The next day a spirit of distress sent from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied inside the house while David played the harp as usual. Now Saul was holding a spear,
1 Samuel 18:6-16. (GIBEAH)envy notice that -
I. IT TAKES ROOT IN AN EVIL HEART. In the case of Saul the soil was congenial and ready prepared by -
1. Alienation from God and conviction of his disfavour.
2. Selfishness and morbid concentration of thought upon himself.
3. Self-will, pride, and worldly ambition, still continuing and increasing.
4. Wrathful passion. He was very wroth, and the saying displeased him (ver. 8). "He who is apt to feel indignation, feels pain at those who are undeservedly successful; but the envious man, going beyond him, feels pain at every one's success" (Aristotle, 'Ethics').
II. IT GROWS IS THE SHADE OF ANOTHER'S PRE-EMINENCE in -
1. Popular estimation. "They have ascribed unto David ten thousands," etc. (ver. 8). "What properly occasions envy is the fruit of the accomplishments of others; the pre-eminence which the opinion of the world bestows, or which we dread it will bestow, on their talents above ours" (Blair).
2. Successful achievements, from which such preference proceeds. "The bright day brings out the adder." Prosperity is generally attended by envy.
3. Personal excellences. David "behaved himself wisely" (ver. 5); "very wisely" (ver. 15); "more wisely than all" (ver. 30). He acted prudently, cautiously, skilfully, and therefore prosperously. Base envy withers at another's joy, And hates the excellence it cannot reach (Thomson).
4. Divine approbation, which appears in prosperous enterprises. "And Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with him," etc. (ver. 12). "And Cain was very wroth," etc. (Genesis 4:5; 1 John 3:2). The envy felt at the favour shown to another by God is peculiarly criminal, because of its opposition to God himself.
III. IT IS MARKED BY MANY ODIOUS FEATURES.
2. In most cases ingratitude. David had conferred a great benefit on Saul and Israel by his victory over Goliath; he "went out whithersoever Saul sent him," and fought his battles; and often soothed his melancholy with the music of his harp (ver. 10).
3. Injustice. He did him "shame" (1 Samuel 20:34) by entertaining suspicions of his loyalty and treating him as a traitor.
4. Ungodliness and all uncharitableness. "Charity envieth not." "Envy is the worst of all passions, and feedeth upon the spirits, and they again upon the body; and so much the more because it is perpetual, and, as it is said, keepeth no holidays" (Bacon, 'Essays').
IV. IT IS PRODUCTIVE OF MUCH DEADLY FRUIT, in relation both to others (Proverbs 27:4) and to the envious man himself (Proverbs 14:30); partly of hatred and partly of grief. "As it shows itself in hatred it strikes at the person envied; but as it affects a man in the nature of grief it recoils and does execution upon the envier. It lies at the heart like a worm, always gnawing and corroding and piercing it with a secret, invisible sting and poison" (South, 'Sermons,' 58.). In Saul it produced unrest of soul, increased subjection to the power of evil - "it came to pass on the morrow," etc. (ver. 10); ungovernable rage - "he poised the javelin" twice; craft and hypocrisy; fear (vers. 11, 15); continual enmity (ver. 21); deliberate avowal of murderous intentions (1 Samuel 19:1); open and unceasing persecution; despair and self-destruction. "When in the last judgment envy is placed at the bar of God, what an indictment will he laid against the evil spirit! The insulting anger of Eliab, the cruelty of Joseph's brethren, the murderous wrath of Cain, and the greatest share in the greatest crime in the world - the crucifying of the Lord of glory - will be charged upon him. To cast this demon out of our bosoms before that final condemnation is one purpose of Jesus, and with all our hearts we should pray for his complete and. speedy victory" (C Vince). Conclusion: - In order to the cure or prevention of this evil passion, seek a renewed heart; dwell much on the Divine love "that spurns all envying in its bounty;" estimate aright temporal advantages; entertain lowly thoughts of self; learn to admire excellence in others, and regard it as if it were your own; check the first impulse of jealous or envious feeling; and "commit thy way unto the Lord."
"O man! why place thy heart where there doth need
And David played with his hand as at other times, and there was a javelin in Saul's hand.
