written by Daniel Triestman
Read: I Samuel 24, Matthew 23
“I tell you, something greater than the Sabbath is here.” I Samuel 24:6
In America, every few years we see a peaceful exchange of power. Governors and representatives will lay down their authority and title in the interest of democracy. Even in America, however, these regimes changes are never seamless. There often remains some level of resentment or hostility between administrations and political parties. The losers are hardly agreeable, the winners are rarely gracious.
When God rejected Saul as king of Israel He ordered a change in power. The line of David was now to have an eternal kingdom in Israel. Saul seemed to fear that this Davidic kingdom posed a threat to the life and well-being of his family and descendents. Rather than abdicate the throne and beg for David's mercy, Saul decided to try to kill his political opponent.
David also seemed to be aware of the implications of this change of power. His response, however, was not to “beat” his political adversary, but rather to honor Saul, befriend Saul's son and marry Saul's daughter. David's circumstances, colleagues and claim to the throne all seem to suggest that he should react to Saul's aggression, However David was determined to do nothing to harm Saul. Although David had no reservations about challenging Saul's sin, he was obedient to the Lord's anointed for the Lord's sake. Yet despite David's best efforts to bring about this peaceful exchange of power, Saul would not allow for peace.
About a thousand years after Saul's kingdom gave way to the Davidic Kingdom, God called for another regime change -a spiritual regime change. God rejected the law and the Levitical sacrificial system and replaced it with the new covenant in His Son. Just as Saul attempted to kill his new king, the Jewish religious leaders sought the life of their Messiah. And just as David remained obedient to Saul, the Son of David subjected Himself to the Pharisees and the rule of the law.
It is amazing that after having numerous spears hurled at him and seeing Saul kill his friends, David was still able to find Saul as honorable. He called Saul “lord and king,” prostrated before Saul and even felt guilty in damaging Saul robe. As David said “Far be it from me because of the Lord that I should do this thing to my lord, the Lord’s anointed.” David seemed to believe that even though God rejected Saul, to honor Saul was to honor the Lord.
The coming of the Messiah changes our relationship with the Levitical sacrifices and the Old Testament law, but it does not allow for a combative stance against the traditions of the Torah or the teachings of Judaica. David and Christ both showed honor to a failed administration for the sake of the Lord who anointed it. Likewise we should live our lives with a humility and deference to all knowing that by showing honor to kings, rules or philosophies, be they right or wrong, we may show honor to our Lord.
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