Friday, November 4, 2011

Lasting Loyalty

Today's passage:  II Samuel 1
     At the end of I Samuel, Saul is killed (see post:  Comparatively).  In the beginning of II Samuel, David is just receiving this news.  An Amalekite emerges from the Israelite camp, appropriate mourning attire, reporting that King Saul and his son are dead.  This fellow has a definite agenda.  I can tell this because he knows to go straight to David (who is to be the next king) with this information.  He also thinks he knows that David will be overjoyed at this news.  Who wouldn't?  The man who had been pursuing David for years was now dead.  His son, Jonathan, who should be next in line for the throne is also dead.  This means two things for David.  He can stop running.  And he is about to become the next king of Israel. 
Picture in Public Domain from Standard Bible Story Reader, Book Three by Lillie A. Farris
Illustrated by O. A. Stemler and Bess Bruce Cleaveland, The Standard Publishing Company, 1926
     I've read a lot of books about England's kings and queens, the intrigue and power struggles at court, and it seems that the successor is always a little happy about the death of the previous monarch.  Usually they put on a good show about being sad, but they were often pretty excited about making their own mark on the country.  Although the events in II Samuel take place well before European courts, wouldn't it stand to reason that a lot of posturing was already taking place?  Weren't people already elbowing for the king's favor?  Didn't they all want to find grace and hopefully lands, titles, wealth under the new king?  I'm pretty sure this Amalekite did.  This is why he makes it clear to David, that although Saul fell on his own sword, he finished him off.  He doesn't say this joyfully, but I have no doubts that a smirk dwells under the frown.  He misjudges David.  A normal person would reward this man for disposing of his enemy and propelling him towards the monarchy.  But David was no ordinary man.  He had an extraordinary loyalty, not only to God, but to the man God placed as king.  A king who was often not worthy of his devotion.  A king who only wanted him dead.  A king who was disobedient to God.  And yet, he was still the king.  David does not reward this Amalekite.  He has him killed.  This man thought he would be showered with affection, with favors. I'm sure Amalekite kings would have done that for him.  He did not understand David, or David's God.
     This passage convicts me about our own leaders.  I have said before that I should pray more earnestly for them.  But I should also give them my allegiance while they are in office.  This doesn't mean I will agree with them, or agree with their decisions.  But I should be respectful, not speaking malicious words or wishing for bad things to happen to them.  David never once wished for Saul's death.  Why not?  I think probably because he knew him personally.  It would be easy for David's mighty men to be critical and harsh against Saul.  All they could see were his negatives.  And although David knew those things about Saul too, he had lived with him in the palace and knew there was more to the man. I think it is far easier to be critical of a man's actions when you don't know him, than when you do.  Not that I'm expecting to form bonds of friendship with my mayor or the President.  That is highly unlikely.  They are not evil villains, just as the men before them were not evil villains.  They are in positions of leadership that can change the course of our cities and country.  Sometimes they will make very bad decisions, as all leaders do.  Sometimes they will make very good decisions, and we should acknowledge when they do.  Either way, judging every move they make, threatening to move out of the country (still by far, the greatest country in the world), vowing to bring these men down, questioning their motives behind even their good decisions is not being a loyal citizen.  I'm sure David disagreed with Saul far more than he agreed.  He probably made a list of the things he would do differently as king.  The difference in what I see today is that David kept that list to himself.  If he had announced it to his men, if he acquired a megaphone and shouted it from the caves, it might have caused dissatisfaction among the people.  They may have rioted, they may have tried to get David on the throne sooner.  David knew it was not his time until God said so, not when the people said so.  We have an election every four years.  Campaign season has already started, but the dissatisfaction started as soon as the new President took office, and actually when election night results had been viewed.  I'm not saying I rejoiced at those results.  I have pretty much disagreed with just about everything our present President has done.  That is my right.  But I also believe, God has allowed him to lead our country for the time being, and agreeing or disagreeing, he is my President too.  Just as our city has elected a new mayor (who happens to hail from the present Presidential administration) and who has already made some controversial decisions with which I disagree, he is still my mayor.  I should pray for him.  I should be a good citizen for him (at least until the next election, when I can choose to vote for someone else).  But until I cast my vote in the booth, weighing decisions of new candidates, I need to be careful that I am not trash talking my current leaders.  Disagree with them, yes.  But respectfully.  And I find far too little of that, even in Christian circles.  David was loyal.  He would not tolerate insubordination to the man God put on the throne.  We may want to argue that God did not put "that man" in the White House or in the Governor's Mansion or in City Hall, but now that God allows us to make those decisions, He has had a hand in it.  We have to trust that God knows what He is doing, just as David trusted God.  And until we have an opportunity to make a new decision, we should be as loyal as David, and should encourage others to be loyal too.


  1. "David was no ordinary man; he had an extraordinary loyalty..."

    Loved this line, and it speaks to my thoughts regarding the character of David. For all his mishaps, sins, and messes, at the end of the day he was a man after God's own heart. And his allegiance to the King was never in question. I suppose we'd live in a different world if everyone would get the loyalty issue figured out.

    Thanks for your encouragement today. It blessed me heart to have you stop by from time to time and invest some of your energies into my thoughts.

    Blessed Sabbath rest to you and yours this weekend.


  2. Stephanie,
    I hope we get to meet one day! Thank you for this good reminder to pray fervently for our leaders. Praise the Lord that He is sovereign and no man is put in place unless He puts Him there. God bless you for being such an encourager!!


  3. I know we will get to meet someday, but here on earth would be nice! You are an encouragement to me as well.


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