1. It suggests to me music as a medicine for physical and mental disorders. David took hold of the musical instrument which he best knew how to play and evoked from it sounds which were for King Saul's diversion and medicament. Why was it a failure? Saul refused to take the medicine. A whole apothecary shop of curative drugs will do nothing toward healing your illnesses if you refuse to take the medicine. It was not the fault of David's prescription, but the fault of Soul's obstinacy. Music is the mightiest force in all therapeutics. Its results may not be seen as suddenly as other forms of cure, but it is just as wonderful. You will never know how much suffering and sorrow music has assuaged and healed. A soldier in the United States Army said that on the days the regimental band played near the hospitals all the sick and wounded revived, and men who were so lame they could not walk before got up and went, out and sat in the sunshine, and those so dispirited that they never expected to get home began to pack their baggage and ask about timetables on steamboat and rail train. Theodosius, the Emperor, wrathful at the behaviour of the people of Antioch, who, on some sudden provocation, tore down the statues of Emperor and Empress, resolved severely to punish them, but the Bishop, knowing that the Emperor had a group of boys sing to him while eating at the table, taught the boys a plaintive song in which the people lamented their bad behaviour, and the king, under the pathos of the music, cried out: "The city of Antioch is forgiven." The rage of Achilles was assuaged by a harp. Asclepiades swayed rebellious multitudes by a harp. After the battle of Yorktown, when a musician was to suffer amputation, and before the days of anaesthetics, the wounded artist called for a musical instrument and lost not a note during the forty minutes of amputation. Filippo Palmo, the great musician, confronted by an angry creditor, played so enchantingly before him that the creditor forgave the debt and gave the debtor ten guineas more to appease other creditors. Over what keys of piano or organ consolation has walked! Yea, in church one hymn has rolled peace over a thousand of the worried, perplexed, and agonised. At the foot of the Tower of Babel language was split into fragments never to be again put together, but one language was not hurt, and that is music, and it is the same all the world over. It is a universal language, and so good for universal cure. When my dear friend Dio Lewis (gone to rest all too soon) conducted a campaign against drunkenness at the West, and marshalled thousands of the noblest women of the land in that magnificent campaign, and whole neighbourhoods and villages and cities shut up their grog shops, do you know the chief weapon used? It was the song:
"Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee."
They sang it at the doors of hundreds of liquor saloons which had been open for years, and either at the first charge of the campaign or the second the saloon shut, up. At the first verse of "Nearer, my God, to Thee," the liquor dealers laughed; at the second verse they looked solemn; at the third verse they began to cry; and at the fourth verse they got down on their knees. You say they opened their saloons again. Yes, some of them did. But it is a great thing to have hell shut up if only for a week. Give full swing to a good Gospel hymn and it would take the whole world for God!
2. But when in my text I see Saul declining this medicine of rhythm and cadence and actually hurling a javelin at the heart of David the harpist, I bethink myself of the fact that sin would like to kill sacred music. It is a fact that sin has a javelin for sacred sounds. In many churches the javelin of criticism has killed the music, javelin flung from organ loft or from adjoining pew of the supersensitive. Soul's javelin aimed at David's harp. Thousands of people so afraid they may not sing scientifically they will not sing at all, or sing with such low tone that no one hears them. In many a Church the javelin of criticism has crippled the harp of worship. If Satan could silence all the Sunday school songs and the hymns of Christian worship, he would gain his greatest achievement. When the millennial song shall rise (and it is being made ready) there will be such a roll of voices, such a concerted power of stringed and wind instruments, such majesty, such unanimity, such continental and hemispheric and planetary acclamation, that it will be impossible to know whore earth stops and heaven begins. Roll on, roll in, roll up, thou millennial harmony!
3. See also in my subject a rejected opportunity of revenge. Why did not David pick up Soul's javelin and hurl it back again? Oh, David, now is your chance! No, no. Men and women with power of tongue or pen or hand to reply be an embittered antagonist, better imitate David, and let the javelin lie at your feet and keep the harp in your hand. Do not strike back. Do not play the game of tit-for-tat, Gibbon, in his history, tells of Bajazet, the great Moslem general, who was brought a captive to the tent of Timur. He bad attempted the massacre of Timur and his men. Timur said to him: "Had you vanquished us, I am not ignorant of the fate which you reserved for myself and my troops, but I disdain to retaliate. Your life and honour are secure, and I shall express my gratitude to God by my clemency to man." Beautiful! Revenge on Christian's tongue or pen or hand is inapt, and more damage to the one who employs it than the one against whom it is employed. What! A javelin hurled at you and fallen at your feet, and you not hurl it back again? Yes. The best thing you can do with a javelin hurled at you is to let it lie where it dropped, or hang it up in your museum as a curiosity. The deepest wound made by a javelin is not by the sharp edge, but at the dull end of the handle to him who wields it. I leave it to you to say which get the best of that fight in the palace — Saul or David.
