As I recently read through the books of Samuel, today’s verses struck me afresh. David had long ago been anointed by Samuel to be the new king of Israel, yet this had not come to fruition. In fact, David had gone through the worst time of his life appeasing an ever grumpy and violent king Saul to the point where he was now running for his life because Saul wanted him dead … not the pathway to kingship David had expected!
On a fresh hunting mission for David, Saul was alone in the very cave where David and his loyal friends were in hiding. Such a circumstance couldn’t have been a coincidence and David’s men were the first to be convinced this was indeed the Lord’s doing. Surely this was to be the time when David would slay the evil king that was leading Israel so badly and would take his rightful place as the new and good king of Israel.
I have to be honest. I would have most likely have assumed the same thing. How on earth could God want Saul still in the place of leadership of the nation when David, a man after God’s own heart, was right there, waiting to take his place!
Yet, David merely cut a small amount of cloth off Saul’s robe and even this bothered his conscience. He knew it was not his decision when his time to be king would come. He knew that Saul continued to remain in his position because he had also been anointed to be king and the timing of the change can only ever be God’s decision. Indeed, the Bible is clear on several occasions that it is God Himself who appoints and places leaders (e.g. Daniel 2:20-21).
When I compare David’s decision and his subsequent conversation with Saul (it is well worth re-reading), I find myself challenged by society’s view of leaders today. Fuelled by the media, we are more and more likely to judge, criticise and even want to oust those who may well have been ordained by God to take the place of leadership within our church, organisation or nation. Whilst we are a long way from wilful assassination of a leader, do we listen to our conscience when we cut off the corner of their robe’, or in other words, bring down with words, criticism, judgement, humiliation or gossip?
I heed these verses as a very clear warning to us as believers. It is not for us to bring down or replace those whom God has ordained, however ungodly they may be. In fact, we are called to honour them for the position God has placed them in, as well as to pray regularly for them. We may not understand, and we may be in strong disagreement, but it is God’s holy work to place leaders into positions, not ours.
Perhaps you might like to pray the following prayer if it is relevant for you.
Prayer: Father God, I recognise that I have fallen into a wrongful behaviour in how I respect the leaders that You have ordained in my life, work, church and nation. I open my heart for You to touch my conscience and I repent of my wrongful behaviour. Teach me how to honour those that You have placed into positions of authority in my life. Amen.
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