The Davidic Covenant 5 - The Seed

The Davidic Covenant 5 – The Seed

When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men.” –  2 Samuel 7:12-14 (NKJV)

The seed of David is a descendent of David. The Davidic Covenant goes beyond the lifetime of King David himself. Yet, it is not descendants, but a particular descendent as it is singular in all mention of him.

I want to first establish that King Solomon is NOT the descendent referred to in this context based on the few conditions stated in this covenant.

  1. “Build a house for God’s name” – Solomon did build temple for God but it never carried God’s name. It was called the Temple of Solomon.
  2. “Establish the throne of his kingdom forever” – We know historically that after Solomon, the Kingdom of Israel was in a decline and eventually lost her sovereignty.
  3. “I will be his Father, and he shall be My son” – Solomon was known as the son of David, never as a son of God.

I will be his Father, and he shall be My son

This one line blew my mind. God adopts David’s son as His own. This is a singular individual adoption of a son of David. We as believers are children of God as a collective through Jesus Christ, i.e. a second degree adoption. The Davidic Covenant is a first degree direct adoption by God with David the father. This means that this son will be called both son of David and son of God. Based on this, we know the only person carrying this dual identity is Jesus Christ. Jesus’ genealogy traces back to David (Matthew 1:1-17, Luke 3:23-38, Romans 1:3-4, Revelation 5:5 & 22:16).

Following this declaration, God went on to talk about chastening this son. God was clear that He will not give special concession to His son from earthly human discipline for trespasses. The son of God is not spared of the consequences of sin as the son of David, a man, no concession or exemption. It is hard to reconcile this as we know that Jesus was sinless on earth. The Son of God should not have sin on him. Yet as the son of David and as the king over all nations (as discussed in Part 4 on Rest), the responsibility of the sin of all his subjects in the kingdom is upon him. This is what great leaders do. Jesus did exactly this. He went on the cross for the sin of all in His Kingdom, suffering the “rod and blows of man”.

Throne of His Kingdom Forever

The only possible kingdom that will last forever, literally eternity, will be one of God. No earthly king could ever achieve this, even the greatest empires and kingdoms. This is impossible by human means and effort. Therefore God promised to establish this kingdom. God repeated “I will establish his kingdom” and “I will establish the throne of his kingdom” with the emphasis of His sovereignty in this matter.

House for God’s Name

God stated that this house will carry the name of God. This makes complete sense as the kingdom and throne will be established by God Himself. The Tabernacle of David was named after David, similarly the Temple of Solomon after Solomon. We know that historically, Temple of Solomon was destroyed 586 BCE when the Babylonians captured Jerusalem. The Ark of the Covenant was also lost. There was no physical house built for God since then till present. So what might this house be?

Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?” 21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body. 22 Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said.” – John 2:19-22 (NKJV)

Jesus talked about destroying the Temple and rebuilding it again in three days. Verse 22 interpreted it for us as Christ’s death and resurrection. John Piper’s exposition on this passage provided a second level of understanding that “this temple” that Jesus was referring to can also mean the physical temple that He was in at that time (https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/destroy-this-temple-and-in-three-days-i-will-raise-it-up). The Pharisees were on the road to destroying the temple when they hide their love for money behind religion. The temple is only truly a temple when the presence of God in the temple, otherwise it is an empty shell. Based on this definition of a temple, Jesus is the temple of God as He embodies 100% of God here on earth.

I love the word used in this covenant is house and not temple. House is God’s abiding place with relationship and intimacy. Whereas a temple is more ritualistic that is distant and formal. This covenant is a paradigm shift. The house of God is moved from place to person, represented by the shift from temple to house, which I see as from ritualistic to relational.

Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” – 1 Corinthian 3:16  (NKJV)

Based on the same rationale that the temple of God is where God presence is, followers of Jesus Christ who are filled with the Spirit of God are also temple of God. The temple of God has now been decentralised and scattered where geographical location is no longer a limitation. The “seed” has multiplied!

