The Dangers of Zeal

To read the Bible in a year, read Second Samuel 21 and 22.
Something bad happened during days of David’s reign over Israel. He sought the Lord and received an answer, “Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year; and David inquired of the LORD. And the LORD answered, ‘It is because of Saul and his bloodthirsty house, because he killed the Gibeonites'” (2Samuel 21:1). It sounds as though three years passed before David thought to ask the Lord the reason, if there was one, for the famine. Why did David wait? Why do we wait? We often attribute bad things to other causes or we just wonder what is going on, and so we do not pray to the Lord about it. However, David finally did pray and discovered that God was doing it because Saul had killed the Gibeonites. Verse 2 explains further, “So the king called the Gibeonites and spoke to them. Now the Gibeonites were not of the children of Israel, but of the remnant of the Amorites; the children of Israel had sworn protection to them, but Saul had sought to kill them
in his zeal for the children of Israel and Judah.”
When you make a vow, it must be kept at all costs. Joshua and the leaders of Israel had promised not to harm the Gibeonites, but Saul broke that promise and Israel suffered for it. What drove Saul to kill the Gibeonites? Well, Joshua and his generation should have killed the Gibeonites, but they tricked Israel and Israel made the vow. However, Saul had zeal for Israel and believed he did the right thing by seeking to eliminate those whom Israel should have eliminated initially. To do that though, he had to break a vow, a promise, and you do not do such things without consequences.
Saul had zeal, but he did not guide it with knowledge. Zeal is like water. We cannot live without water, but water can also kill us. Water has to be contained and directed, then it gives life. So it is with zeal.

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