Robe’s Edge

1 Samuel 24: 5 – 7

But then David’s conscience began bothering him because he had cut Saul’s robe. He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do this to my lord the king. I shouldn’t attack the Lord’s anointed one, for the Lord himself has chosen him.” So David restrained his men and did not let them kill Saul.

There is some good advice here, don’t mess with the Lord’s anointed. The Pharisees should have read this passage. If they had, they wouldn’t have messed with Jesus. Jesus is the anointed one.
I wonder what the rest of the life story was for those who sent Jesus to the cross. Don’t you imagine the seed of their actions grew up and produced a harvest. I bet none of them lived out the number of their years.

We all are anointed in Jesus, every one of us, even those who are not ministers. We carry a piece of his anointing. Although the anointing of Christ is not limited to ministers, I think looking at this group makes it is easier to see the dynamic. Some ministers have a healing anointing more than others. Some are more prone to prophetic utterances while still others move in words of knowledge and words of wisdom. They have all been anointed by the Holy Spirit to work in Jesus’ ministry. Their specific anointing isn’t actually “theirs.” It is Jesus’. He has sent us to carry out his ministry.

I really appreciate David’s respect for the anointing. Though Saul was deranged and clearly not following God’s leading, David still esteemed the office. Saul was chosen by God. At the time this story took place Saul was already in disobedience and God had already chosen David to replace him. Actually, Samuel had even anointed David with oil and proclaimed God’s favor on him as the King. Saul still held the office, though and David would not violate the Lord’s calling of Saul even in light of the passing of the mantle. It appeared God had placed Saul at David’s mercy but that is exactly what David showed Saul, mercy.

What would you have done if Saul had chased you all over the country trying to kill you? I fear what I would have done. Would I have had as much respect for Saul’s calling as David did? I think about that now when I hear people criticize their pastor. It makes me shiver a little, as if a lightning bolt is about to strike. I certainly don’t want the disfavor of God on me because I, in some fashion, attacked His anointed.

I think this verse creates a good pondering point. It’s not uncommon to hear about David’s sin but this story is so strong about the honor David showed God in everything. Yeah, he blew it as we all have, but he withheld his hand and his men when he could have solved his biggest problem with one strike. He honored God’s anointing on Saul more than he cherished his own peace and safety. Amazing!

Trust begets Patience

1 Samuel 13: 7 – 14

Meanwhile, Saul stayed at Gilgal, and his men were trembling with fear. 8 Saul waited there seven days for Samuel, as Samuel had instructed him earlier, but Samuel still didn’t come. Saul realized that his troops were rapidly slipping away. So he demanded, “Bring me the burnt offering and the peace offerings!” And Saul sacrificed the burnt offering himself. Just as Saul was finishing with the burnt offering, Samuel arrived. Saul went out to meet and welcome him, but Samuel said, “What is this you have done?” Saul replied, “I saw my men scattering from me, and you didn’t arrive when you said you would, and the Philistines are at Micmash ready for battle. So I said, ‘The Philistines are ready to march against us at Gilgal, and I haven’t even asked for the Lord’s help!’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering myself before you came.” “How foolish!” Samuel exclaimed. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you. Had you kept it, the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom must end, for the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart. The Lord has already appointed him to be the leader of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.”

This is a classic mistake. I call it getting ahead of God. I have done it more times than I care to admit. I know what is supposed to happen, so I help God a little. The priest, Samuel says of this kind of thinking, “How foolish.” Saul got out ahead of God because he lacked trust. I reckon I make the same mistake for the same reason. Sometimes we need to just keep our hands in our pockets and expect the Lord to do as He says.

Saul took things into his own hands when the priest, Samuel, failed to show up on the day expected. Have you ever known God to be late? We joke about God’s 11th hour timing because it often feels like He is late to the party. We begin to get anxious and if we don’t check ourselves, the next thing that happens is we begin to “do” something. In fact, we almost don’t care what we do as long as it is motion. You can blow the whole thing in this way.

