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.
Today we get to join with a young soldier and sit at the feet of a wizened old soul, one who had lived alongside David in the days before he was king and also the days of his rule. We can relate to the questions the young soldier asks about King David and his mighty men of valor. We may even come up with a few questions of our own, but the answers will give us all pause for thought.
Young soldier: Are you, sir, one of David’s mighty men of long ago – one of those men of whom we have heard so much?
Old soldier: If you are asking if I am a former thief and cave dweller and one who followed a sobbing, hysterical fugitive, then yes, I was one of the ‘mighty men of David.’
Young soldier: But, sir, you make the great king sound like a weakling. Was he not the greatest of all rulers?
Old soldier: He was no weakling. Nor was he a great leader.
Young soldier: Then what, good sir? What was the greatness of David?
Old soldier: The clearest memory I have of my king, when we lived in the caves, is that his was a life of submission. Yes, David showed me submission, not authority. He taught me no the quick cure of rules and laws, but the art of patience.
Men who speak endlessly on authority only prove they have none. And kings who make speeches about submission only betray twin fears in their hearts: They are not certain they are really true leaders, sent of God. And they live in mortal fear of a rebellion.
My king spoke not of submitting to him. He feared no rebellion…because he did not mind if he was dethroned!
No, authority from God is not afraid of challengers, makes no defense, and cares not one whit if it must be dethroned.
As far as David’s having authority: Men who don’t have it talk about it all the time. David had authority, but I don’t think that fact ever occurred to him.
Scripture to consider:
7 … Therefore, so that I would not become arrogant, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to trouble me—so that I would not become arrogant. 8 I asked the Lord three times about this, that it would depart from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” So then, I will boast most gladly about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may reside in me. 10 Therefore I am content with weaknesses, with insults, with troubles, with persecutions and difficulties for the sake of Christ, for whenever I am weak, then I am strong. – 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 NET
If we need power and authority, we are probably not ready or suited for it!
To borrow from John Piper, God’s design is to make us a showcase for His power…not by getting rid of all our weaknesses; but by giving us strength to endure and even rejoice in tribulation.
Although David did not know it, his heart and attitude was a reflection of the One, king of kings, who would follow about a millennia later; the One that Paul spoke of in 2 Corinthians 12:9 >> So then, I will boast most gladly about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may reside in me.