Thursday, June 12, 2008


(Julie Davis)

“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Ephesians 5:21

This is not the final word on submission. Consider it as one snapshot among a photo album of perspectives.

I love reading about the life of David--both before and after he was king of Israel. For much of the last half of the book of 1 Samuel, a jealous King Saul is pursuing David trying to kill him before he can be made king of Israel. David has been honorable in his dealings with Saul; he doesn’t “deserve” to be running for his life, hiding in cave after cave as he tries to escape Saul and his men.

In 1 Samuel 24, David and his men are hiding in the back of a cave when Saul enters, unaware that anyone else is there. David’s friends encourage him that this is the moment that “the Lord” has provided for him to strike down his enemy. But after only cutting off a corner of Saul’s robe, David is conscience-stricken. “The LORD forbid that I should . . . lift my hand against him,” David reflected, “for he is the anointed of the LORD.” 1 Samuel 24:5-6

Time passes and again David has a unique opportunity to end his life as a fugitive by killing Saul. But David again resists the ideas of his own men and even more strongly states his position: “Don’t destroy him! . . . The LORD forbid that I should lay a hand on the LORD’s anointed.” 1 Samuel 26:9-11

David had a good reason to kill Saul. David had been just toward Saul and his family, and Saul was trying to kill him! David had a good opportunity to teach Saul a lesson--two good opportunities, actually! David had the power to end the suffering he had been enduring for a long time. And through the prophet Samuel, God had promised David that Saul’s throne would someday be his.

But David also had a heart that was tender toward the Lord and a conscience that was sensitive to God’s guidance. And David knew God had both chosen Saul and extended authority to him as king. Though it caused David additional hardship and pain--and even though Saul’s actions against David were wrong--David submitted to the Spirit of God and the earthly authority put over him, and spared the life of his king.

Perhaps you have a good reason to do things your own way. Maybe you’ve been treated unjustly and the perfect opportunity arrives to turn the tables. How will you use the personal power at your disposal? God, give us hearts that are tender toward your Spirit, and help us make choices in our relationships out of our love for Christ. Share your thoughts with us, here, at the blog.


TBC said...

Paul reaffirms David's view of submission in Romans 13:1-7:

Submission to the Authorities
1Everyone 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. 2Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. 6This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. 7Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

Anonymous said...

Are we to submit to evil authorities as well? What if the leader is ungodly and we know he is not following God's commands? Are we to still submit to his instruction? Could you please expand on this?

Anonymous said...

good point anonymous,i agree with the comment asking those questions. David was God's instrument and came before Christ. Now, christians are filled with the holy spirit and not under the law,..
how can a christian submit to ungodly instruction? it goes against jesus' teachings....

1 john said to "test the spirits" to see if they are from GOd, I do not think we are to submit to ungodly, evil authority... so, if someone asks us to say or do something that we know will hurt someone we are to submit???
blog author, please answer...

KMM said...

In addition to David, both Paul (in Romans 13:1-7) and Peter (in 1 Peter 2:13-17) reaffirm submission to authority in the New Testament, but none of them say that we should submit to instructions contrary to God's commands.

Peter says, "Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king." 1 Peter 2:17

David held fast to this principal even though Saul was trying to kill him, and Paul wrote his letter to the Romans while being persecuted by their government.

And, Christ submitted to the Roman authorities knowing that they were about to crucify Him!

By submitting to those who have authority over us, we learn to submit to God.

Rev. Bruce Goettsche examines Romans 13:1-7 in greater detail here:

Anonymous said...

I was referring to ungodly instruction in the church, not in government.
My question remains: should we submit to ungodly authority just because the leader is in a certain position? It sounds like you are saying that...

KMM said...

Would you please describe what part of the Post or Comments say that?