Loyalty To The King

President_Obama_at_MLK_Memorial_dedicationSome times a democracy can be harmful. I’m so happy the founders of the US established the kind of government they did, but the fact is, our right to vote has translated into a right to criticize. And criticism more often than not yields to grumbling and complaining, which in its turn can lead to slanderous invectives.

The US is in a unique period of our history. The nation is divided in a disturbing way—people on opposing sides have little respect for the individuals who hold a different view. The idea seems to be, only morons would not agree with my position, therefore you in the opposing camp are a moron, and I don’t have to listen to you. If fact, I’d rather if you simply did not speak.

Nothing could be more detrimental to a country that depends on compromise between legislators, between the two legislative houses, and between the legislature and the executive branch of government.

Compare where we are with David, youngest son of Jesse, who found himself in the opposite camp from the king of the land. Though he did not harbor rebellion in his heart and only fulfilled the king’s every wish, David became King Saul’s enemy.

We’re not talking about Saul hurling insults at David. He hurled spears. More than once. He ordered his men to pull him out of his house and kill him. He murdered seventy priests because one, thinking David, the King’s son-in-law to still be a loyal member of his court and on the King’s business, gave him food and a weapon.

Saul took an army of 3000 to hunt him down; he bribed and pleaded and cajoled and threatened to get people to disclose where David was hiding.

Sometimes his schemes seemed to work, and he closed in on David. Once when he was pursuing David in the desert, he took a break in a cave—a siesta, of sorts, in the middle of the day to get out of the heat. As it happened, David was hiding in the recesses of that cave, but Saul never knew it.

David’s men urged him to put an end to the persecution once and for all by killing Saul. But David refused for one reason and one reason alone—Saul was God’s anointed. In other words, God had put Saul in authority, and David was not about to supersede God’s decision.

Later he had a second opportunity to finish Saul when he made a foray into his camp at night. As it happens, God put a deep sleep upon everyone, and David slipped in, grabbed a couple things belonging to Saul to use as proof that he did not plan evil against the man who sought to kill him, then slipped out.

But David said to Abishai, “Do not destroy him, for who can stretch out his hand against the LORD’S anointed and be without guilt?” 10 David also said, “As the LORD lives, surely the LORD will strike him, or his day will come that he dies, or he will go down into battle and perish. 11 The LORD forbid that I should stretch out my hand against the LORD’S anointed; but now please take the spear that is at his head and the jug of water, and let us go.”

In all this David did not rail against Saul or paint him as a monster. He didn’t brag that he too was anointed by God, and he didn’t use his choice by God, carried out by the prophet Samuel, as a special reason for no longer honoring the King.

David lived out his loyalty to God by remaining loyal to His chosen King. He was willing to let God deal with Saul. This position is precisely the one the Apostle Paul and the Apostle Peter preached, inspired by the Holy Spirit, to Christians in the first century.

They happened to fall under great persecution because of their faith in Jesus Christ, but Peter says

Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God. Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king. (1 Peter 2:13-17)

By doing right we may silence the ignorance of foolish men. Not by calling them names. Not by signing petitions or starting impeachment campaigns or painting Hitler mustaches on the government leaders we don’t like.

David was right to let God deal with Saul. He had to wait, and he got tired of waiting which led him into a bad situation, but he remained firm about taking matters into his own hands. He would not move against Saul. He would let God take care of him.

His wait paid off.

When I see Christians treat our President with disrespect and accuse him unjustly, I am confused. God’s command in His word is clear: we are to honor our leaders:

Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men (Titus 3:1)

Even more clearly, Paul said to the Romans, who would have had a front row seat to all the abuses of the Caesars and their minions:

Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. (Romans 13:1-6)

Notice Paul does not qualify his statements. He’s not saying be subject to authorities with whom you agree or to ones who aren’t corrupt.

David’s example shows, however, that being subject to the King didn’t mean to stand still so he could skewer him with his spear. David ran and hid and ran some more so that Saul wouldn’t kill him. But he didn’t assassinate his character or take the man’s life.

Would that Christians today had as much confidence in God’s sovereignty and His omniscient plans as David did all those years before. He didn’t have Scripture to direct him in his decisions. We do, and still we speak with such disrespect about our rulers.

It’s democracy, I tell you. But that’s not an excuse.

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Published in: on October 20, 2014 at 5:52 pm  Comments (5)  
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5 Comments

  1. There is a vast gulf between disagreement and disrespect. However, Obama has proven himself to be an enabler of moral abominations, and for that he deserves both. He’s also a big spender and just another brick in the wall of America’s final economic collapse. I see a bigger picture than how David treated Saul, and although your observations have basic merit, Obama might be more an example of God’s wrath and not His blessing.

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  2. Russ, I can’t think you mean we Christians are to disrespect our President when God says we are to honor him. Whatever he’s done or however his policies have affected our country, we still don’t have a pass to ignore God’s clear command.

    I have no doubt that God does have certain leaders in place as a means of executing His judgment. A prime example is Nebuchadnezzar who was God’s instrument to deal with Judah as He had warned them He would.

    Is President Obama God’s instrument to bring judgment on the US? God hasn’t said so in His word, but even if that were true, how much more should we honor him.

    Look at how Daniel behaved in Babylon, or Joseph in Egypt. It simply is not OK for Christians today to say God is wrong and the right way to treat a leader we believe is going the wrong way is to disrespect him. That’s the kind of thinking Israel did with Moses when they decided they wanted to go back to Egypt.

    Becky

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    • I am in subjection to governing authorities, as you are, and have nothing other than respect for law and order, as commanded. And I understand Paul’s warning about suffering the consequences of personal evil. But I see it as an application to the “entirety” of authority and not one individual, such as Obama. Look, in my opinion, this subject gets very complicated as one reads through Scripture, and I will admit that it’s difficult for me to filter. For example: Although God allowed the rule of Manasseh, it’s obvious that He was not pleased, and despite Josiah, it was too late. So what to do and what to think? Living in the present moment, I’m looking at America (and aspects of this issue ) from the big picture of history and God’s plan unfolding for American in real time. It doesn’t look good, Becky, and although your viewpoint has Scriptural merit, one can’t just blast by the big picture, avoiding it altogether. So it isn’t just an “Obama thing” I’m focusing on. Perhaps I’ve got too far in trying to weave the two subjects into one, when they might have been kept far apart. I regret that, but I think you understand my “big picture” angst.

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      • Russ, I understand what you’re saying. I think, however, that this issue is one Evangelicals need to take a hard look at. We don’t want Progressives altering the Bible to fit what they want to believe, and I think we are in danger of doing the same thing in matters like this.

        When God said through Peter that we are to honor the king, there’s just no equivocating on that. First He says, Honor all people, then, as if to be sure we understand this includes our authorities, Honor the king. There simply is no exceptions clause.

        We Christians have no business showing our leaders disrespect, even as we disagree with them.

        Becky

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        • Have you read, “The Harbinger,” by Jonathan Cahn?

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