4. See also in my subject that the face that a man avoids danger is not against his courage. When the javelin was flung he stepped out of its direction or bent this way or that — in other words, he avoided it. David had faults, but cowardice was not one of them. What a lesson this is to those who go into useless danger and expose their lives or their reputations or their usefulness unnecessarily! When duty demands, go ahead, though all earth and hell oppose. Budge not one inch from the right position. But when nothing is involved, step back or step aside. Why stand in the way of perils that you can avoid? Go not into Quixotic battles to fight windmills. You will be of more use to the world and the Church as an active Christian man than as a target for javelins. There are Christians always in a fight. If they go into churches they fight there. If they go into presbyteries or conferences or associations, they fight there. My advice to you is, if nothing is to be gained for God or the truth, stand out of the way of the javelins.
5. See also in my subject the unreasonable attitude of javelin towards harp. What had that harp in David's hand done to the javelin in Saul's hand? Had the vibrating strings of the one hurt the keen edge of the other? Was there an old grudge between the two families of sweet sound and sharp cut? Had the triangle ever insulted the polished shaft? Why the deadly aim of the destroying weapon against the instrument of soothing, calming, healing sound, Well, I will answer that if you will tell me why the hostility of so many to the Gospel, why the virulent attacks against the Christian religion, why the angry antipathy of so many to the most genial, most inviting, most salutary influence under all the heavens? Why will men give their lives to writing and speaking and warring against Christ and the Gospel? Why the javelin of the world's hatred and rage against the harp of heavenly love? What has the Christian religion done that it should be so assailed? Whom hath it bitten and left with hydrophobiac virus in their veins that it should sometimes be chased as though it were a maddened canine? Javelin of wit, javelin of irony, javelin of scurrility, javelin of sophistry, javelin of human and diabolic hostility, have been flying for hundreds of years, and are flying new. But aimed at what? At something that has come to devastate the world? At something chat slays nations? At something that would maul and trample under foot and excruciate and crush the human race? No, aimed at the Gospel harp. Oh, I like the idea of that old monument in the ancient church at Ullard, near Kilkenny, Ireland. The sculpture on that monument, though chiselled more than a thousand years ago, as appropriate today as then, the sculpture representing a harp upon a cross. That, is where I hang it now, that is where you had better hang it. Let the javelin be forever buried, the sharp edge down, but hang the harp upon the cross.
(T. De Witt Talmage.)
PeopleAdriel, David, Jonathan, Merab, Michal, Saul
TopicsActing, David, Evil, Force, Forcefully, Harp, Javelin, Lyre, Making, Midst, Mightily, Morrow, Music, Pass, Played, Playing, Prophesied, Prophesieth, Prophesying, Prophet, Prospereth, Raved, Rushed, Sadness, Saul, Saul's, Spear, Spirit, Usual, Usually, Within
Outline1. Jonathan befriends David
5. Saul envies his praise
10. seeks to kill him in his fury
12. fears him for his good success
17. offers him his daughters for snare
23. David persuaded to be the king's son-in-law,
25. gives two hundred foreskins of the Philistines for Michal's dowry
28. Saul's hatred and David's glory increase
Dictionary of Bible Themes1 Samuel 18:10
1431 prophecy, OT methods
4132 demons, malevolence
LibraryA Soul's Tragedy
'And David went out whithersoever Saul sent him, and behaved himself wisely: and Saul set him over the men of war; and he was accepted in the sight of all the people, and also in the sight of Saul's servants. 6. And it came to pass as they came, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of musick. 7. And the women answered one another as they played, …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture
War! War! War!
And V the Kingdom Undivided and the Kingdom Divided
Salvation Published from the Mountains
How the Poor and the Rich Should be Admonished.
The Publication of the Gospel
Ramah. Ramathaim Zophim. Gibeah.
The Sixth Commandment
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