NEHCC Sermon - 3-2-08 - Response to Bad Authority
NORTHEAST HOUSTON COMMUNITY CHURCH
Sermon – Response to Bad Authority
Scripture – 1 Sam 24:8-14
1 Sam 24:8-14
8 David also arose afterward, went out of the cave, and called out to Saul, saying, "My lord the king!" And when Saul looked behind him, David stooped with his face to the earth, and bowed down. 9 And David said to Saul:"Why do you listen to the words of men who say, 'Indeed David seeks your harm'? 10 Look, this day your eyes have seen that the Lord delivered you today into my hand in the cave, and someone urged me to kill you. But my eye spared you, and I said, 'I will not stretch out my hand against my lord, for he is the Lord's anointed.' 11 Moreover, my father, see! Yes, see the corner of your robe in my hand! For in that I cut off the corner of your robe, and did not kill you, know and see that there is neither evil nor rebellion in my hand, and I have not sinned against you. Yet you hunt my life to take it. 12 Let the Lord judge between you and me, and let the Lord avenge me on you. But my hand shall not be against you. 13 As the proverb of the ancients says, 'Wickedness proceeds from the wicked.' But my hand shall not be against you. NKJV
As we continue looking at the life of David we will look at a time when David was unjustly pursued by King Saul. The key point to me about this event is not so much about Saul’s unfair and unwarranted persecution of David but the key lesson here is about how David responds. The lesson for us to learn from David is how to deal with God given authority.
We all at some time or the other have been under the authority of someone that we did not have a high opinion of. Depending on their position our responses would vary. At home there are wives that rebel against their husbands, children against their parents. In school a student would rebel against the teacher. On our jobs we often find ourselves rebelling against our managers or even the company. The heart of man is a rebellious heart. Have you noticed that you do not have to teach a child to rebel? This is evident in that man has and still is rebelling against God. REBELLION AGAINST GOD IS SIN.
This word rebel takes on many different forms but everyone has in common the theme of opposition.
Definition - Rebel
1 a: to oppose or disobey one in authority or control b: to renounce and resist by force the authority of one's government 2 a: to act in or show opposition or disobedience <rebelled against the conventions of polite society> b: to feel or exhibit anger or revulsion <rebelled at the injustice of life>
Our rebellion takes different forms; sometimes it is outright refusal to obey a command or a request. Most of the time it is in the form of unkind words about a person or about the company or the government and or its officials.
I will confess right here and now that I am guilty of this. I don’t want it to be said that Pastor Diggs said we can’t talk about how wrong this administration is about something. It is ok to be in opposition to wrong regardless of the source. What is wrong is the manner in which we make that known.
Gandhi first employed peaceful civil disobedience in the Indian community's struggle for civil rights in South Africa. Upon his return to India from Africa, he organized poor farmers and labourers to protest against oppressive taxation and widespread discrimination. Gandhi famously led his nation in the disobedience of the British salt tax imposed in India with the 400 kilometer (248 miles) Dandi Salt March in 1930, and in an open call for the British to Quit India in 1942. He was imprisoned for many years on numerous occasions in both South Africa and India. Mahatma Gandhi was to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 1948, but his assassination prevented the award.
Nelson Mandela - Mandela was an anti-apartheid activist and leader of the armed wing of the African National Congress. But his greatest achievements came through non-violent means while in prison for 27 years. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Martin Luther King - MLK opposed the injustice perpetrated on black Americans. He protested and opposed in a non-violent way. Dr King was also a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964
Above all these men, there is Jesus the epitome of non-violence.
These men had in common an un-common success through non-violent means when they had violence administered to them and some by all accounts would think they had every right to employ the same tactic.
Let me very quickly set the stage for the context of our focus passage. I suggest you read 1 Sam 24 from the beginning. Since we are going to be shadowing David, Why not read for yourself about his ups and downs, they can be found in 1 Sam 16 through to 2 Chronicles 35. I will not be speaking on ever event in David’s life so there will be much for you to see for yourself.
Last week we talked about how Saul became jealous of David because he was getting greater accolades than himself. David had to go into hiding and with him he had about 600 followers. During this time there was and ongoing war between Israel and the Philistines.
During this time Saul was still king of Israel and dealing with a distressing spirit given to him by God. Saul was suffering the consequence of disobeying God and God told him that his kingdom would not be passed on to his descendants.
On David’s side, God through the prophet Samuel had anointed David to be King. But this was not to occur until the death of Saul. Although Saul did wrong, God did not take the king position from him but from his descendants.
That which we do and our relationship will have a direct effect on our children. Saul’s children lost royalty.
On Saul’s return from chasing the philistines he inquired about the whereabouts of David and was informed of a location where David was supposed to be. Saul assembles 3,000 of his best men to pursue David when he should have entreated David to fight with him.
Saul knew that knew that the Lord was with David as evident by David’s defeat of Goliath, and by David’s multiple victories over the Philistines for the hand of Saul’s daughter.
1 Sam 18:27-30 Then Saul gave him Michal his daughter as a wife. 28 Thus Saul saw and knew that the Lord was with David, and that Michal, Saul's daughter, loved him; 29 and Saul was still more afraid of David. So Saul became David's enemy continually. NKJV
While looking for David, Saul had to go and relieve himself and did so in a cave. It so happened to be the same cave where David and some of his men were hiding. While Saul was busy David cut a piece of the king’s robe but resisted the advice to kill the king.
Every action of Saul was an attempt to destroy David, the anointed king apparent. David knew that as long as Saul lived he was a marked man. He also knew that Saul could not be trusted.