Jesus is the Seed

Conclusion of the matter is that Jesus is the seed or descendent referred to in the Davidic Covenant. As straight forward as this conclusion is to some, I appreciated the multi-levels and depth of this implication to my revelation of Jesus Christ’s purpose of birth, life, death, resurrection, and second coming.

The Davidic Covenant Series:

The Davidic Covenant 4 - The Rest

The Davidic Covenant 4 – The Rest

I will also appoint a place for My people Israel and will plant them, that they may live in their own place and not be disturbed again, nor will the wicked afflict them any more as formerly, I will give you rest from all your enemies.” – 2 Sam 7:10-11a

The context of the Davidic Covenant was God’s response to David’s desire to build Him a house when Israel was in a place of prosperity and peace. It was a time of rest for David and Israel. It is a little baffling to promise rest at this point. From a human’s need point of view, the promise would have given more assurance and comfort before the battles fought for the land?

Was the rest King David enjoyed permanent? Historically, we know it was not. David’s absence from war when he decided to stay in Jerusalem led him to adultery with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11:1). Even with the established Kingdom of David at that time, he still had to go out to war to maintain peace as the enemies were not at rest. When the enemy is still at work, there is no true rest. The kingdom reached its peak during King Solomon’s days, after which it was a slippery road of loss. Israel eventually lost its sovereignty as a nation and its land. Closer to our times, the Holocaust is a horror in history to the Jewish people that the world is still left wondering how it happened. The modern nation of Israel is also constantly at war with its neighbours now. The promise of rest from all enemies in the physical has not come to pass till today as the nation of Israel is still at war.

True Rest from all the Enemies

When can true rest from all the enemies be experienced?

One way of looking at true rest is when we are sure of victory. As strange as it may sound, a battle can be fought from a place of rest rather than from a place of fear or survival. The mime below shows the “restedness” of Daniel, Peter and Jesus despite their threatening circumstances. King David had this rest when he fought Goliath and all the other battles. If David already had this rest, what is the rest that God promised him in this covenant?

I believe the rest promised here is the literal rest from all enemies, both psychologically and physically. There are prophecies about Israel’s eternal sovereignty and complete victory over her enemies like Zechariah 14:3-9, which points to complete rest for Israel so this perspective aligns with other prophecies.

It is interesting that God changed from “they” and “them” in reference to Israel, to “you” in reference to David within this same verse and sentence. The rest given is to the whole of Israel. For a king, there is no guarantee of rest even when the nation is at rest as the king bears the responsibility of maintaining the rest. Therefore, God addressed David directly with “you”, promising him a complete rest where the king does not need to fight anymore. For this true rest to come, David and/or his descendents cannot be just the king of Israel but as king over all i.e. no more enemies. This promise is yet to be fulfilled till now.

The beauty of God’s covenant is that there is surety of the fulfilment of rest now in Jesus Christ, the Son of David. It is not a down payment as it is paid in full. Paid but not fully claimed might be more appropriate. Even though Jesus has not stepped into the full glory as King over all the nations, His victory on the cross and death gives all who believed in Him a guarantee of this promise to come.

This is another instant where “Now and Not Yet” co-exist Biblically.

Meanwhile, thought I will share this verse with you all that popped up while I was meditating on this topic… =)

2019-04-03 11.05.32.jpg
This is the Verse of the Day on 3 April 2019 in the Bible app while I was still meditating on “REST” while writing this. Says it all that Jesus is the answer for the REST.

The Davidic Covenant Series:

The Davidic Covenant 3 - The Name

The Davidic Covenant 3 – The Name

I have been with you wherever you have gone and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make you a great name, like the names of the great men who are on the earth.” – 2 Sam 7:9 (NASB)

What’s In A Name?

