, Saul takes his own life.  Even after his death, his enemies make a public mockery of him.  What a tragic legacy to leave behind.

Lord, the roots of my heart's idols run deep, indeed! 
Thank you for your living and powerful Word, which cuts them out, roots and all! 
Hebrews 4:12

3 comments:

Mary Ann said...

Ouch. I'm going to have to stop reading your blog!
I mean, amen, Karen! Such pointed truth about how destructive our envy & anger are. Definitely sin to take very seriously & that needs to be rooted out of our lives.
Thanks for your insight!

Stacey said...

Karen....is this study your doing out of a book? or just your own personal devotion...revelation? It's great teaching material, would love more!

Karen said...

Just from my quiet time, Stacey. Glad it's helpful.