In my life, God has often withheld step two just to keep me from getting ahead of myself and Him. I do what He has shown me to do and then wait. Right now, though, God has given me a full vision of a project, right down to some very small details. I am dependent on other people though, so I want to get my personality involved and push them a little. It has been a major challenge for me to just do what the Lord has shown me to do and then take my hands off of it. I really, really want to start pushing some buttons, but I know that I need to wait and trust God. He will do what needs doing at the exact proper time. Saul destroyed himself and lost the throne for himself and his family by doing things the way he wanted to do them. He wasn’t just impatient though; he was also arrogant. That is not a good way to approach a project the Lord has partnered with you on. It is best for you and your project to wait on the Lord. And when I say wait, understand that Hebrew word implies trust, i.e. that you await the Lord trusting that He has all well in hand. Be patient knowing the Lord’s timing is best.

Forlorn, Weeping and Mourning

Psalm 35: 11 – 16            NIV

Ruthless witnesses come forward; they question me on things I know nothing about. They repay me evil for good and leave my soul forlorn. Yet when they were ill, I put on sackcloth and humbled myself with fasting. When my prayers returned to me unanswered, I went about mourning as though for my friend or brother, I bowed my head in grief as though weeping for my mother. But when I stumbled, they gathered in glee; attackers gather against me when I was unaware. They slandered me without ceasing. Like the ungodly they maliciously mocked; they gnashed their teeth at me.

David wrote this psalm from his soul. His anguish is evident. Although we don’t have King Saul hunting us down and trying to kill us at every turn, none the less, I feel confident that most of us have experience with the emotions and thoughts David was experiencing.

David loved Saul. He served him faithfully. What was his reward? Jealousy, suspicion and unwarranted aggression. Can you relate to that? The very person you spend your blood and breath praying for is the one who hurls the javelin at you. When they are sick, when they are hurting, you put on your sackcloth and pray in earnest, even in deep travail for them. You pour out your soul to God on their behalf and then at the first opportunity they plot your demise. It just does not seem right, does it? Sometimes the people that you help the most turn on you. Notice also that these people who repay our good with evil are not the ungodly. David writes that they act like the ungodly. They are likely the people who know better.

These people, these accusers do not tell the truth either. We know that because David called them slanderers. People will lie about you, will frame things in a less than favorable light in order to misconstrue and to give others a wrong impression of you. They are masters at deception and will easily lead others astray so that the naïve will believe their rhetoric although it is all false.

It will take three installments of the Word of the Day to go through the 35th Psalm and see how David dealt with this issue. I think it is worth the time to follow David through this experience. Hopefully by the end you will have a new revelation on this situation. At the very least you will know that you are not alone and will likely feel akin to David.

Perfect Fit

John 16: 2 – 3


They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God. And these things they will do, because they have not known the Father, or me.

Do you ever feel that you don’t quite fit in? I suppose most people feel that way at one time or another. If not, then we wouldn’t have so much conversation about being yourself and “fitting in”. Well, if you have ever felt that way, don’t worry. You are in very good company. Jesus didn’t fit. He was an outcast and in the eyes of the church leaders, most of his group was not fit for the Kingdom of God. Paul was a well-trained man of the church and though he was highly esteemed by the church at one time he was unacceptable in the eyes of God because he was persecuting all who believed in Jesus. Then he was converted in a very dramatic fashion. He became an important disciple of Christ but he was no longer in the grace of the church. So, as hard as it may sometimes be, do not fear and do not give up hope in our Lord because you don’t feel that you quite fit. Be you because that is who the Lord made you to be.

Seek God! Honestly search Him out! Chase Him with all your heart. When you have done that, He will make all things alright. You will find that He will teach you how valued you are in His sight. He will give you the acceptance that you so crave. Once you know in your heart of hearts that the Lord, our God, loves you just as you are, you can finally love yourself honestly and accept yourself just as He does. You are his precious no matter what anyone else says. And he loves you dearly. That is a promise.