With the promise of a great name in the Davidic Covenant, the first question that arose in my mind is “what’s in a name?” Biblically, a person’s name is a reflection of the person’s destiny in God. This explains why God specifically told Mary to name her son Jesus (Matthew 1:21), which means God is salvation. Jesus is the Saviour of the world through his birth, death and resurrection. There are many more Biblical names that we can discuss but here, our focus is on David, and in relation to the Tabernacle of David.

The Name of David

The Hebrew characters of David is דָּוִד which can be pronounced as “da-wid.” David means “beloved”, derived from the root דּוֹד dôwd, which had an etymological meaning of “to boil”. Interestingly, it evolves in Biblical Hebrew only in figurative usage “to love” and also specifically a term for an uncle (father’s brother).  The two meanings of “beloved” and “uncle” of David bears significance in the calling of David.

The Tabernacle of the Uncle

Tabernacle of the Uncle sounds really strange. I was ready to put this aside until I felt a prompting to dwell on it a little more. I am going to try to explain a complex relationship between God, David and the Son of David/God, Jesus here. God and David have a common son, Jesus, who is both called the Son of God and Son of David. As absurd as this may sound, in this context, God and David are in the same generation standing in a family tree. God and David are both fathers of Jesus, and in a sense uncles, “brothers” of each other.

This relationship from the name paints a picture of close kinship – family. To the Israelites who related to God through the Tabernacle of the Lord, to consider God as family will be sacrilegious and complete dishonouring of God. The Tabernacle of David was erected before the Davidic Covenant was given though. One might see the name as prophetic to the Davidic Covenant that is to come. For me, I am more convicted that the relationship David had with God already reflected kinship and the covenant was a seal of what had already developed.

The Tabernacle of the Beloved

When I put the word “Beloved” into the phrase Tabernacle of David, my whole being leaped in joy. Here we see a deepening in relationship from kinship to intimacy. Embedded in the simple name of David, the significance of the Tabernacle of David came to light. Two popular verses immediately came to mind:

  • Song of Solomon 6:3 “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine, He who pastures his flock among the lilies.
  • Revelation 22:17 “The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.

The image of the end time bride of Christ emerges from these verses. In Song of Solomon, the beloved is often times allegorically interpreted as the end-times church. The bride in Revelation is also interpreted as the church of Christ (ref Eph 5:25-32; 2 Cor 11:2). Notwithstanding that in the Old Testament, Israel is often referred to as wife and God as the husband (E.g. Hos 2:7; Isa 54:6). There is an intimacy suggested by the name of the Tabernacle of David, an intimacy that lasts through the end of time of this earth and beyond.

Beloved pronounced the status of relationship of intimacy. In the Tabernacle of David, there was no ceremonial sacrifice and separation between God and man. David was able to meet with God face to face, and others who seek Him bypassing required rituals. It baffled me why God allowed David to break the laws punishable by death to erect this tabernacle without instruction from God like with Moses, but simply by David’s initiation. David had the audacity to do so because he knew God intimately. The Tabernacle of David was birthed from a place of intimacy and not of legality. This intimacy is expressed through joy instead of the solemn fear portrayed in the Tabernacle of the Lord with Moses.

A Great Name

He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.” 2 Samuel 7:13 (NASB)

The Davidic Covenant promised a great name. As we read further to verse 13, the name of David will be great because it is tied to God’s name. The Davidic Covenant is not solely about David but God. God has willingly tied His name intricately to David’s, where the house of David bears the name of God. This is seen in Jesus who is known as both Son of David and Son of God.

How can David’s name not be great when it is so intimately tied to God? It is not the great name, or fame that is the key here. I believe the key lesson here is the relationship that David has with God. The great name is simply a byproduct of intimacy by rubbing off the greatness of God, but never a goal or objective to be achieved.

The Davidic Covenant Series:

Defining The Tabernacle of David – Word Study

Defining The Tabernacle of David – Word Study
Born and bred in an urban city, tent is not a common sight for me. Since the topic is about the Tabernacle of David, I feel the need to understand tabernacle better. I am no Hebrew and Greek scholar but the lexicon is usually a good starting point.

