8 Then Saul was very angry, and the saying displeased him; and he said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed only thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom?” 9 So Saul eyed David from that day forward.
1 Samuel 18.8-9
Insecurity is a terrible thing. It makes us feel like we are less than perfect. It holds us hostage to unhealthy emotions and an unfair standard. Insecurity lies to us and tells us that we aren’t – when God is telling us that we are. Insecurity can ruin your leadership. It will slowly wrap around your faith and squeeze all the life out of you. There is no place in the life of a leader for insecurity.
In the above passage we find Saul, the reigning king of Israel, succumbing to the lure of insecurity. He is stung by the words of the crowd and for the rest of his life lives in suspicion and jealousy of David. The ironic thing is that David would have been Saul’s greatest ally if only Saul had been able to overcome his insecurity.
I wonder how many of us are chasing “David” away because of insecurity. Seriously. “David” is that new leader who has a ton of ideas. “David” is that church member that finally caught a fire for Jesus (the very passion that you have been praying she would get) and now suggests that you start new ministries. “David” is that person who you keep at arms distance because they have to “prove their faithfulness” before you let them serve in a greater capacity.
If we are honest with ourselves we would say that “David” threatens everything that has “Saul’s” blood running through it. What I mean by that is we get comfortable with our status and position and when someone upsets the apple cart by offering fresh perspective and new ideas we can get territorial. All of a sudden we catch ourselves thinking negative thoughts about people on the team or in the church. “Why can’t he just listen to what I’m saying?” “I’m the one who has been here serving when no one else was here. She needs to chill out and just do what I said.” “He hasn’t even been a Christian for 2 months and now he wants to lead a group?!” The list goes on and on.
Beware of places where insecurity has crept into your heart. Saul eventually threw spears at David trying to kill him. Actually, his overwhelming need to get rid of David was what ultimately led to his death. Like I said earlier, insecurity is a terrible thing.
Here are a few observations about insecurity in Saul’s life that we might identify with:
1. He was more concerned with public opinion than with his God-given position.
It was the singing of the town’s women that sent Saul into his insecure tizzy. They exaggerated the works of both men yet Saul was angry because the new kid on the block was given more credit than he was. I cannot tell you how many times I have been victim to this trick. In ministry it is so easy to draw our identity from the crowd. That’s why for many pastors the greatest day of the week and the worst day of the week is Sunday. On that day if the house is packed and people respond well to the sermon the soft whisper of insecurity reminds us of how great we are. However when we have lower numbers than usual or preach what we consider a “bad” sermon that same voice that once reassured us now confirms how terrible we are. “Well you bombed that one!” “I’ll be surprised if anyone comes back next week!”
Ministry success in not defined by numbers. Period. Numbers don’t prove that you are a good leader. That day Saul placed too much emphasis on the movement of the crowd and not enough emphasis on his God-given position. Regardless of what those silly women sang as they shook their ancient tambourines that day there was still one simple truth…Saul was still the king. There song didn’t change his position. He lost track of that because he was more concerned with public opinion than with his God-given position. Don’t draw your significance from the song of the crowd. You’re better than that. If God has put you in your position celebrate His choosing of you and don’t let the jingling of the tambourines change your mind.
2. He jumped to unhealthy conclusions.
Check this out: Saul actually took the words from a song that women were singing because they were glad the battle with the Philistines was over and in essence said, “Wow they have said David is amazing. I guess the next thing they’re going to do is kill me so that he can be the king!” Saul was displaying the classic tell-tale signs of a spiritual hypochondriac. He thought that matters were worse than they actually were.
My wife picks on me because I tend to act like a hypochondriac at times. You know my type: a soon as I get a sore throat I go to WebMD and look at the symptoms only to realize that I have low spinal fluid, polio, and throat cancer! Stop laughing. You know how we can get! That’s what’s happening here with Saul. He hears a silly song (not from Larry) and freaks out because he thinks the sky is falling! It’s kind of like how us pastors can get when someone disagrees with a decision we make and we start looking at www.churchjobs.com for a new job. Calm down. Take a few deep breaths. Drink some cold water. It’s just a silly song. Don’t jump to conclusions. Let the younger leaders have their celebration. Heck, even celebrate with them! Don’t be so scared that the “kingdom” is on the line that you don’t enjoy the journey.
I want to point out here that Saul was scared over a silly song that was sang in the heat of the moment. I don’t want to call the character of those young Israelite women into account here, but I want to point out that they were just making stuff up off the cuff. They didn’t put together a task force to research all of David and Saul’s military exploits. They didn’t bring in Randy Johnson from American Idol and have him coach them on the song writing process. They just opened their mouths and started singing. They were glad the war was over and that’s all. Yet the insecurity within Saul’s heart caused him to forfeit his joy over a few silly songs. Don’t let a silly song rob you of your joy.
3. He held a grudge.
Verse 9 says, “So Saul eyed David from that day forward.” As a matter of fact on several occasions Saul tried to kill David. From that day forward all the affairs of King Saul’s administration were focused on eliminating David as a threat to the crown. Saul eventually ruined relationships with his daughter Michal and his son Jonathan because of his grudge with David. He even lost his throne over it. The one thing that he was trying to protect he ended up losing because the intoxication of his grudge clouded his judgment and hampered his effectiveness as a leader.
That’s why we must labor to accept the Davids in our lives. Let them win every now and then. Pray for them. Ask God to surround you with Davids. Ask God to help you not be an insecure leader. If you are holding onto a grudge stop right now and let it go. Listen to me when I say you need David to help you be successful. David is not there to hurt you – he’s there to help you. Stop letting insecurity rob you of the blessing of teamwork. In ministry it really is true that we’re better together. Saul lost sight of that and it cost him dearly. Don’t make the same mistake.