Sin grew in Saul when he was sent to destroy the Amalekites. Here was where Saul decided in his own mind that what God had said was forbidden and needed to be eliminated seemed harsh to him. He could save what looked good to him (regardless of what God said about it) and even use it to serve God - at least what was left over when he was done using it too. His real issue here was seeing things from God’s perspective - especially what God called sin and what He forbids. Saul wanted to define sin and what is forbidden himself. That redefinition was the cause of the kingdom being torn from him just as Samuel’s garment was torn when he tried to persuade Samuel to bless him rather than discipline him.
It was during this time that Saul began to watch David’s surrendered life begin to experience God’s favor. He sang to God in a way that made evil spirits run from the room. He faced down a giant who wound up face down and dead because of David’s trust in God. As this grew he looked at David first with suspicion, then with dread, then with a growing jealousy, and eventually with murderous rage. He tried every way he could to kill this godly upstart and keep himself king. He wasn’t going to wait on God to advance David - and surely Saul knew better than God who should be king and who shouldn’t be king. Interesting how our early “little sins” come back later much larger than we first estimated them to be?
Saul became quite the spear thrower during that time (he threw a lot of them - he just didn’t hit anything except the wall). He threw them at David in a jealous, murderous rage. He even threw them at his own son - when he threw in his lot with this horrible usurper of kingdoms! In fact, when we see him in 1 Samuel 22 - he is standing on a high place with a physical spear in his hand - and with verbal spears that he is about to lob at David and anyone who would dare support him.
“David won’t give you what I’ve given you!” he rages. “And after all I’ve done for you - none of you tells me my son made a covenant with this terrorist who lays in wait and conspires against me!” Saul works the crowd dishing out guilt like a Jewish mama working her son for something she wants. “None of you feels sorry for me,” he continues evidently making up for any lost pity by feeling very sorry for himself.
That is when it happened. Saul’s decision to play with sin rather than kill it, grew to full stature as Doeg the Edomite (by the way Edom is another type of the flesh and a way that is opposed to God’s way) told him that Ahimelech had helped David with bread and Goliath’s sword. Saul snapped, calling the priests before him with Ahimelech and interrogating them about how they were complicit in David’s plot to overthrow Saul and his kingdom. Ahimelech for his part though was no patsy - he confronted the king’s sinful madness by reminding him David has not been part of some plot. He has been beneficial to the king, killing Goliath, being Saul’s son-in-law, who was elevated to captain of your personal guard (by YOU!) and who is honored in your hose. He even let Saul know he was still his servant (which by the way so was David) and then said, “ . . . your servant knows nothing at all of this whole affair.” What is so very sad is David knew nothing of it either because the only place this plot existed was in Saul’s twisted mind.
The next thing Saul did I believe sealed his fate. He pronounced a death sentence upon godly Ahimelech the priest - and extended it to his entire family - women and children included. The blood then flowed like waters rushing down a stream. So virulent was Saul’s jealousy and hatred of David that even oxen, donkeys, and sheep were slaughtered.
This is where sin takes us. We think we are in control of what we consider a small thing in our lives. We think it is OK for us to think of a brother or sister in Christ with jealousy and suspicion - even a little resentment - and that it will never grow. But Saul is given to us as an example of where sin takes us. I heard a Baptist preacher one say, “Sin takes you where you don’t want to go - Keeps you longer than you want to stay - And costs you more than you want to pay!” How true that is in Saul’s life as his sin - when he thought he controlled it - began to take over and it controlled him. But that is the true nature of sin. It will only grow and become ever more malignant in your life. That is why we need to be circumspect and alert to any intrusion of sin into our lives, our mindset, or our ways. It is deadly. The wise man or women knows this and avoids it at all costs - and when it is discovered repents of it immediately and completely.