I will start from the New Testament since there is only one verse with the mention of Tabernacle of David. The Greek word for Tabernacle in Acts 15:16 is Skene (σκηνη, Strong’s Number: 4633). Skene is defined as a “tent, tabernacle (made of green boughs, or skins or other materials)”, and also “the movable temple of God after the pattern of which the temple at Jerusalem was built”. In Acts 7:43-44, skene was the Tabernacle of Moses. In Rev 13:6; 15:5 and 21:3, skene is used in the context of after the judgments. There is no difference in words used for the Tabernacle of Moses and Tabernacle of David.

The Old Testament Hebrew has more vocabulary for tabernacle than Greek and English.

The word ‘ohel (אהל, Strong’s Number: 0168) is frequently used for the Tabernacle of Moses in Exodus. ‘ohel means a nomad’s tent, a dwelling, home and habitation. Even though it is nomadic and mobile, it functions as a long-term dwelling, a home. The Tabernacle of Moses withstood 40 years of wilderness wandering and entered the Promised Land! It was definitely highly durable and permanent.

A different Hebrew word is used for Tabernacle of David in Amos 9:11, which is the key Old Testament verse. The Hebrew word for tabernacle in Amos 9:11 is Cukkah (יככה Strong’s No: 05521). Cukkah is a booth, “a rude or temporary shelter”. The Feast of Tabernacles or Feast of Booths (Lev 23:33-43) uses the same Hebrew word, Cukkah. The people of Israel are commended to build temporary booths or tabernacles and live under the Cukkah during the seven days of the feast. The Feast of Tabernacles is mentioned in Zec 14, which wrote about The Day of the Lord, which is commonly interpreted as the final Judgment Day. The passage of Zec 14:16-21 prophesied that the Feast of Tabernacles will be celebrated after the Day of the Lord. Even though Cukkah is temporary in its physical nature, God has a long-term purpose for Cukkah.

Here lies the paradox. The extremely durable Tabernacle of Moses was not required after Jesus established the New Covenant but the rude temporary Cukkah of David has a purpose beyond its durability. Interestingly, ‘ohel is used in Isa 16:5 for the Tabernacle of David in the context of final judgment by the One, referring to the Messiah.

Physically, the Cukkah being a temporary tent requires restoration over time, especially for the Day of the Lord. Yet, is the restoration just the physical tent? Since it is meant to be temporary, restoration of the physical tent will be challenging and replacing it might be a better solution. If the restoration work is not only referring to the physical tent, what does it then refer to? We can only restore what we know. The definition of the Tabernacle of David that is to be restored is not found in a word study. So a Biblical study is needed to understand this.

A side note: The Tabernacle built by Moses was not called the Tabernacle of Moses in the Bible but the Tabernacle of the Lord. I will use the Tabernacle of Moses as most of us understand this phrase but thought I will point out that only the Tabernacle of David was named after the builder in the Bible.

Devotion on Envy Part 5/5 – World

Here is part 5 of the devotion on Envy.


HANDLING OTHER’S ENVY

David’s favor and blessings from God, even before the public announcement of God’s appointment of him as king was known to Saul, was the cause of Saul’s envy. The Bible recorded that David was careful in how he conduct himself. 1 Sam 18:5 in some translations like NKJV & AMP translated the verse as David “behaved wisely”. He never intentionally raised himself to be above Saul, but served Saul whole-heartedly with respect. When Saul was distressed by an evil spirit, David played music to soothe him. When Saul needed a soldier to fight, David fought. When Saul tried to kill him, David dodged but never attacked. When Saul pursued his life, David became a fugitive but never once instigated a rebellion for the wrong he suffered. Through the mouth of Saul, he confessed to David that he knew that David was blameless, saying “You are more righteous than I” (1 Sam 24:17) and “I have sinned” in 1 Sam 26:21.

