If you’re following the schedule, you should read these chapters today: 1 Samuel 18, Romans 16, Lamentations 3, Psalm 34. Click on any of those references to see all the passages in one long page on BibleGateway. If you can't do all the readings today, read 1 Samuel 18.
First Samuel 18 presents us with a study in contrasts. Saul is king but David has been anointed his successor. Saul is jealous of David, but David is not jealous of Jonathan, even though Jonathan would be the natural human successor to Saul. David has the Spirit of God on his life; Saul has lost the Spirit’s anointing and is, instead, troubled by an evil spirit. Saul wanted to kill David but David was so humble that he did not consider himself worthy of marrying Saul’s daughter.
Remember that David has already been anointed king by Samuel and has received the anointing power of the Spirit that kings and judges received. There is inevitability about David’s becoming king and, as you would expect, he is ascending in the military. Remember that being king, at this point in Israel, is mostly about fighting battles. That’s what the Israelites said they wanted: “We want a king over us… to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles” (1 Samuel 8:19b-20). So the fact that David “was so successful that Saul gave him a high rank in the army” (18:5), and “…in everything he did he had great success” (18:14) and “…all Israel and Judah loved David, because he led them in their campaigns” (18:16) showed how Samuel’s prophecy about David was becoming a reality.
Yet David shows no sense of entitlement. He knew that the kingdom will be his and he saw the fulfillment of that prophecy developing day after day, but he did not assassinate Saul, not even in self-defense (18:11) Also, Saul had promised his daughter to the man who defeated Goliath (17:25) so David was entitled to become Saul’s son-in-law. But David did not demand what was promised to him and even deflected the opportunity to marry Saul’s daughter twice (18:18-19, 23) until he finally felt worthy to marry Michal after “skinning” a hundred Philistines (vv. 25-27). If anyone could have felt entitled, SHOULD have felt entitled, it was David but all we see is humility, humility, humility. That humility was shown in service—fighting Saul’s battles even in far-flung places (v. 13) and playing the harp on demand whenever Saul wanted (v. 10). Why was David so humble and why did he live like a servant? Because he trusted the Lord and walked with him.
Entitlement is one of the most subtle sins that tries to seduce us. I know that the word “entitlement” does not appear in any sin lists in the Bible, but entitlement is simply one manifestation of pride. An entitled person is one who thinks he deserves whatever he has now, gets in the present and future, and usually thinks he deserves even more. A person who feels entitled usually shows a (1) a lack of gratitude for the things he has and (2) anger about the things he is not getting. A disgruntled employee is often one who suffers from entitlement. Church conflicts are often caused when someone feels entitled. Bratty children and spousal unrest are often the result of entitlement. The best antidote to entitlement is to realize that everything we have was given to us by God, so we should be grateful for what God gives and wait for what God has promised. If you are suffering from ingratitude and conflict, check your heart. Are you walking with God, thanking him for what he’s given you and seeking to serve him and his children? Or is your mind and heart focused on what you think you deserve that you are not getting?
An entitled person will never live up to his potential because he thinks he deserves things, so he won’t work hard to get them. Consequently, an entitled person is constantly disappointed. We see that in Saul when the women were praising David more than Saul, the “mighty king” who was too cowardly to fight Goliath (16:6-8). If you find yourself disappointed, you need to focus on what you’re not giving instead of what you aren’t getting. Maybe your disappointment, your anger, and your ingratitude are the poisonous fruits of self-entitled pride.
Now for your thoughts: What stood out in your Bible reading for today? What questions do you have about what you read? What are your thoughts about what I wrote above? Post them in the comments below or on our Facebook page. And, feel free to answer and interact with the questions and comments of others. Have a great day; we'll talk scripture again tomorrow.