Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Regarding Respect

Today's passage: I Samuel 24
     Election time is just around the corner.  Candidates have thrown in their hats, campaign slogans are being decided upon, platforms are being outlined.  I am thankful that we live in a country where every four years, we can choose who we want in place as our leader.  I am thankful, that our leaders, knowing this, stay accountable for their actions.  Our representative government does work, although not always to our complete satisfaction.  Unfortunately, in recent years, I have seen our elected officials do things the way they choose instead of the way their constituents choose.  This has cost many of them their position.  This is why our system does work, because when we are dissatisfied, our voices can be heard in the voting booth.  We can unemploy those who represent us, those who lead us.
     Let me just say it.  Saul is a terrible leader.  He does not deserve respect.  He never goes to God for a decision.  He never talks to Samuel.  If I were a citizen in Israel, and I had an opportunity to vote him out of office, I would without hesitation.  A monarchy system does not work like that.  God tried to warn His people of this back in Chapter 8 when they first request a king.  Samuel gives them the list of cons, but the people wouldn't listen.  Now they are suffering under a despotic tyrant whose fits of jealousy have forced them to track an invisible enemy.  I say invisible, because David was not his enemy.  Saul just chose to believe he was.
     David has the greatest opportunity in the world right now.  Saul takes a nap in the cave where David happens to be hiding.  David's mighty men assure him this is his chance.  Impulsively, David goes to the sleeping king and cuts off part of his robe.  Almost immediately, he regrets this.  This enemy of his, is the king of Israel, the man God established on the throne.  It was not for David to disthrone him.  But the people did not like Saul.  That didn't matter.  God had put Saul there, and until God removed him, the Israelites needed to bide their time.  David realizes that even to cut Saul's robe was a sign of disrespect to this leader.  David recognizes that lifting his hand against the king is to lift his hand against God.  Not because the king was godly, not because the king was a god, but because the king was God's representative, even if he did not represent God well.  God put him on the throne, God would take him off the throne.
Saul Enters a Cave During Search for David--Taken from Treasures of the Bible
By Henry Davenport Northrop, D.D.
International Publishing Company, 1894

     I voted last election, I will vote in the next election.  It is necessary to proclaim truth.  If our leaders are doing wrong, we certainly need to speak out against it.  Many would say, "Well, I didn't vote for that leader."  That may be true, but there are many who did, and God puts the leaders in place that He wants.  You mean He wants ungodly men in powerful positions?  Sometimes that is the only way to get our attention.  Maybe that is God's way of showing us how good we used to have it, when we used to complain about that.  If the Israelites could have made another choice, now that Saul has been king for a while, they may have chosen to go back to a time of Judges.
      In our country, a leader is chosen by electorate.  People have wanted to disregard that way of voting, but it is the only way for small towns to have their voice heard equally with the big cities.  How many times have I spoken against my leaders?  How many times have I wished I could give them a piece of my mind?  How many times have I said, "I didn't vote for that person, they will not get my respect."  That is the absolute wrong attitude.  God gives us a chance to vote, which I do, and He is ultimately responsible for who is in leadership.  So if I want to lift my hand against my leaders, then I lift my hand against God.  Am I saying that ungodly men are in place because God put them there?  I'm saying ungodly men are in place because God gives us free will and He allows us to elect who we choose.  The Israelites wanted a king.  He gave them a king.  He gave them somebody who was tall and handsome and athletic.  He gave them somebody who would impress the people.  He was not very impressive to God.  They may have wanted to take this decision back, but the Israelites learned a very valuable lesson about what a monarchy was like.
     I need to respect my leaders even if I don't like them.  I should pray for my leaders, vigilantly.  I need to ask God to help me accept their leadership.  This does not mean I can never disagree with them.  This does not mean that I can't be unhappy about any of their decisions.  It simply means that I need to give the office they hold respect, even if I don't have respect for the office holder.  And if I don't respect those in the highest authority, this will eventually trickle down into other areas of authority in my life. 
     David's respect for Saul was so great, that even in the middle of pursuit, even in a time of opportunity, David feels remorse for even cutting off a little of Saul's robe.  He didn't harm him, he didn't injure him, he didn't assault him.  Yet his small action was a sign of disrespect.  David was already a leader, he was leading a great deal of men, and to show even the slightest insult to their king was to say it was okay.  It was not okay, and that is why God convicted him of it right away.
     I will be voting in the upcoming election.  I will cast my votes for the men and women I feel will best lead this country, but it is in God's hands and if He allows someone to lead that I am dissatisfied with, it must be for some reason I do not see.  It will fulfill His plan.  To rail against it, is to tell God He does not know what He is doing.  To fight and complain and be disrespectful is to say that God does not have it all under control.  He does.  Should I vote for truth?  Yes.  Should I proclaim truth?  Yes.  I just need to be careful to do it in a respectful way.  Get on my knees, not in their face.  Pray for our leaders.  Write letters to them to encourage them to do right.  Make the phone calls.  But fight against the legislation, not the legislator.  I cannot tell my children to "Honor father and mother" and expect them to do this if I am belittling those in leadership above me.  If I talk badly about my boss, my supervisor, my pastor, my alderman, my mayor, my president, then I am not setting a very good example.  David knew that to expect respect, he had to give it.  I would be wise to follow David's example.


  1. Amen & amen! The Bible says that whoever is in power or in the government over any nation or people, it's God who allowed them to be there. It doesn't matter if they are good or an evil government/leaders. Their power is only as powerful as God would allow it. This is a hard truth for us to swallow that's why people always take the violent road to make a change in their respective countries. I believe we need to turn back to God and ask for His will be done in the nations around the world. Thanks for sharing this, Stephanie.

  2. Maybe we would get our way done more if our dialogue was more respectful towards those with opposing opinions. Some countries are never allowed to express an opinion at all, we forget that, and because of it, express it disrespectfully at times.


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