More often than not, the favor, anointing and blessings of God set us up as envy targets. Solomon in his wisdom wrote in Ecclesiastes 4:4 “And I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person’s envy of another. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” The motivation for hard work is envy and the drive to success is the desire to be in a position that others envy. Our salvation, calling, anointing and blessings of God are God’s grace and not by our striving. The hard question is: how do we respond to other’s envy because of God’s grace in our lives? We can repent of our own envy of others, but when it is others’ envy toward us, it is beyond our control. Yet before pushing all responsibility of others’ envy away, it is crucial that we do a self-check.

Have we given honor, full respect and support to the very person who is attacking us out of envy, just like how David treated Saul? There might be hidden bias and sometimes even self-righteousness in us that might have unconsciously surfaced in our tone, choice of words, body language and even actions that added fuel to the already flaming envy. Perhaps we can be of help for the person with envy, helping him to overcome envy by our conduct with gentleness and much sensitivity, and of course undergirded with lots of prayer. In the case of David with Saul, there was no success in stopping Saul from pursuing David, but the process honed David’s character and also his dependence on God.

Why would God want to put His children in the limelight and not prevent envy? Paul writes in Romans 11:11 that “salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious” and in v14 “I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them”. We can see in Romans 11 that God’s strategic purpose is to bring Israel back to God by blessing the Gentiles with salvation. Although this verse is in the context of salvation of Israel, we can apply this same principle to the pre-believers in the world, which also includes Israel. God allows envy to remain so that this envy becomes a motivation for people to seek God, going beyond the material and worldly successes to the source. So how are we as believers to respond to the other’s envy of God’s blessings?

Devotion on Envy Part 4/5 – Family/ Workplace/ School

Here is part 4 of the devotion on Envy.


RETHINKING ENVY

Psalm 55:12-14

“12 If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it;

if a foe were rising against me, I could hide.

13 But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend,

14 with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship at the house of God,

as we walked about among the worshipers.

Envy happens among people in close proximity. Saul was to be like a father and leader to David. Saul’s son Jonathan was David’s covenantal brother, and his daughter Michal married David. The kingship’s anointing upon David had made him a competitor to Saul’s throne. It is interesting that Saul recognizes this anointing upon David (1 Sam 24:20) even though Samuel’s anointing of David was done in private. Saul saw the potential, calling and destiny of David and was fearful. Saul also knew that God was with David. Saul acted even before David rose to his full destiny. In fact, he was trying to stop David.

Compare Saul to our Abba Father who also declares himself as jealous in Exodus 20:5 when God gave the second of the Ten Commandments to Moses saying, “You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me”. This same jealousy of God is also recorded in Psalm 78:58 and 79:5. The jealousy of God is not something we should even try to provoke. We will not split hairs with the definition and differences of envy and jealousy as they are different sides of the same coin. How is the envy of Saul different from the jealousy of God? What makes God’s jealousy right while our envy wrong? God is jealous for us and we are jealous of another. God’s jealousy is protective and our jealousy is destructive. God’s jealousy is based on pure sacrificial love while our fleshy envy is self-centered. This is the Father’s love that each believer has. This is the security that David rested in.

David knew his destiny. He was secure in God. Pursued by Saul like a fugitive, he endured and did what was right in the eyes of God. He was deeply hurt and felt the pain of betrayal as expressed in Psalm 55. Yet he did not allow Saul’s envy to contaminate his heart with evil. Most importantly, David did not allow Saul’s actions to rob him of his destiny in God.

Apostle Paul reflects a similar attitude to other’s envy in Philippians where his focus is fixated on God and His kingdom, away from these momentary incidences.

Phi 1:15-18 “15 It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16 The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.”The bottomline is: “What does it matter?”

Devotion on Envy Part 3/5 – CHURCH

Here is part 3 of the devotion on Envy.


THE DESTRUCTIVENESS OF ENVY

Read 1 Sam 21-22.

