Sunday, June 28, 2015

A deadly lie

"Report of Saul's Death to David" - Jean Fouquet, c. 1470
"Report of Saul's Death to David" - Jean Fouquet, c. 1470

TODAY'S SPECIAL: 2 Samuel 1:1-29

"'So I stood over him and killed him because I was sure that he could not live after he had fallen. And I took the crown that was on his head and the bracelet that was on his arm, and have brought them here to my lord.'
Therefore David took hold of his own clothes and tore them and so did all the men who were with him." 2 Samuel 1:10,11

In this curious scene, an Amalekite warrior, in visible grief ("clothes torn and dust on his head") delivered to David the news that Saul was dead at his hand. We'd expect David to celebrate and reward the killer. Finally the man who had kept him on the run for years was dead. But instead he and his men tore their clothes in mourning, wept and fasted, expressing their own grief.

The Amalekite who delivered the news (it happened to be a lie; 1 Samuel 31:4 records Saul's suicide) was probably shocked when instead of  commending him, David told his soldiers to kill him.

All through his time of fleeing from Saul, David showed similar respect for him as the Lord's anointed. In fact at one point when Saul happened to enter the very cave where David and his men were hiding, David's men urged him to kill the king. David gave in a little when he cut a piece of Saul's robe. But immediately he had a conscience attack, spoke his regret to his men and made sure they let Saul get away (1 Samuel 24:5-7).

A footnote in my Bible describes the situation well:
"David always considered Saul as God's anointed, even though Saul was rejected by God, hated David, and sought to kill him. David's reverence was for God who had anointed Saul" - Jerry Cook from the notes on 2 Samuel, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 403.

Who are "God's anointed" in our lives?

In a way all those in authority over us, as Paul explains in Romans 13:1-7. Though we may find lots of reasons not to respect and honor them like David could have listed for Saul, Paul makes it clear that they are there with the permission of a higher authority—God.

I am reminded of Moses' words to the Israelites when he explained the reason for their hardships in the wilderness. "And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not" Deuteronomy 8:2.

Perhaps our subjection to "God's anointed" is part of our own wilderness testing and training like it was for the Israelites and for David.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for David's example of respect for Your choice of Saul as king and his refusal to manipulate the situation for his own advantage. Help me to recognize the people you have anointed in my life, and to have a similar attitude of respect for Your authority in placing them over me. Amen.

MORE: Civil disobedience?

Is it ever right for a Christian to disobey the "Lord's anointed" authorities, especially those of civil government?

An article on "Got Questions" site states:
"The position the Scriptures uphold is one of biblical submission, with a Christian being allowed to act in civil disobedience to the government if it commands evil, such that it requires a Christian to act in a manner that is contrary to the clear teachings and requirements of God’s Word."

Read all of "When is civil disobedience allowed for a Christian?" Do you agree?

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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