The Match Day 1 between Love and Hatred in Jacob’s household ended in an emphatic and resounding victory for Love. We can liken today’s encounter to an El-Classico FA Cup between the sides represented by David and his boss King Saul. While Match Day 1 looked at a minor and avoidable family feud that was allowed to degenerate into deep hatred, this match is fundamentally a Mentor-Mentee smooth relationship that sadly metamorphoses into intense hatred by one for the other. It usually happens when people begin to recognize mentees’ efforts over their mentors, which infuriates the mentors. The hatred generally emanating from the Mentors or those who should know better get people wondering why the relationship between two close pals could be allowed to descend that low.
Hatred is what tears close pals apart in such a manner, even though other trivial reasons may be given as a cover-up. The fact that you trained, lifted or brought others up to the limelight doesn’t mean your achievements should necessarily surpass theirs. Fortunately or Unfortunately, humans don’t control what others must admire, talk about or judge as more outstanding achievements. Besides, God is the one who assigns tasks and gives the requisite grace for accomplishing them. John the Baptist was, therefore, wise to proclaim, “Let Him increase whiles I decrease”, when his followers nearly incited him to pick issues with Christ, whom he introduced to Ministry and baptized. John’s disciples came asking him why many were trooping to Jesus. In John 3:26-27, they asked, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.” John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven.” To settle the matter and uproots any sentiments from his followers that had the propensity of brewing needless hatred between him and Jesus the Messiah, John proclaimed to the hearing of all, “He must become greater; I must become less.” (John 3:30). The day all prospective Mentors will accept that those they train or mentor can enjoy more praise and acceptance than them will be the end of this avoidable clash which usually turns bloody.
For 40 solid days, Israel had been terrorized by the Philistine giant and champion of Gath called Goliath. According to 1Samuel 17:10-11, “Then the Philistine said, “This day I defy the armies of Israel! Give me a man, and let us fight each other. ” On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified.” David, the shepherd, suddenly appeared from the bush to the battle lines when his Dad Jesse sent him to see how his elder brothers were doing. To their surprise, out of God’s help, he got consumed with a divine mandate and succeeded in killing Goliath. Young David’s spirit of excellence exhilarated king Saul, then brought him closer to his household to be one of his aides or what we may easily refer to as “his boys”. Multi-talented and versatile David served his boss King Saul and his household as best as possible, and God also granted him success in all his endeavours. “From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return home to his family…… Whatever mission Saul sent him on, David was so successful that Saul gave him a high rank in the army. This pleased all the troops and Saul’s officers as well.” (1 Samuel 18:2-5)
After defeating Goliath, some Israeli women met King Saul and his men returning from the victory over the Philistines, singing and dancing with joyful noise, lyres and tambourins. The song and its refrain went like this, “Saul has slain his thousands,
and David his tens of thousands.” (1 Samuel 18:7). King Saul became angry and began nursing hatred for his darling boy until the hatred spiked, and he decided to kill David. Wow! How come the great Love he had for David suddenly turned into a monster called hatred? And at a time of all Israel’s celebrations? Was it that he did not take his time to listen to the lyrics of the song? Did the women mischievously decide to compare the achievements of King Saul and his “boy” David? In my opinion, the answer is a big NO! Without attempting to remix the song, the “his” in the lyrics settles the matter because it suggests that Saul had a thousand challenges, whiles David’s was tens of thousands of challenges. They both defeated all and hence scored 100% each. Yet, the monster called Hatred, owned by the devil and with sponsorship by humankind’s depraved nature took the better part of Saul for a painful showdown against Love or David. Did David have any control over his admiration by all, including Saul himself, after killing the Philistine champion? With Hatred playing at home, whoever kills a champion would automatically be admired by all and, unfortunately, accrue some sizable amount of hatred.