The envy of Saul turned him into a bloodthirsty man. Ahimelech the priest in Nod fed David the holy bread without knowledge that David was fleeing from Saul. In fact, David lied to him that he was on official business. According to the Law, only the priest was allowed to eat of the holy bread. When David and his men ate, God did not punish them according to the Law. Yet when Saul found out, he killed eighty-five priests on that same day without any investigation of the truth but presumed that Ahimelech and the priests were on David’s side. Saul once again overstepped his boundaries into God’s business. God could have stopped Ahimelech or killed him when he gave the bread to David. Or David and his men could have died immediately after eating the bread. Yet God extended His grace to all. Saul commanded an Edomite, Doeg to kill the priests of God when none of his servants dared. Saul literally delivered his own people who served his God into the hands of the enemy in this senseless rage. He exterminated Nob, the city of priests, including women, children and animals with only one priest who escaped to David. Compare Saul’s actions with David’s response to Abishai, “Don’t destroy him! Who can lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed and be guiltless?” (1 Sam 26:9) to the extermination of a city of priests.

Saul lost all fear and respect for God when he was overcame by envy. This is a heart wrenching episode, especially when Israel as a nation were at that point still stabilizing its sovereignty against her enemies. From here on, there was no record of Saul’s glorious victories in battles but an obsession to hunt down David. Saul lost sight of his kingship over Israel, the very thing he was trying to protect in his envy towards David. Instead of fighting external enemies, he became the enemy of Israel from within.

David was not the only victim of Saul’s envy. The collateral damage did not exclude the community of God’s servants. Nod is a representation of the church, a community of priests whom all believers are called to be. A physical murder of a church is unlikely to happen but a spiritual extermination of a community of believers by a person enraged by envy is not impossible. Envy is not simply an issue between two persons or a few. If it exists in the church, it affects everyone, not only at the personal level but also at the corporate level.

… when we envy one another in the kingdom of God, we release dynamics that actually bind the progress of the Kingdom in our sphere or region. Envy has the power to obstruct the release of Kingdom blessing, even in places where massive amounts of intercession for revival and visitation are ascending to God’s throne. In fact, I will argue in this book that envy has been responsible, perhaps more than any other evil or vice, for quenching the fires of revival both in the past and in the present.” – Bob Sorge

Devotion on Envy Part 2/5 – Interpersonal Level

Here is part 2 of the devotion on Envy.


WHEN ENVY DOES NOT EXIST

Jonathon was a peer of David and the rightful heir to Saul’s throne. If Saul was fearful that David will take over his kingdom, Jonathon should have more to fear since this concerned his future. Saul killed a thousand, at least according to the women’s singing, but Jonathon only had a battle to boast about which was recorded in 1 Sam 14, killing 20 and leading Israel to victory. Jonathon was not known as a mighty warrior although he was in battle with Saul. None sang about Jonathan. He was in the shadow of the kingdom; even with his “courageous hero” moment in 1 Sam 14, he received no warrior accolade. Instead, he was nearly put to death because he ate honey, ignorant of the oath Saul made for the Israelites to fast. The Israelites acknowledged his deliverance of the nation and saved him.

Despite these circumstances, Jonathon was David’s covenantal brother. David described the relationship as “more wonderful than that of women” (2 Sam 1:26). This was mutual as it was recorded many times that Jonathan “loved him (David) as himself” (1 Sam 18:1, 3; 20:17). In 1 Sam 18:4, it records that “Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt.” This act demonstrated that he was ready to give up his position as the crown prince to David. The sword that Jonathan carried is precious as it was recorded in 1 Sam 13:22 that Saul and Jonathan were the only ones who had swords in Israel. Although the Israelites would have obtained more swords from the Philistines from battle victories, but this sword represented Jonathan’s power and authority as crown prince. Jonathan acknowledged God’s calling and anointing upon David and submitted to God and David. This was a complete contrast to Saul’s response to David. Jonathan remained loyal to David, but remained filial as the son of Saul, battling alongside his father. It must be heart breaking for Jonathan to see his father bounty hunting for David and he never failed to defend David before Saul. When Jonathan knew that he could not stop Saul from killing David, a touching parting of ways was recorded.

