Wrong is Wrong

“when someone told me, ‘Saul is dead,’ and thought he was bringing good news, I seized him and put him to death in Ziklag. That was the reward I gave him for his news! How much more — when wicked men have killed an innocent man in his own house and on his own bed — should I not now demand his blood from your hand and rid the earth of you!”” (2 Samuel 4:10–11, NIV)

King David was a man of deep passions — and these (in part) make him one of the Bible’s most compelling characters. The Psalms record his joy, his anguish… and even his desperate panting after God… and for an ancient character, he is quite transparent to us. But his contemporaries could see into his heart, too — and we know this because he was able to draw people to him. What fueled those passions? What drove his success?

It is no secret that David was flawed, though. He committed several high-profile sins — sins which God chose to keep as eternal testimony in his word — and note this well: David received just and public punishments for these sins from God… and who else could punish him? He was the king!

But it was the transparency of his life that gave it much of its charm — and although David looks like a fictional character who had no idea that millions of readers are watching his every step, he was very real. The Divine Author of the Bible revealed David just as he was: a flawed and tender man… but a teachable man… the man who would be king.

In David’s salad days, his primary conflict was with King Saul — and the elastic between these two men often stretched to the breaking point! But David’s attitude towards Saul as the king showed his heart on many occasions. He would not harm God’s anointed — no matter how prompted… no matter what!

But what gave the edge to his respect? David was also the Lord’s anointed! … and Saul was a lame-duck king! Frankly, I would not have blamed David if he killed the king — and especially while Saul was spiraling downward. According to my pragmatic sensibilities, Saul’s life — and the good of the nation — cried out for that act. But God had something to teach us here… and that something could only be taught at the hand of the shepherd. David — the only man justified in killing the king — gave Saul honor instead.

You see, David saw the connection between earthly kings and the King of Kings — and he knew that the name of God would be dishonored by dishonoring any king… and this still true as Saul walked further away from God.

It was David personally who taught us to wait on the Lord in such instances… because this is not something committees can decide. Only the heart can keep God exalted… and earthly kings symbolize God. As such — and whether good or bad — they should be honored by position… and David’s treatment of those who showed disrespect to Saul’s family speaks to this.

Certain men thought that they were bringing glad tidings to David: Ishbosheth, Saul’s son … and David’s enemy… was dead. Now, while another man might have rejoiced at this news, David killed these men! But he killed them more for their attitude than for their actions. Ishbosheth was the son of a king… kingship points to God. How dare they kill him!

Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king. (1 Pet. 2:17, NASB95)


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