“Then Saul was very angry…They have ascribed to David, ten thousands and to me they have ascribed only thousands.”  “So Saul eyed David from that day forward.”    1 Samuel 18:8

“Then a dispute arose among them as to which of them would be the greatest.”  Luke 9;46

There is something so human about this.  In the bible it goes back to Cain and Able.  In human families, we see it when we look toward our siblings; which one is the favorite.  From the other perspective, as a parent, I can remember trying to be so purposeful with my two children to try and not show favoritism one over another (for indeed there is not a favorite).

Bottom line, Saul was blessed.  He was the king.  The Nation of Israel had a long time foe; the Philistines.  The enemy had come up against the Israelites  and challenged them; thus challenging Saul’s kingship.  And the Philistines were smote.  After David slew Goliath, the Israelite Army rose up and slaughtered the Philistines.  It is an amazing triumph; a true blessing from God.  King Saul is so impressed by David that he takes David into his home.  David and Saul’s son Jonathon become like loving brothers to each other.  Enter the world.  Enter the Devil.

The Israelite Nation is overjoyed by the achievements of their army.  They come out to dance and cheer at the accomplishments.  They hail loudly the triumphs of their heroes.  David has killed tens of thousands and Saul thousands.  Was not Saul the king?  Wasn’t it under his leadership that all these deaths had transpired?  That’s not what Saul heard.  Through a hardened heart, through listening to the lies of this world, Saul heard:  “David is better than you!  We like David more!  David wants to take your throne from you!”  None of what Saul heard was true, was from God.  Saul chose to believe his own interpretation and hates David from that day forward, trying to kill or have him killed.  Saul eventually is destroyed.

The disciples are in the presence of God Almighty here on earth; Emanuel.  What have they experienced?  They have seen Jesus miraculously heal without claiming glory for Himself.  They have seen Him feed thousands without any demand for payment whatsoever.  They have heard him say; that in His service to His Father, He must die.  Jesus has preached humility and the need to love all, even your enemies.  Enter the world.

For the disciples are a group.  And in the world all groups should have a hierarchy, a pecking order if you will.  There is a head person.  None of the disciples would dispute that Jesus is the head.  But it doesn’t stop there.  In human groups there is a second in command, a vice leader and then a next lower and next lower.  The disciples are arguing about that pecking order; who is the greatest.  In the company of The Creator; the Greatest who will ever walk this earth, they lose sight of the blessing of Him and can only look to each other and argue about which is the greater.  They are listening to the world.  Jesus knows what they are arguing about.  He also knows that He can not let it go without being addressed.  He takes a little child and tells them they must become humble, like the child.

So what for us today?  We pray.  We pray for ourselves and we pray for others.  Our prayers are answered.  We are blessed by God Almighty within His perfect plan for each of us.  Enter the world.  Enter the devil.  For we see a brother or sister of faith have something great happen for them; an unexpected increase, a miraculous healing, being exalted for work done and the world says, shouldn’t that be you?  How come your brother or sister gets this or that and you haven’t?  Well you got this but it’s not as good as he or she got.  That is what the world, that is what the devil whispers to you and I as we smile at them.

If we’re not careful, we listen.  We say: “Hey that’s right!  What about us?  What about me?  I deserve that too!”  The world, the devil doesn’t stop there.  He says “That’s right, but God doesn’t love you like He loves them.  He’s not fair.  You’re not good enough.”  And sadly, if we listen long enough, God’s blessings we will turn into a curse for us.

But dear brothers and sisters, all is not lost.  We are not lost or left alone to battle against the words and deeds of our enemy.  The bible in the book of James tells us that if we resist the devil that he will flee from us.  That in submitting and humbling ourselves (like a child) to God, we will receive His strength which will cause the devil to run away.  It is through the Spirit of God poured out on our heart that we can be truly, completely filled with joy over the blessings given to others understanding the God has particular blessings for us as well.  Jesus tells us that Our Father’s house has many rooms and that there are rooms prepared for us.  So it is not just one room for all to cram into.  We are different.  Our needs are different.  Our blessings will be different.  But here is the final truth; His Love is the same for us.  Our Father’s Love is equal for us.  Jesus Christ came to be our salvation, to die, for each of us.  May it be that we revel equally in our blessings and the blessings of others.  Let us resist any temptation to compare or attempt to measure God’s love for one versus another.  Let us find ourselves being His branches. Living off the vine of His love for us.

Our Most Gracious and Heavenly Father, the world would have us believe that all can not be equally loved.  The enemy tells us that You unfairly play favorites.  We humble ourselves before you and confess there are times that we are tempted to listen to the enemy.  We pray for Your Strength to be poured out upon us that we would resist the devil and his message of divisiveness.  In the example of Your Son Jesus death for all of us, let us understand that You have love and a plan perfect for each of us.  Give us true joy in the blessings that You pour out to all of us that we may come together in praise for Your Most Holy Name.  In the name of Jesus Christ we pray.  Amen