After the boy had gone, David got up from the south side of the stone and bowed down before Jonathan three times, with his face to the ground. Then they kissed each other and wept together—but David wept the most. Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, for we have sworn friendship with each other in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord is witness between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants forever.’” Then David left, and Jonathan went back to the town.” 1 Sam 20:41-42

The relationship between David and Jonathan is an example where there is an absence of envy. In the absence of envy, we see a deep relationship despite circumstances being perfect breeding ground for envy and suspicion. It started and was held by a genuine agape love they had for each other.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” 1 Cor 13:4

Devotion on Envy Part 1/5 – Personal Level

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I recently finished writing a 5 days devotion on Envy for my churn’s group study and reflection on King Saul and King David. Thought I will share them here.


Bob Sorge defines envy as “the pain or distress we feel over another’s success”. Underlying this is a selfish competition with others.

King Saul was a successful man being the first king of Israel. Physically he was a head taller than average and the most handsome of all (1 Sam 9:2). When the Spirit of God fell upon Saul he prophesized with the prophets. He had accompanying signs to affirm his call and position.
We see a domino effect in Saul’s life bringing him on a downward spiral. The first was his presumptuousness by offering a sacrifice in the absence of prophet Samuel. His role and responsibilities as king were clearly explained to the people in the presence of Saul (1 Sam 10:25), and that does not include offering sacrifices before God. Following which, the battle with the Amalek surfaced Saul’s disobedience to God’s specific instructions and resulted in his rejection by God. Before the appearance of David, Saul was slipping and he knew that it was a matter of time that God would have him replaced. Such fear and insecurity became the breeding ground for envy when David came into his life.

When the men were returning home after David killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with timbrels and lyres. As they danced, they sang: “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.” Saul was very angry; this refrain displeased him greatly. “They have credited David with tens of thousands,” he thought, “but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?” And from that time on Saul kept a close eye on David.” – 1 Sam 18:6-9 (NIV)
This victory song triggered intense envy in Saul. There was no reason why King Saul should be envious; he was the king who held power over the nation and David was a mighty man under him. It was not unusual for kings to have generals who killed more enemies in the battlefield than the king. A wise king advances his kingdom with mighty and loyal generals. It seems petty that a simple refrain by women who were without social and political influence triggered Saul’s obsession with David’s death.

Imagine if Saul had intentionally jammed brake his spiral down by turning away from envy and repent before God, his end might be very different although there were still the consequences of sin. Perhaps David was supposed to be a channel of blessing for Saul instead of a threat that he perceived.

Saul fell in the the trap of envy because he lost sight of his calling and detiny. As followers of Jesus Christ, do we know our identity in Christ? If we do, the fear of another person(s) taking away our calling or blessing from God is groundless since the storehouse of heaven has more than enough for all of us. Let us find rest in this assurance of grace, and guard hearts to be quick to repent.

Envy has the power to sabotage our own personal destiny in God because God cannot honor our efforts when they are subliminally driven by impure motives.” – Bob Sorge

Using the Foolish to Shame the Wise

Simple Smiley

God sent most of Gideon’s men home
300 men against more than 100,000 men
But they WON the battle! (Judges 7-8)

The giant taunt and cursed by his gods
David ran to the battleline in the name of the Lord of Host
Then FELL Goliath under a stone & a sling (1 Sam 17)

A tightly shut impenetrable fortress city up on a hill
An untrained army circled the city led by the priest with the ark of the Lord
The city COLLAPSED at the shout of joy and the trumpet blast! (Joshua 6)

God likes the odds against him
His ways are higher than our ways
Great is the victory for those who obey & trust in Him!