The Danger of Bitterness


Dr. Charles Stanley

Read | 1 Samuel 18:1-30

King Saul had it all: God’s anointing on him as ruler; the prophet Samuel to guide him; the power and wealth of the kingdom of Israel; the applause of the people. Yet he died a bitter man. What steps led to his downfall?

• Anger. When Goliath was defeated, the crowds praised Saul as a killer of thousands but David as a slayer of tens of thousands. Instead of rejoicing that God had raised up someone to slay the giant, Saul grew angry with David for receiving more praise than he did.

• Wrong thinking. Saul’s flaring temper affected his mind, and he became suspicious of David’s motives. He started thinking that since the Lord was with David, the young man would want to take over the kingdom right away.

• Fear. Saul’s fear led to plotting against David and throwing spears at him.

• Rejection. The king sent David away from his presence.

• Dread. Saul’s fear grew stronger with David’s military success and the people’s growing love for the younger man.

• Deceitful action. Twice the king tried to manipulate David by offering one of his daughters in marriage. Both times he plotted to get David killed by the Philistines, and each attempt failed. Saul’s response was to become David’s enemy for the rest of his days. From then on, bitterness reigned.

Although the details of our lives differ from Saul’s, the steps to bitterness and ruin are the same. What unresolved anger do you allow to fester? Whom do you avoid because of ill will? Won’t you confess your sin, turn to God, and be set free?