Loyalty To The King – Reprise

Some 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 morons, 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 same 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. Even though his men urged him to do Saul in.

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?” 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. 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.” (1 Sam. 26:9-11)

In all this David did not rail against Saul or paint him as a monster. He didn’t brag that he himself 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 wrote this in his first letter:

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 not 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—whether now or four years ago—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.

Even though our democracy allows us the freedom to speak against our leadership and those with whom we disagree, I think our commitment to Christ should lead us to a different position.

This post is an edited version of one that originally appeared here in October, 2014.

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Published in: on September 27, 2017 at 5:10 pm  Comments (9)  
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9 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Well said,Becky.

    I think what we’re seeing is actually a crisis of authority that began long ago. We submit to “the authority of the King for the common good,” which used to mean leaders,cops, teachers, even when
    they were wrong,unethical. It’s an ideal that helped kept us united, built civilization. If everyone is just going their own way and feels no need to respect anyone’s authority, you wind up with chaos and violence pretty quickly.

    We used to say, through quite a few presidencies over the years, “respect the office.” I haven’t heard that for a long time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think you’re right, IB. I suspect the rejection of authority comes from our rejection of God. If He is not to be obeyed, then we are our own little rulers, able to accept or reject whoever we agree with or disagree with.

      It’s a much bigger problem than what most want to deal with, I think.

      Becky

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well said, very well said. Many of my well meaning sisters and brothers here in the south blur the lines between politics and the Kingdom of God. They put too much hope in the one who would sit in the chair of the Oval Office, and not enough hope in the one who sits on The Throne of Heaven, and not enough thought into who is sitting on the Throne of their heart…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Exactly, Pastor Randy! I know some have criticized the Church for doing nothing but sitting around waiting for heaven, or only concerning ourselves with a person’s eternal destination, as if we’re trying to rack up points with every conversion, or something.

      Some of that criticism may have been warranted, though I tend to think a lot of those critics were ignoring what various organizations like the Union Rescue Mission or the Salvation Army were doing,

      The point is, we overcompensated and have moved again toward a social gospel. But also a political gospel. It seems to me we want our government to be holy and righteous and good so life will be better for Christians. For all Americans. But the gospel isn’t about the good life now. This is not our destination. This is the wilderness in which we journey.

      What does matter most, as you say, is who is sitting on the Throne of our hearts.

      Becky

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The evilness of Sodom was that they didn’t wanted to share their wealth with others. Instead they sabotaged for the foreigners that came to them. That’s the situation in USA today under Trump.

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    • Ben, I’m not sure where you got this idea.

      Scripture clearly says the people of Sodom “were wicked exceedingly and sinners against the LORD.” What they were doing was an offense to God.

      Was that offense the way they treated “foreigners”? I don’t think the passage bears that out. They were wicked before God sent the two angels. In fact, Abram pleaded with God for the city. God promised if there were as few as 10 righteous people, He’d spare the place for their sake. But sadly, only Lot, so the place was destroyed.

      In other words, their wickedness was endemic. It was part of their lifestyle, in the central fabric of how they treated God. We only have one detailed story which shows their wickedness and people can argue which part of the story made them wicked, but the point is they rejected God’s law, which 2 Peter 2 makes clear:

      if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter; and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds), then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority. (vv 6-10a, emphases mine)

      Becky

      Like

  4. About Sodom: thats wht Jeremiah and ancient rabbais told about the xenophobic people in Sodom.
    And further more: You have open up the Gates for the nazis. That will be a curse on you.

    Like

    • I’m not sure what you’re referring to, Ben. My post is about accepting the authority over us. You might be surprised that the original post had a picture of President Obama, because I wrote it when he was President. But though the individual is different and the political party he represents is also different, the point of the post is the same, We who believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior, are under His authority and the changing of the guard here in the USA ought not change our understanding of our real authority—God Himself. And I can assure you, Ben, God is no Nazi! 😉

      Becky

      Like

      • Sorry. I didn’t understood, but, and we both know that many German Christians followed Hitler, as many Americans are following todays populism.

        Like


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