Read – 1 Samuel 20
Focus on verse 32-33
One of Saul’s less than desirable traits that seem to have appeared when the Spirit of the Lord left him is what seems to be a problem with anger management. He wants David dead but can’t seem to make it happen. David is always one step ahead of Saul. It all comes to a head, as is often the case, at the next family reunion. David was supposed to be there. The text does not immediately tell us that Saul had in mind to have him killed on that occasion, but it becomes obvious in his hostile outbreak toward Jonathan when he is told David is not coming.
When anger controls a man’s actions he becomes dangerous and unpredictable, and very often self contradictory. In one sentence Saul is raging about how Jonathan will never be king as long as David is alive, then in the next moment he hurls a spear at Jonathan apparently attempting to kill Jonathan himself. I wonder if it ever occurs to Saul that killing Jonathan would hardly be advancing the cause of making sure he becomes king? One might note that this is strong evidence that a man motivated by rage rarely takes the time to think through the consequences of his actions.
Why should he be put to death? What has he done?” Jonathan asked his father. But Saul hurled his spear at him to kill him. Then Jonathan knew that his father intended to kill David. (v. 32-33)
One of the principles that we can take away from this event is that when we allow anger to rule our mind we lose much of our ability to think rationally. Rather, we react instinctively upon angry impulses that have their origins in the pit of hell. This kind of anger is not even remotely related to the righteous anger, that Jesus displayed when He chased the moneychangers out of the temple. The scriptures make it clear that while it is not a sin to be angry, we are to be careful that “in our anger, we do not sin”. Which is a simple way of saying be angry about the right things and in the right way.
A big part of the problem is that we make crazy, stupid decisions when we make them in a fit of rage, and typically, if we survive the ordeal, we live to regret having done it that way. A wise mentor once told me if someone or something makes you really angry, think on it for a few days, talk to God about it, if it still bothers you three days later then approach the person who is responsible and ask them if they intended to upset you. I have found that frequently in such a situation I have discovered that the offense was committed unintentionally. Particularly in situations where the offense is unintentional, this approach will spare us the embarrassment of losing control in front of people we would later have to apologize to for our raging outburst.