Summary: This sermon uses David’s experience with King Saul to teach biblical attitudes toward authority that God places over our lives. The limitations of scope in such authority and the basis of our respect for authority are discussed.
Don’t Tell Me What to Do!
Submission to Human Authority I
Follow with me as we read I Samuel 24.
This incident occurred during a very difficult time in David’s life. King Saul had listed him as #1 in the “Ten Most Wanted” fugitives in Israel. David had been running for his life.
The problem began after David had valiantly fought for Israel and killed Goliath. That victory made David a national hero. But it also stirred hatred and jealousy in the heart of Saul. Saul saw the anointing of God on David’s life. He saw the favor God had given David with the people. And Saul saw David as a threat to his position as king. Therefore he set out to kill David.
When David was at the palace Saul threw a spear at him and almost killed him. David got out of there by the skin of his teeth. (1) Saul was obsessed with killing David and had unjustly chased him all over the country.
In this chapter God providentially places King Saul at the mercy of David. Saul and his 3000 soldiers arrived at a cave in En Gedi. Not knowing that David and his men were hiding in the back of the cave, King Saul went into the cave to use the bathroom. He laid his coat aside and at that moment David could have easily killed Saul and seized the kingdom.
Why didn’t he do it? David didn’t kill Saul because David had a revelation of authority.
He understood some things about authority that protected him from making a terrible mistake. Under the prodding of his soldiers David cut off the corner of Saul’s coat.
Even that small violation of Saul brought a great conviction in David’s heart. He knew that even that act represented disrespect toward the king’s throne. And we see in this passage David repenting of that expression of rebellion.
If ever there was a person who had a right to oppose the authority over him it was David.
David had been totally loyal to Saul. He had sang for him, ministered to him, fought for him, even risked his life for him. What a horrible injustice/mistreatment it had been for Saul to try to kill David. Saul had used his position of authority to make David’s life miserable. God had already rejected Saul as king of Israel. But the wheels of God’s justice grind slowly and Saul still held that office.
Have you ever been under an authority like King Saul—perhaps a boss who used his authority for personal advantage and abused those under him. That kind of situation can severely test our hearts.
David was going through some hard testings—some serious training on the subject of authority. And because David passed the test and learned the lessons of submission to authority-God could later trust him with great authority.
I want to share with you this morning and perhaps next week: Seven Truths about Human Authority. I use the term “Human Authority” to refer to authority God has delegated to individuals over our lives. It is very easy for people to say, “I’m submitted to God; I obey God.” It’s easy to claim a nebulous, abstract, mystical submission to God. But the reality of our submission to God is tested and expressed in our attitude toward human authority.
This is not something that comes easy for any of us. The first most toddlers learn to say is “no.” Later we overhear them say to an older brother or sister “You’re not my boss.”
The in the teen years they say things like “I can’t wait until I get grown, so I can do what I want to do.” Boy, are you in for a surprise!
Whether we boldly and defiantly say it or in a subtle, manipulative way—there is something in all of us that says “Don’t Tell Me What to Do!” That voice must be answered with the word of God.
Seven Truths about Human Authority: I’m glad I can share this with you this morning during a time when to my knowledge no one is opposing my authority or the leadership of the church. This is simply something we all deal with in a variety of situations in our lives.
And our success in life depends upon a solid understanding of how to relate to authority.
I. The Appointment of Human Authority over our lives Comes from God!
Look with me at Romans 13:1-5.
In verse 1 we are given a statement that is a little hard to receive—“…For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God….”
Is that just talking about Christian Presidents and godly Senators? No. Even offices held by ungodly people are appointed by God. God raised up Pharaoh for His purposes. Nebuchadnezzar had his throne because God gave it to him. “For promotion comes neither from the east nor west nor south –Ps 75:7 But God is judge; he puts down one and sets up another.” It is God who places people in positions of authority. They may think they got themselves there, but God rules in the heavens and does whatever He pleases.