How do you feel when the audience or congregation gives a standing ovation to your “boy”, junior, or spiritual Son’s presentation against yours? How do you react to those readily acknowledged as great achievers while your efforts are ignored? Why aren’t you getting on well with that friend of yours these days? Yes, you probably suspect they are behind and in support of the choruses for them and against you. Do you have any evidence for that assertion? Is it not your own heart speaking to you instead of what you think all are saying? After Abel’s offering received God’s attention and endorsement, no one was with them in the field, let alone sing any song. Yet his elderly brother Cain heard something from within that made him kill his only brother at the time (Genesis 4:1-12). 1 Samuel 18:8-9 reads, “Saul was very angry; this refrain displeased him greatly. “They have credited David with tens of thousands,” he thought, “but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom? ” And from that time on, Saul kept a close eye on David.” Keeping a close eye on David from that day was when Hatred exchanged pleasantries for a showdown against Love. How did King Saul allow his heart as the venue and key promoter of that difficult match between Love and Hatred with the devil as the match commissioner?
We can, therefore, conveniently conclude that the seed of hatred is triggered and has its source in the human heart but is not necessarily engineered by third parties. Check and work on your heart anytime it begins to communicate things that can cause you to nurture hatred for others. In 1 Samuel 18:11, Saul made the first attempt to kill David with a spear, but David eluded him twice with God’s help. At this time, Love was leading Hatred by 2-0. Saul then deceived David to fight against the Philistines with the reward of giving him Merab, his older daughter, to marry. He thought the Philistines would kill David in one of those military campaigns so he would get the relief he wanted. David won that battle, though, but Saul gave his daughter to another to marry.
When Saul realized his other daughter Michal had fallen in Love with David, he again asked for 100 foreskins of the Philistines through another battle with them as the bride price before offering her for him as a wife. David came out successfully in that campaign and even paid a hundred percent increase of what Saul required with 200 foreskins. Lies and deception were leading the attack of Hatred at this time. According to 1 Samuel 18:29, “Saul became still more afraid of him, and he remained his enemy the rest of his days.” Even though the tension in the game was mounting, Love had the edge over Hatred before the referee whistled for halftime. At the resumption of the second half, Hatred introduced Propaganda into the game when Saul instructed his Son Jonathan to kill David because the latter’s continuous stay was going to hinder him from ascending the throne as King (1 Samuel 19:1).
Unfortunately, people can spread their hatred for others to peers, friends or relatives. Hatred can, therefore, be contagious and spread like wildfire if not checked. Saul decides to work his hatred for David into the heart of his army officers, his female daughters, and Jonathan. Why have you allowed yourself to be worked out in hating someone you have not even met or dealt with before? Has your friend’s hatred for others infected you because of what you were told about them?
Thank God Jonathan had his spiritual nose, ears, and face masks on anytime his father came close to him with the Propaganda against David. He told his father, “Let not the King do wrong to his servant David; he has not wronged you, and what he has done has benefited you greatly. He took his life in his hands when he killed the Philistine. The LORD won a great victory for all Israel, and you saw it and were glad. Why would you do wrong to an innocent man like David by killing him for no reason?” (1 Samuel 19:4-5). Jonathan tried to broker a peace deal between them, but Saul pretended with an oath to accept the agreement for David to come back and stay with them as before. Whiles at home, Saul attempted to kill David with the sword for the third time, but Love managed to survive that rough tackle again. Saul then sent mercenaries to kill David while asleep with his wife, but Michal helped David make a good escape. Saul said to Michal, “Why did you deceive me like this and send my enemy away so that he escaped?” (1 Samuel 19:17). The scoreline changed to 3-0 in favour of Love. At this, the bench of Love decided to bring onboard Wisdom, the dribbler who could hold onto the ball for a period before releasing it.
