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David soon became a great man of war in his service to King Saul and the day came when the women would sing and dance and say,

Saul has killed his thousands, but David his tens of thousands.  (1 Samuel 18:7, HCSB)

What was Saul’s reaction to the women’s song?  Not being poor in spirit Saul looked at how he was being perceived by others.  Saul’s eye was not on the victories won for God’s kingdom, but rather how he perceives the nation sees him.  The man who once hid from the people wanted to be right out in front of the crowds being adored by his loyal subjects,

Then Saul was very angry, and the saying displeased him; and he said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me thy have ascribed only thousands.  Now what more can he have but the kingdom?  So Saul eyed David from that day forward.  (1Samuel 18:8-9, NKJV)

Saul’s relationship that day changed with David; as Saul once loved David (1 Samuel 16).  David had become a threat to the King of Israel.  When you are trying to secure your power base you need to eradicate the enemy and Saul’s enemy was David, God’s choice for king.  The remainder of the Saul/David conflict will allow you to see the difference between the man that God choose (David) and the man that man choose (Saul).  Man looks on the outside of man while God looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).

Saul will continue to make wrong choices as he now begins to seek the death of David.  Self does not like any rivals.  Rivals can take the form of someone looking better than you, like David the warrior being more successful than the king.  If Saul was once again poor in spirit he would have been thankful to God for such a warrior like David advancing the kingdom of heaven.  We are all on the same team as Paul showed:

Because you are still fleshy.  For since there is envy and strife among you, are you not fleshy and living like unbelievers?  For whenever someone says, “I’m with Paul,” and another, “I’m with Apollos,” are you not unspiritual people?  What then is Apollos?  And what is Paul?  They are servants through whom you believed, and each has the role the Lord has given.  I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.  So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.  Now the one planting and the one watering are one in purpose, and each will receive his own reward according to his own labor.  For we are God’s coworkers.  (1 Corinthians 3:3-9, HCSB)

What happens next with Saul is an example of an ongoing conflict between man’s choice and God’s choice,

Now it came about on the next day that an evil spirit from God came mightily upon Saul, and he raved in the midst of the house, while David was playing the harp with his hand, as usual; and a spear was in Saul’s hand.  Saul hurled the spear for he thought, “I will pin David to the wall.”  But David escaped from his presence twice.  (1 Samuel 18:10-12, NASB)

From this time forward King Saul will be pursuing David to kill him in jealously.  King Saul has become what men become when they do not follow the Lord completely and be poor in spirit.  His life is now consumed with killing David, his self-made rival, for the honor given to the ruler of the Land.

A good way to become poor in spirit when it comes to natural rivals is to begin to pray for them.  Are there people at work you are competing for the next promotion?  Pray for them.  Are there people you minister side by side with that may still your thunder?  Pray for them.  Whatever the situation and whoever the person may be – pray for them today.