Control Your Zeal

Richard Waialeale


2 Samuel 21:2 (NIV)

2 The king summoned the Gibeonites and spoke to them. (Now the Gibeonites were not a part of Israel but were survivors of the Amorites; the Israelites had sworn to [spare] them, but Saul in his zeal for Israel and Judah had tried to annihilate them.)


Saul violated the treaty Joshua had made four hundred years earlier with the Gibeonites.

The Bible doesn’t record the incident where Saul slain some Gibeonites but in this Scripture, the Bible says, “Saul in his zeal.” I wonder if Saul, in his zeal, felt at any time that he might have been doing the right thing?

In the book of Acts, Saul of Tarsus (Paul), in his "zeal for the law" lead him into violent action. Zeal of this sort was a part of a long tradition with Judaism looking back to particular scriptural and historical models of these the best known is Phenehas. Phenehas intervene to kill a Jewish man consorting with the Moabite woman. Next was Elijah, who also acted soundlessly killing the prophets of Baal.
Saul of Tarsus prior to his conversion was A Zealous Pharisee, taking the law into his own hands and act even when the official authorities were apparently negligent.

Saul saw himself a model of Phinehas and/or Elijah. His zeal led him to physical violence, as heirs and successors of the compromise Jews of Numbers 25 and the Baal worshipers of 1 Kings 18.

He was persecuting the church with great violence and was trying to destroy it. However, Jesus stopped Saul of Tarsus in his tracks by the revelation on the road to Damascus.


Zeal is good when I’m heading in the right direction. Every affliction arises from sin, and should lead us to repent and humble ourselves before God. Be quick to repent. If in my zeal I’m found in error - be quick to repent and ask for forgiveness. Learn from the examples of Paul, Saul and Jesus.


Father my zeal is to do your will. I pray that I stay close to You, watching what I need to keep close to my heart in following you. Amen.

Devotions for May 12

2 Samuel 21,22,23
1 Thessalonians 1

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