Oh, Be Careful

David had been anointed in secret by the prophet Samuel. God had chosen David out of all of Jesse’s sons to replace Saul as king of Israel. Saul, who had been God’s choice for Israel’s first king, had turned his back on God. God had revoked his blessing on Saul and found a worthy replacement. David, the eighth and youngest son of Jesse, was to be the next king of Israel. Never mind that he had to wait over twenty years to see that promise fulfilled. David was young and had much work and grooming to be completed before he could rule the nation of Israel.

During the years of David’s waiting, Saul suffered times of depression and madness. He needed help to calm his mind. Unbeknownst to Saul that David was his replacement, he chose David to play harp to sooth his anxious mind. Saul had no idea that the young man strumming calming notes was the next king of Israel. But Saul came to love David and gave him additional responsibilities. David also became his armor bearer. Yet there were times when David remained at his family home tending sheep. And later, he was a mighty warrior in Saul’s army. He was so great of a warrior that Saul felt threatened by David’s success on the battlefield. So David fell out of favor with Saul, and Saul began hunting him. He began looking for an opportunity to kill this young man.

Unlike Saul, David had a deep, abiding commitment to his God. He knew that God was the God of Israel, and he also knew that he was chosen to rule the nation at the appointed time. David wasn’t in a hurry to claim his seat on the throne. After all, his anointing had been done behind closed doors. No one but David and Samuel knew what had taken place. So the news of a change in leadership had never been announced. And it would remain that way.

On more than one occasion while David was fleeing from Saul, he actually had the opportunity to kill Saul. Once David and his men were hiding in a cave, and Saul entered it to relieve himself. Unbeknownst to Saul, his arch enemy was in that cave and saw him. David’s men suggested to kill him on the spot. David adamantly refused. He could not and would not kill God’s anointed man.

On another occasion while Saul and his men were in a deep sleep, David and one of his men crept into the camp. This time, instead of killing Saul as David’s soldier suggested, David cut off a piece of Saul’s robe. Again. David wouldn’t kill the man God had anointed as king of Israel. He even felt guilty from cutting Saul’s robe.

In fact. Saul tried to kill David on at least twelve occasions, so it would seem that any attempt on the life of Saul by David would be justified. But David knew that he would dishonor God by killing Saul. So he did Saul no harm. And he didn’t speak ill of the man who was hunting him. He showed deep respect to God’s chosen king. He didn’t bow to the suggestions of his men to take Saul down whenever he had the chance. David was committed to honoring God’s chosen man, and he was even more committed to honoring God.

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. 1 Timothy 2:1-2

God has allowed evil leaders to be placed into power since the beginning of time. His top angel wanted to be like God, so he started a war with God. It didn’t end well for him and other angels who had pledged allegiance to him. His name is now Satan, and hell was prepared for him. So who are we to speak ill of those in power when God has allowed it of them. God sees evil. And he will punish it in his time and in his way.

Now, I can’t say that our elected leaders are anointed by God. But God ordains their time and position. We are not in a position to interrupt or destroy it. He allows people to be in power and events to take place that don’t honor him. God allows circumstances and elections that we don’t understand. He is setting this world in place for future events that only he knows of. Such things are beyond our understanding. Our responsibility is to trust and obey him.

We see what they do. We hear what they say. We know what they’re about, and we know what they stand for. But we are not God. We don’t know their hearts. We don’t know their intentions. Only God fully knows. And only God will hold them in final judgment. We cannot harm them. And we cannot wish harm upon them. 

God ordains our days and our steps. Even those who oppose him and walk in direct opposition to his commands, their days too are ordained by God. He knows us by name while he’s knitting us together in our mother’s womb. He knows the ways we will take. He knows our eternal destination. And he allows our free will to choose to follow him or to not follow him. Let’s remember that God is in control. 

One candidate says we’re in the battle for the soul of America. He says this is not a time to be complacent. Oh. He’s right. But he’s also been wrong. His ideations and intentions are to turn this country further and further from God. Another candidate says he wants to make this country great again. And other candidates have their own quips and sayings. And they speak words of ridicule and contempt against the other. Should it be that way?

I recently heard someone say they couldn’t call our current President “Commander in Chief”, because he was the commander in thief. This individual said that because of freedom of speech, she could say what she wanted. But do those words honor the position? Would she say them if God was standing next to her?

We don’t have to agree with them. We don’t have to like them. We don’t have to support them or vote for them. But we must show honor where honor is due. The position is one of honor, and whoever is in it has been ordained by God to be there. God allows evil men and women to prosper and godly people to suffer. God allows good men and women to prosper and ungodly people to suffer. God does not play favorites. The rain falls on the just and the unjust.

Some see those who have opposing beliefs as enemies.  It seems we can no longer have opposing views and show respect to the other party.  But God’s Word is very clear about how we are to treat those who oppose us and who may even identify as our enemies.  When we speak ill of others, we speak ill of God. Oh I know. Not one of us is perfect. We’re all guilty of this. We’re guilty of name calling and speaking words in jest or ridicule. But let’s do better. Let’s be better. Let’s be as much like God as we can. Let’s commit to following his lead.

So, I guess the question is, how do we show respect to someone we disagree with and at the same time speak truthfully? How do we say the things we know to be true without degrading and demoralizing the other person? We speak with kindness and purpose. We have pure intent. We don’t gossip. We don’t embellish. We choose our words wisely. We know when to speak and when to be silent. We listen and listen well. We honor God with our words and our actions. And we pray. We pray for those in power, and we pray for those hoping to gain power. Sounds simple even when it isn’t. But it is possible.

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