On one of the occasions David’s friend, Jonathan, attempted to persuade his father not to kill David.
1 Sam 19:6-8 6 So Saul heeded the voice of Jonathan, and Saul swore, "As the Lord lives, he shall not be killed." 7 Then Jonathan called David, and Jonathan told him all these things. So Jonathan brought David to Saul, and he was in his presence as in times past. NKJV
But Saul reveled how intent he was on killing David even if it meant going against his vow to the Lord.
1 Sam 19:9-11 9 Now the distressing spirit from the Lord came upon Saul as he sat in his house with his spear in his hand. And David was playing music with his hand. 10 Then Saul sought to pin David to the wall with the spear, but he slipped away from Saul's presence; and he drove the spear into the wall. So David fled and escaped that night. 11 Saul also sent messengers to David's house to watch him and to kill him in the morning. NKJV
I don’t think that any of us had someone that intent on totally destroying us. Some may have tried to discredit us, wound us, undermine us or lie on us, but nothing like what David was experiencing.
We pick up here. When Saul left to go out the cave, David probably waited until Saul was a little distance away and called to Saul.
V8a David also arose afterward, went out of the cave, and called out to Saul, saying, "My lord the king!" And when Saul looked behind him, David stooped with his face to the earth, and bowed down.
V8b His behavior was very respectful: He stooped with his face to the earth, and bowed himself, giving honour to whom honour was due, and teaching us to order ourselves lowly and reverently to all our superiors, even to those that have been most injurious to us.
Now think back to those people that you openly or secretly rebelled against. If you had a chance to get even as David did would you? Would you restrain yourself and later humble yourself before that person as David did?
Don’t answer me because I know the answer.
David tells Saul that he could have killed him but he spared him.
10 Look, this day your eyes have seen that the Lord delivered you today into my hand in the cave, and someone urged me to kill you. But my eye spared you, and I said, 'I will not stretch out my hand against my lord, for he is the Lord's anointed.'
Against the urging of his men David let Saul, his pursuer live because he, Saul, was still God’s anointed king. God anointed Saul king and David felt that God was to be the one that removed Saul.
There is often a lot of disruption in our churches. It is not our place to decide that whom God/Christ has placed in the leadership of the church that the others should remove. Nor do I believe that you have to remain in the presence of that leadership if it is contrary to God.
David was willing to support Saul, but instead of fighting Saul he left his presence.
We must pay close attention to David’s reaction because David was a man after God’s own heart. The carnal man’s heart is rebellious. When we rebel we are saying, “I want things my way.” We are then self-centered.
David could have justified in his mind that killing Saul would be justified after all Saul sought to kill him (self-defense) He could have justified the act by saying the truth that God had anointed him to be king and after all it was God that led Saul to that particular cave.
I believe that it was a test for David and he passed with flying colors. The NT teaches us the right way to respond to that person who we think is persecuting us in some way.
Rom 12:17-21 17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,"* says the Lord. 20 Therefore "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head."* 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. NKJV
There are a least five very good pieces of advice for us in this passage. But for us to adhere to them we must have a heart after God’s. For the carnal man it is not natural, but for the spiritual man it is not so hard.
Opposition does not always lead to rebellion. There is no doubt that David was opposed to Saul trying to kill him every chance he got. But, look at the character of David.
11 Moreover, my father, see! Yes, see the corner of your robe in my hand! For in that I cut off the corner of your robe, and did not kill you, know and see that there is neither evil nor rebellion in my hand, and I have not sinned against you. Yet you hunt my life to take it.
Earlier David called Saul “My lord and King” now he calls him his father. In fact Saul was his father-in-law. But more so it seeing David maintains the proper respect for Saul. He proves to Saul that he in fact did spare his life.
David placed his future in the hands of God. I am sure David found himself in some very deep emotional valleys. I am sure he could not understand why he was on the run so much when he was anointed to be king.
When we run out of understanding then we cling to faith. His ways are not our ways.
If you read about the interaction between these two characters you will see that David did everything that Saul asked him to do. Except of course to give up and be killed.
Don’t think that if David did give himself up that he would have demonstrated the ultimate in loyalty. Not so, he then would had either tempted God in doing so or rebelled against God because God had anointed him to be king.
You never do anything, even if you think it is a very good and sacrificial thing, for anyone that will cause you to be disobedient to God. I have seen this attitude too many times even among ministers and people that are claiming to be God fearing.
I have seen them give into wives, husbands, children and lesser things in order to attempt to please man rather than please God.
If we take vengeance on someone even IF we are totally in the right, we are attempting to please ourselves rather than please God.
Let God administer justice where justice is due and vengeance where vengeance is due.
Heb 10:31 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. NKJV
How should we respond to a bad government leader? In this country we have a chance to make a change at election time. I agree a lot of damage can be done in-between elections. I have resolved to be an intelligent voter and I have resolved to pray for and against our leaders.
My prayer goes something like this. Lord I pray for our leaders at every level from local government to the highest office in the land. I pray that those that are governing for the benefit of the people and pleasing to you be strengthened and remain. For those that are doing harm to the people and the nation and are displeasing to you I pray that they be revealed and repent and if they do not then I pray that they be removed and replaced with men or women pleasing to you. I don’t care what party affiliation they are a member of.
Rom 12:17-2 and Rom 13:1-7
17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.
18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,"* says the Lord.
20 Therefore "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink;For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head."*
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
13 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.
2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.
3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same.
4 For he is God's minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.
5 Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience' sake.
6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God's ministers attending continually to this very thing.
7 Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor. NKJV_
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