The Bible said David behaved wisely in all his ways because the Lord was with him (1 Samuel 18:14, KJV). David fled to Prophet Samuel, King Saul’s mentor, to inform him of what was happening and whether he could intervene. When the game is getting tough with Hatred, it is always good to find trustworthy and mature minds to confide in, especially those your opponents’ respects. These great minds, at times, possess the grace to exorcise the evil spirit of hatred by their intervention. Better still, they also witness all efforts being made to de-escalate tensions. The mention of David’s asylum at Samuel’s end at Ramah didn’t do much to awaken Saul’s conscience. The latter still sent his men to go and assassinate him there. They went, and the prophetic magnetic field around Samuel caused them to prophesy. Saul became furious when they were unsuccessful, and he decided to go there himself as the hitman. He went and was equally arrested by the Holy Spirit, and he also began prophesying but this time laying prostrate and fully naked all that day and night. This was Love’s fourth goal against Hatred because the latter lay prostrated before the former.
One would expect Saul to allow both Samuel and David to attend to him to nurse his wounds from that 24-hour surgery the Lord performed on him so he recuperates well (I Samuel 19:18-24). Even though hatred can be an acute infection, God has an infectious disease control centre for all who gets infected and decides to seek medical attention there. When the evil spirit of hatred entered Saul, David tried giving him first aid in the house, but Saul refused. Jonathan and Michal, Saul’s children, tried massaging their Dad with an ointment of reasoning and logic so all the clots of envy in his blood vessels would be released. It also did not work because Saul won’t lie down for that therapy. The Prophet Samuel intervened, and with the power of the Holy Spirit, Saul fell under the anointing at the cistern of Seku, prophesying for 24hrs but again, he blew that opportunity away. Therefore, David, Jonathan, Michal, Samuel, and God asked Saul why? This happens when we allow hatred in our hearts to move from acute to chronic. Little did Saul know that time was ticking against him, with every chance for his restoration eroding by the day.
We should, therefore, not be too surprised to see people expressing themselves in all manner of spiritual gifts in the church yet exhibiting legendary levels of hatred for others. Is this not the reason for the judgement day? When we succeed in blowing away all chances of repentance, would we still have the nerves to blame Lucifer for our inactions, knowing we would not be given any opportunity to cross-examine him before God? Unfortunately, Saul attempted to kill Jonathan, his own Son, when he realized his help had also foiled another plan he devised to kill David at the New Moon feast. It was discovered that Hatred’s side had introduced Wickedness to join the attack in the game with Propaganda. Saul hurled insults at Jonathan’s Mum and reminded him if David didn’t die, he could not ascend the throne as Israel’s next king (1 Samuel 20).
Before running from Saul and parting ways with Jonathan, his trusted confidant, David wept bitterly by the stone Ezel and then escaped to Nob. “Then they kissed each other and wept together—but David wept the most.” (1 Samuel 20:41b). Hatred appeared to be having a hand over Love, at least per David’s assessment. David, indeed admitted here, he was only a step away from Death due to what he was seeing.
From Nob, David fled to Gath and had to feign madness by smearing himself with his saliva before Achish the King of Gath. This was when Hatred was credited with a goal bringing the scoreline to 4-1 in favour of Love. Even Goliath, the Philistine champion, could not cause David to feign madness. Hatred by King Saul, however, succeeded in bringing David to that state. Has your encounter with hatred changed your looks, perception of life and even where you are currently domiciled? Never worry! The game against Hatred is full of tension, suspense and intrigue and always takes a toll on one’s emotions. Take heart and do not lose concentration once Wisdom and forbearance are still on the pitch playing for you. When he wanted a sword, the priest at Nob replied, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the Valley of Elah, is here; it is wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you want it, take it; there is no sword here but that one.”
David said, “There is none like it; give it to me.” This was not a sword David promised he would use in killing Goliath but an implement that had been put to fruitful use. God’s gifts and talents must be put to productive use because when Hatred brings it on, it will be one of the most powerful weapons at our disposal. It will not be what you promise God to do should you get your breakthrough but what you have done. Are you holding your “Goliath’s sword”? The “sword of Goliath” in the hands of David also represents our testimonies and trophies kept in the museums of our hearts as believers.
