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.
In our devotional today, David has sought the company and counsel of Zadok. He asks Zadok to recount to him the story of Moses and how he dealt with a similar situation of rebellion.
Korah was a cousin of Moses who decided that he had had enough of Moses leadership in the wilderness and he wanted to take his place and his authority. He trumped up charges against Moses and found 252 men to back him up. Korah approached Moses and Aaron with his followers. He informed Moses that he had no right to all the authority he exercised.
This story would have greatly interested King David. In our book, David is wrestling with how to respond to Absalom’s rebellion. He knows that many years ago, God had anointed him to be king, but he wonders now if that time is coming to a close. If God is not finished with him, should he fight Absalom? If God is finished with him, should he then surrender? And what about the people; could they not discern who is the rightful and anointed leader?
Zadok reminds the King that there is no formula or list or sign whereby God will reveal to a person or a people which man or woman is truly anointed to bear God’s authority and for how long. God alone knows. But, Zadok assures the King that something good will come from David’s struggle to discern God’s will.
“As surely as the sun rises, people’s hearts will be tested. Despite the many claims –and counterclaims – the hidden motives within the hearts of all who are involved will be revealed. This might not seem important in the eyes of men, but in the eyes of God such things are central. The motives of the heart will eventually be revealed.”
King David acknowledged that his heart had been tested many times by the Lord and it was about to be tested again. He asked Zadok to finish the story of Korah’s rebellion so that he might know how Moses responded.
Zadok responded, “He (Moses) fell on his face before God. That is all he did.”
Moses knew that God alone had put him in charge of Israel. There was nothing that needed to be done. Either Korah and his men would seize the kingdom – or God would vindicate Moses.
He left it to God to decide the issue. Korah and two of his friends were swallowed by the earth and the other 250 men were consumed by fire from the Lord.
King David was ecstatic that God would step in with such a decisive defense, but Zadok reminded him that it was not that simple. Moses did not find rest, as the people were not satisfied with God’s answer! The very next day the whole congregation murmured against Moses, blaming him for the deaths of Korah and the others, and they would have all died at the hands of God except for the prayers of Moses!
The question that David is left with, as a ruler, is this: if we cannot know for certain who God’s anointed ruler should be, then how should we, in authority, respond to challenges and rebellions?
The question for those under authority is how should we conduct ourselves whether we believe our ruler is an anointed man or not?
Things to consider:
- In the Bible, anointing occurs for a purpose: for proclaiming, for worship, for sacrifice, for ruling, for healing, and to make something ready for holy use. Typically those anointed were prophets, priests, kings, and people who needed healing.
- There may be a difference between being anointed by God and being established by God. But, if both are from God, does this make a difference in our response?
As Paul wrote to the Romans, “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves” Romans 13:1-2
- I John 2:20 says that all Christians are anointed, chosen for a specific purpose in furthering God’s Kingdom.