The Mars Hill staff is in a series of devotionals drawn from the book, A Tale of Three Kings by Gene Edwards. We share highlights from the book each week, but we invite you to get a copy and read along with us. The drama is a multi-act play telling the stories of three kings. It is a portrait of submission and authority within the Kingdom of God; offering hope and healing to the spiritually wounded.
We are now in our eighth week of A Tale of Three Kings. The Hebrew people who worship Yahweh had asked to be ruled by a king. Yahweh granted their request and through the prophet, Samuel, Saul was anointed – chosen to be the first king of Israel. Saul was a successful king in that he was a powerful and accomplished military man; in a short time, he managed to free the people from most of their enemies, giving them a great sense of security.
But, Saul relied on his own strength and human abilities so that he became insecure and envious when someone else showed equal or greater ability. That someone was young David. David had come to fight for the king and to serve the king. David’s victories on the battlefield were exceeding Saul’s and his favor off the battlefield was gaining him quite a following, too. This was making Saul quite mad with jealousy towards David.
Our chapter begins with the following, “MY KING IS MAD. At least, I so perceive him. What can I do?” But if we are going to apply some basic principles of this story to our own lives, this is not the only question we found ourselves faced with. The people under Saul’s rule knew that he had been chosen by God to be king. A few were aware that David had also been anointed. But David was still under Saul’s authority as God had not said when Saul’s rule was to end and David’s to begin.
Today we do not have such specific directives from God through prophets like Samuel, but we do have people in authority over us on many levels. How do we know who is the Lord’s anointed? Are they after the order of King Saul or King David? If it turns out they are quite mad, how should we respond? Consider the statements and scriptures below.
God alone knows the heart of each and every one of us. Heart is very important to God!
- All a person’s ways seem right in his own opinion, but the LORD evaluates the motives. – Proverbs 16:2 NET
- …then listen from your heavenly dwelling place, forgive their sin, and act favorably toward each one based on your evaluation of his motives. (Indeed you are the only one who can correctly evaluate the motives of all people.) – I Kings 8:39 NET
- After removing him, God raised up David their king. He testified about him: ‘I have found David the son of Jesse to be a man after my heart, who will accomplish everything I want him to do.’ – Acts 13:22 NET
God may reveal to us His anointed if we ask Him; it is His wisdom on which we rely, not our own.
- Then they prayed, “Lord, you know the hearts of all. Show us which one of these two you have chosen…” – Acts 1:24
- The unbeliever does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him. And he cannot understand them because they are spiritually discerned. – 1 Corinthians 2:14 NET
We are not called to respect leaders because they are infallible, but because God has placed them over us. We follow God; therefore we follow those whom God puts in authority.
- Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except by God’s appointment, and the authorities that exist have been instituted by God. – Romans 13:1 NET
There is a purpose for the king’s role in your life – even if he is subject to madness. It may be a lesson to prepare you to be the next king. Like David, you may try to appease the king or you may need to avoid the king, but you can definitely trust that the King of Kings, the Lord, will deliver you from the circumstance at His appointed time.
In the same way, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. And all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. 6 And God will exalt you in due time, if you humble yourselves under his mighty hand 7 by casting all your cares on him because he cares for you. 8 Be sober and alert. Your enemy the devil, like a roaring lion, is on the prowl looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, strong in your faith, because you know that your brothers and sisters throughout the world are enduring the same kinds of suffering. 10 And, after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory in Christ will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. – 1 Peter 5:5-10 NET