In expressing the frustrations of his unsuccessful attempts in killing David, King Saul of all people, sanctions for the killing of 85 priests, together with the entire males, females and nursing infants of a whole city in suspicion of their support for David, his enemy. He argued David was instead looking for his life. Was that the case? Or Hatred causes people to run away from their own shadows? (1 Samuel 22:10-19). How low could King Saul come to? When God chose him to be Israel’s first King, he said to Samuel in 1 Samuel 9:21, “But am I, not a Benjamite, from the smallest tribe of Israel, and is not my clan the least of all the clans of the tribe of Benjamin…? Yet, due to hatred, he had now gathered the nerves to slaughter the Lord’s anointed priests and massacre a whole community. Hatred indeed is destructive because this was someone who was handpicked by God from the smallest clan in Israel and anointed by Prophet Samuel.
At this time, the players of Love began taking signals from their technical bench. Prophet Gad then directed David to flee from the cave in Adullam and run to the Land of Judah in the forest of Hereth. In the game’s last minutes, Hatred decided to push more men forward with hard tackles because they realized they had nothing to lose. The bench of Love then did some substitution and brought on Prayer and Forgiveness to take care of the wings. David then developed the habit of personally praying and inquiring from the Lord about the way forward (1 Samuel 22:5; 23:2-4, 10; 24:15). God answered in real-time and gave him directions on all of these occasions. In like manner, there are times the Prophets Samuels and Gads would be out of reach.
Our faith, trust and prayer lives is what will take us through when Hatred decides to hold our jerseys and begins to ignore every courtesy of fair play. Prayer is critical because the Holy Spirit, the coach of Love, expects his players to look in His direction anytime Hatred begins with those hard tackles. We can, therefore, not continue to depend on others for our spiritual and prayer needs when God has offered us a direct hotline through Christ Jesus unto His throne of grace. Saul was happy to get the tip-off that David was hiding at Keilah. He said, “God has delivered him into my hands.” (1 Samuel 23:7). Which God was Saul referring to? Was it the same God whose Priests he massacred? Was it the same God whose Prophet he chose to disobey but rather please men? Ironically, some, in pursuit of their own selfish and wicked ambitions, pick specific signals and delude themselves as though God was the one urging them on. God does not inspire people to perpetuate Wickedness nor sponsors such acts of callousness against their neighbours. Let’s, therefore, not deceive ourselves as divine when an apparent golden opportunity presents itself to visit mayhem or pay back those perceived as enemies.
One group of people who did not help King Saul in his crisis were his servants. Although they were supposed to be taking directives from him, they could have tried persuading him to stop pursuing David as Jonathan and Michal were doing. Unfortunately, they doped him with more hatred for David. In 1 Samuel 19:19; 24:1-2, they condoned Saul’s treacherous acts against David even though it was clear their boss had been entrapped in sheer hatred against the killer of Goliath. It will not be out of place to prayerfully and politely draw people’s attention to some visible excesses in their attitudes. The consequences of such inactions can be more far-reaching than one can ever imagine. In the same way, no matter the power you wield, seize every little opportunity to reflect on dissenting views, even from subordinates, especially when on the course of vendetta.
