Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Still "The Lord's Anointed"

One of the most fascinating things (to me, anyway) concerning the story of Saul and David is that, in spite of Saul's repeated attempts to kill him, David continually referred to Saul as "the Lord's anointed", recognizing that God had initially separated and set up Saul to reign over His people.

During this time, however, God had spoken clearly to Saul - through the old prophet Samuel - and had unequivocally informed Saul that he was no longer God's elect (due to Saul's disobedience and presumptuous activities), and that God would soon take the kingdom from Saul's household, and would give it to David. Scripture also points out that "the Spirit of the Lord was with [David] and was departed from Saul." (1 Sam. 18:12) Saul recognized this in his own life, and feared David.

Also during this time, the old prophet Samuel had paid a visit to the house of Jesse and had publicly anointed David in the sight of his own household and brethren, pronouncing that David would succeed Saul, and would rule over God's people, Israel.

Yet David continued to refer to Saul as "the Lord's anointed". David also refused to lift his hand against Saul, and the one time David did take matters into his own hands - cutting off the skirt of Saul's robe as he slept in a cave - David's own conscience smote him, and he repented of the action he had taken against a man who had become his enemy.

It is frightening today that people are so casual, even confrontational, about the role of the priesthood, even to the point of becoming belligerent toward the man of God. I am convinced that we - the Church - need a revival of respect and reverence for the office of the ministry. Your pastor - whether you feel he's right or wrong, and even if he IS wrong about something - should always be viewed as "the Lord's anointed".

Pardon me while I lapse into my East Texas vernacular, but if there's a problem with the man of God in my life, honey, it ain't my place to attack him, publicly or privately, on Facebook, Twitter (or whatever the leading social network may be at the moment), or even behind the closed doors of my own home.

In a church I once pastored (for a very short time, believe me!) I actually had someone look me in the eye one Sunday night after service and demand, "Who are you to tell me how I should live? I'm just as holy as you are." (No, this was not a visitor or an outsider; they were actually one of the "saints" who attended almost faithfully.) While I understand that neither myself, nor any other minister is "more holy" than anyone else (we are all saved and kept that way by the Grace of God), the attitude and demeanor this person displayed towards the office of the ministry was appalling. Sadly, it's becoming more and more common among church congregants who refuse to recognize "the Lord's anointed" as being such. And unlike David, they have absolutely no problem taking matters into their own hands when they believe the man of God has crossed their philosophy or challenged them in some way or another.

Saul had been rejected by God.

David had been anointed to be king over Israel.

Saul attempted, on numerous times, to murder David in order to preserve his own kingdom.

Yet in all this, David continued to recognize Saul as God's anointed and refused to take matters concerning Saul's authority into his own hands.

Should we behave any differently today?

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