1 Samuel 18: 9 (NLT)
So from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David.
Exodus 34: 14
Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.
Deuteronomy 32: 21
They made me jealous by what is no god and angered me with their worthless idols.
Proverbs 27: 4
Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?
Jealousy is one of those ugly emotions that we really don’t want to show or admit to. It’s funny, that in the 11 years I’ve been in ordained ministry, I’ve had people come to me to talk about almost every single issue you can think of: relationships, sin, lust, adultery, debt, depression, anger – almost everything. But I have never had anyone come to me and say: 'Craig, I’m really struggling with jealousy. I’m finding it really difficult to deal with envy at the minute.'
Jealousy and envy are things which we really don’t want to admit to other people and yet we all wrestle with at different levels and at different stages.
Envy and jealousy start out seeming innocent enough, they seem harmless. But the fact is, they can be poisonous, they can be toxic - to friendships, workplaces, families, churches – anywhere where you have people filled with jealousy and envy, you’re going to get all sorts of problems.
Jealousy is a bit like all other emotions - it can be good or bad. Think about it. Anger can be good if it is anger at injustice and wrongdoing, but anger can be destructive if it is selfish or violent anger. Even pride – for a parent to be proud of their 7 year old son for getting his spellings correct in school is a healthy pride. For me to be proud because I’ve got a bigger house than you is an arrogant pride.
Jealousy is the same – jealousy can be good. The Bible says that God is a jealous God. That means he doesn’t want us to share our worship and devotion with anyone else. We are His and He is jealous for us and for our affections.
Even with a husband or wife – there can be a healthy jealousy. If my wife walked in tonight and said: "Craig, I’m heading to the cinema later with this fella from work called Brad", I’d say, "No you’re not. Unless Brad’s boyfriend is going as well! You’re not going to sit in any dark room with another man!"
Imagine if I didn’t get jealous. If my attitude was: "Yeah, go out with this fella and enjoy yourself, stay out late, do what you want." What would that say about my love for my wife? It would show that I didn’t really love her.
There’s a healthy, good, right emotion of jealousy.
The healthy jealousy is being JEALOUS FOR someone – God is jealous for our love, I’m jealous for my wife’s affection.
Unhealthy jealousy is when we are JEALOUS OF someone.
We are jealous of someone because we want something that they have, they are getting something that we think should be ours, we fear losing something that we think is rightfully ours.
It could be almost anything. It could be possessions – house, car, clothes, holidays, new iphone
It could be their position – their job, they get a promotion or they get a position of responsibility, it could be your feeling that they’re your parent’s favourite, it could be that they are married and you’re not, their popularity – you think that they are more popular than you.
It could be how they look – we’re jealous because of how pretty or good looking someone is. I love watching women when an attractive woman walks into the room – they all look her up and down, and you can almost read their minds.
Really, you could be jealous of almost anything. That initial feeling of jealousy always seems harmless enough – it’s no big deal. But the problem is what jealousy lead to. Jealousy is the root and once we allow that to grow – the fruit of it in our lives can be damaging and destructive to ourselves and other people. Jealousy can lead to frustration, anger, hurt – and even violence.
That’s what we’re going to see in the coming days as we look at Saul and David in the aftermath of David killing Goliath.
Emotions that aren’t submitted to God, emotions that aren’t kept in check, can become toxic and damaging to ourselves and our relationships with others. And they can give the devil a foothold or a control over part of our lives from which we can find it very difficult to break free.