With less than two seconds left on the clock, the score of the basketball game was 59 (us) to 60 (them). Our point guard, “Grace,” passed the ball to “Liz” who tossed the ball through the hoop just as the buzzer rang. Our team was victorious! As you can imagine, “Liz” basked in the glory of that game for quite some time. The team heralded her a hero, and the high school praised her for the perfect shot.
Part of me wonders if David, after killing Goliath, felt a little bit like “Liz.” While the soldiers and King Saul cowered in their tents, David defeated the enemy. The nation considered him a hero, and women sang, “Saul has slain his thousands, but David his tens of thousands” (I Samuel 18:7).
Not surprisingly, King Saul envied David for the honor that he received after killing only one man. Saul’s jealousy grew until he sought to kill David by throwing a javelin at him (I Samuel 18:10-11) and sending him to the front lines of battle (I Samuel 18:13). Although David survived these attacks, he was eventually forced to hide in caves so that Saul could not harm him.
One day, Saul rested in the very cave where David hid. David crept behind Saul and raised his knife; if David killed Saul, he could leave his hiding place and become the anointed king of Israel. David’s companions urged him to kill Saul, but the future king replied, “The Lord forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, or lay my hand on him; for he is the anointed of the Lord.” Instead, David only cut a small piece from Saul’s robe.
As we have said many times during this series, humility is freedom from a false view of self. Although David had been anointed as the next king of Israel, he was humble enough to realize that he was not king yet. He knew that in his current position as a subject of King Saul, he could not harm the Lord’s anointed ruler. David’s proper view of self gave him a proper view of authority.
Although God does not anoint rulers in the United States, we are under the authority of our local, state, and national government (Romans 13:1-2). Furthermore, most of us answer to teachers at school or bosses at work. If we have an accurate view of self, we must realize that we are not in charge.
Thus our fourth task in the pursuit of humility is to respect and submit to those whom God has placed in authority.
Let me know in the comments:
- How do you respond when you receive praise?
- Who is your authority? What is your attitude towards that authority?