Toxic Emotions

Krista Williams

Day: 19 | Plan: 1-2 Samuel

Today’s Reading: 1 Samuel 19

1 Samuel 19:8a (NIV) “Once more war broke out.”

In 1 Samuel 19, we continue to see the harmful, poisonous effects of fear, insecurity, inward focus, envy and jealousy in Saul’s life. These powerful, dangerous emotions can be as devastating to an individual (and others) as a major chemical spill. Sometimes the leak starts slow and small but eventually it will result in ruin if not contained and cleaned up.

As we read the story of David and Saul, it is evident David remained loyal to Saul and repeatedly risked his life in service to him and the people of Israel. And yet, Saul wanted David dead. It’s a toxic relationship on the verge of disaster.

Why would Saul want such a loyal, faithful servant dead?

Saul knew God was with David and was giving David success. Saul was enraged with jealousy and envy because David had received more glory for his military triumphs than Saul. And David was highly esteemed and wildly popular with the people. (1 Samuel 18:7-9, 14-15, 28-30)

At this point, Saul was so bent on eliminating this perceived threat, that he summoned his son, Jonathan, and all his servants and instructed them to kill David.

Jonathan risked rejection and spoke well of David, cautioning his father not to sin. (1 Samuel 19:4-5) Jonathan reminded Saul of the truth and Saul listened and agreed. The hazardous emotion of jealousy had been contained by the truth. For a brief time, there was reconciliation between David and Saul. (1 Samuel 19:6-7)

Until we read these ominous words: “Once more war broke out” (1 Samuel 19:8a).

Not just a war with the Philistines, but also the war in Saul’s heart and mind. David’s success aroused Saul’s jealousy again. He tried to pin David to the wall with a sword but missed, and David escaped.

Jealously taunts the soul it feeds on. It is an “evil spirit” that will overtake and destroy us. Like any sin, if we persist in letting it control us, God will give us over to it. (Romans 1:24; Psalm 81:11-12; Galatians 6:7-8)

Eventually, David fled to Samuel for protection, but Saul driven by malicious intent continued to pursue David. After sending three different groups of men to capture David, Saul went himself. God intervened and thwarted Saul’s plans. The Holy Spirit seized Saul, and he prophesied. (The Hebrew word for “prophesied” used in this passage means they were “in the ecstatic state, with song.”) In other words, the Holy Spirit caused Saul to sing songs of praise to God.

This isn’t the end of Saul’s sad story. Saul would spend the rest of his life with a heart and mind possessed by toxic emotions. But don’t miss this — two times in this passage Saul found relief from these harmful and unhealthy emotions.

What brought sweet relief to a tormented soul?

  • Listening to the voice of truth
  • Being controlled by the Holy Sprit 

Nothing is more powerful or effective against toxic emotions that plague our hearts and minds than the Holy Spirit at work in our lives and truth. When the loud voices of toxic emotions begin to fill our minds and highjack our behavior, let’s go back to the truth of God’s Word and ask the Holy Spirit to overcome us with a song of praise for God.

Prayer: Lord, I thank You for the sobering truth of Your Word because truth that sobers us should motivate us. I confess Saul’s story is a sobering story and makes me aware of the fact that at times my emotions have been toxic and have spewed out onto others. Thank You that by Your Word and by Your Spirit You change me. You, O Lord, bring sweet relief from sin and attitudes that can contaminate my thinking and torment my soul. Fill me anew with Your Spirit. Overcome me with a song of praise for You. Wash me with Your Word and help me to live in the light of Your truth. In Jesus’ name, amen.

More Moments:

Toxic emotions left unchecked will produce toxic relationships. These harmful relationships can... Read More

Download the First 5 app to get the full experience

Join the Community