Follow the King

by pastortimfowler

Yesterday I finished reading 1 Samuel and it deals mostly with the reign of king Saul and the beginning years of the man who will be king, David. There is a lot to gain from these two men and from this book of the Bible. I am always amazed at how God allows us to learn from His word and how often the lessons can challenge us to rethink our view of life’s challenges.
Saul was anointed king because Israel wanted a king like everyone else had. They already had a king, God but they saw how other nations had a king that would cave into the pressures of the people and God doesn’t do that. But God gave them what they wanted to show them how foolish it is to follow man and not God.
Now Saul was not an evil man from the start. In fact God sent His spirit to come upon Saul and guide him. For a while, Saul followed that leadership and things went well, but somewhere along the way the power went to his head and he made a mistake that cost him God’s favor. After that, God allowed an evil spirit to rule Saul’s life and chose another to be the King of Israel, a young boy named David.
The priest Samuel, went to David and anointed him to be the next king. The anointing did not mean the immediate removal of the old king, but rather that David would be the next king after Saul. Several years past before David actually took the kingdom. He became a great warrior, a great friend, and, get this, a great servant of the one who he would follow, Saul.
David did not follow the evil desires of Saul, but he did not subvert the authority of the king that God had appointed. David was a faithful soldier under the king and followed the laws of the king to the fullest. I think we can all learn from this. Even though we may not like and or even agree morally with our leaders, we have an obligation to be good citizens. We do not have to follow anything immoral but we do need to follow the law.
David had several instances where Saul tried to kill him. Using wisdom and understanding from God, David was able to see that evil was responsible for the wrongful acts and that honor was still required for God’s appointed king. David in return had several chances to kill Saul. But at every chance he chose to use it as an opportunity to show the king loyalty rather than defy his authority. You see, God will never allow another man to subvert the authority of the one that He has put in place. Even if that man is wrong, and even if we have a chance to remove him. God puts leaders in their places and it is often because God is giving us just what we deserve.
At the end of 1 Samuel, many are celebrating the death of king Saul. Both Israel and her enemies were singing and shouting in celebration of his death. But David did not. In fact, he cried. In the first chapter of 2 Samuel, David receives the news that Saul and the army of Israel had been defeated. Immediately he tears his clothes and cried aloud and does not eat. The men who followed David did the same because David had taught them well.
David was sad for several reasons. First, when the king is defeated, the nation is defeated and David loved his country. Second, David respect the positional authority and Saul was his king, good bad or ugly. Third, Saul’s son Jonathon was killed too. Jonathon and David had a special friendship. We are told that they loved each other as they loved themselves.
But I wonder if David was not sad because he knew the he was about to have to fill the seat of the king. He had seen how leaders are often ridiculed and how many will come looking for your head on a platter at the first mistake. He knew that even though he was faithful, many were not. Leadership can be a lonely place and David was about to enter into a place that few will ever understand.
I pray that I will be faithful to my leaders, whether I agree with them or not. I pray that God will allow a servant’s heart to fill my heart. I pray that in my own role as a leader that God will allow me to only lead where He leads and that my desires are only His desires. I pray that those whom God has blessed me to lead will understand the solitude of leadership and understand that every leader must often make decisions that are difficult and not always pleasing to the majority.
I am not a king, nor do I want to be. God has appointed me the position that David started out in, a shepherd. But David also knew that shepherds must love their flock and lead them into a safe and healthy life so that they may reproduce more sheep. I am not sure if it is easier to be the king or to be the shepherd, but either way, God shows us how it is to be done.
May we all follow THE KING.

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