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Anger: The Failure of Saul

"Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands." Then Saul was very angry. ...

I Samuel 18:7-8

Saul was the first king of Israel. He was an amazing choice. The Bible says that he was a handsome young man as could be found anywhere in Israel, and a head taller than anyone else” (1 Samuel 9:2). Outwardly he was the man. And he had some great things going for him for the beginning. He was humble (I Samuel 9:21) and he was able to keep his emotions from getting the best of him when some people despised him (I Samuel 10:27). Yet Saul allowed fear to control him and and so became a person of uncontrollable anger and violence--even committing mass murder.

Saul's example of failure is a sad one. He was the anointed of God and meant to rule over the kingdom of Israel. But right away he started to give into his fears. When the prophet Samuel gave Saul instruction to wait, Saul became afraid and didn't wait. Later on he gave into the fear of losing his image in front of others. This led him to almost take the life of his son. Another time he was again counseled by Samuel to do something God wanted. Saul allowed his fear of the people to control him and didn't obey. The Bible says, "The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trust in the Lord will be safe." When we live in fear of what others think about us, we will act irrationally towards them or others.

When David the Shepherd boy defeated Goliath, Saul was happy and placed David as a commander in his army. But when the woman of Israel started singing David's praises, fear crept in again and Saul tried to kill David. Fear had already begun to control Saul's life and his response to fear was anger. Saul's was irrational and his anger was out of control. He became the foolish person of Ecclesiastes and allowed his anger to become his cloak of power. In the end he hurt many people and lost everything for himself and his family.

What can we learn from Saul? Saul's anger that gave him power was based on fear. We need to be careful when we use anger to mask our fears. This can quickly become a way for the enemy to twist the power of anger into a weapon that can hurt others. As we will discuss later this week, anger will only be righteous when it comes from the heart of love. We must stay connected to Jesus and always be mindful that anger is a powerful tool that helps us to connect to God and others.

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