It is revealing to learn that, in all that David was going through by hiding in caves and strongholds, he had six hundred (600) fighting men with him. Irrespective of the numbers marshalled and incited against Love; he never walks alone because God is Love. If you are gasping for life due to an active force of hatred against you and think all have abandoned you, wait a minute. There will always be more than “600” able men God may have unleashed for your aid. Love, therefore, never walks alone even in this life. So relax and see the victory of the Lord. In one of the caves David was hiding, he got the opportunity to kill Saul but refrained from doing so since he referred to him as the Lord’s anointed and his master. What a spirit! It was, therefore, evident that Forgiveness, Respect and Mercy had taken over the midfield and dictated the pace of the game. David did not only spare the life of the one he referred to as his master but also restrained his aides from killing him. (1 Samuel 24:4-12). Love indeed restrains friends from hatred, whereas Hatred incites friends to hate. When David tried proving a point to the side of Hatred that they can also be quite rough on the field by cutting a small piece of Saul’s cloth, God whistled for an infringement against the side of Love. The Bible says, “Afterward, David was conscience-stricken for having cut off a corner of his robe.” (1 Samuel 24:5). Fair play is the hallmark of Love no matter what. David was so smart not to lose his concentration of missing the winning formation of Love. Since Hatred doesn’t allow the Holy Spirit, his sides do not see anything wrong with employing rough tactics.
The Holy Spirit, the coach of Love, will, however, draw the referee’s attention when his side attempts to show the side of Hatred that they are also men. As believers, let’s be careful of the pressure from the supporters at the stands urging us to show some small muscles as well due to the rough tactics by Hatred. When Saul woke up, and David proved how he had spared his life, he said, “Is that your voice, David, my son?” And he wept aloud. “You are more righteous than I,” he said. “You have treated me well, but I have treated you badly……May the LORD reward you well for the way you treated me today. I know that you will surely be King and that the kingdom of Israel will be established in your hands.” (1 Samuel 24:16-20). At this, the scoreboard credited Love with an additional goal making 5-1.
David, on another occasion, resisted what his aides called, a golden opportunity occasioned by God to kill Saul in 1 Samuel 26:7-19. Then Saul said, ” I have sinned, come back, David my Son. Because you considered my life precious today, I will not try to harm you again. Surely I have acted like a fool and have been terribly wrong…. May you be blessed, David my Son; you will do great things and surely triumph.” (1 Samuel 26:21-25). Love by this increased his score tally to 6-1 against Hatred. The formation of the Love side was grounded in verse 24, which reads, “As surely as I valued your life today, so may the LORD value my life and deliver me from all trouble.”
In 1 Samuel 27:8-12, David maintained his focus and won battles for the Philistines during his sixteen months of exile in the Philistine town of Ziglak. Achish, the King, therefore, loved him and retorted, “Is this not David, who was an officer of Saul king of Israel? He has already been with me for over a year, and from the day he left Saul until now, I have found no fault in him.” The battle lines were drawn again between Israel and the Philistines. The Philistines did not allow David to wage that military campaign with them against his people for obvious reasons, even though Achish thought otherwise. At the peak of Saul’s frustration when he felt abandoned by God, Hatred made his last substitution in the injury time by bringing on Witchcraft to replace Anger. In I Samuel 28:3-25, Saul consulted the witch at Endor for help in what was to be his last set-piece on the field of play, looking for a consolation goal. Hatred is what turns a hitherto spirit filled into a fetish priest within split seconds. It is, therefore, not surprising to hear some believers consulting Vudoo and black magic.
This time around, Israel’s military campaign against the Philistines went terrible for them, resulting in a heavy and embarrassing defeat. Sadly and needlessly, Jonathan fell in that battle, and King Saul committed suicide after getting wounded badly(1 Samuel 31:1-4). The scoreboard changed by registering an own goal against the side of Hatred. Even though David did not fight for the Philistines in that battle, Hatred, unfortunately, succeeded in driving David away to be on the side of the Philistines as against his own beloved Israel? Can you imagine the extent to which Hatred can escalate otherwise trivial issues? Do you think Saul would have died if David had led the campaign against the Philistines as he used to do? Hatred is, therefore, not only self-destructive, it is also suicidal. David finally returned home and was subsequently crowned King of Israel after the Death of Saul. Let’s not allow Hatred to push our God-given helpers away from our path in this life. They may be the only people to silence the “Goliaths” for us when they roar at us. The FA Cup between the two sides ended in another emphatic 7-1 trashing of Hatred by Love. Watch out for the Champions League clash between them on Match Day 3.