Examine Your Heart- Are You Submitted to Do What is Right in God’s Eyes? Will You be Taking the High Road?
I marvel at the story of David and his humbleness to authority. It is a uniquely rare characteristic that he displays regarding how he treats King Saul, yet shows remarkable strength in character. David is well noted for being a man after God’s own heart, but his submission to authority is remarkable and should be a shining example for us all. David was always compelled in taking the high road and remained humble. He never rejoiced at his enemy’s downfall, nor did he once exact revenge when dealing with King Saul.
David had done nothing wrong to King Saul. David served him faithfully. David did as he was instructed and, as a result, became a mighty warrior.
The kingdom loved David, and chanted his praises- much to the dismay of King Saul. The people praised David for his skills at battle. God had blessed David’s obedience mightily, and David carried God’s anointing wherever he went. This annoyed King Saul. He felt intimidated by David’s success and felt like he was being over-looked by the people. He ended up feeling inferior.
It was Saul’s disobedience in not waiting for Samuel and giving an unlawful offering. Saul additionally disobeyed God when he fails to carry out God’s instructions when defeating the Amalekites. This brought judgement upon King Saul and his family. This caused Samuel, under God’s instructions, to search for a new king to anoint. As a result, the anointing left Saul and a demon began to torment him.
David’s popularity with the people caused Saul to fear him (“What else can he wish but the kingdom?”). Saul begins to fear that David will overthrow him, and the people continue to chant David’s praises.
As a result of his fear, Saul’s heart began to harden towards David, and he began to see him as a personal threat. This resentment eventually turned to bitterness, and Saul began to persecute David to the point of trying to murder him. It was never anything that David had done against the king, but Saul’s own disobedience that had caused the results.
David had sensed that he needed to flee after the king had tried to kill him- and missed. He ended up fleeing. Jonathan, David’s closest friend and son to King Saul, didn’t believe David saying that his father would never do such a thing. He was later convinced by his father’s own actions, and was instrumental in helping David escape.
David had numerous opportunities over and over again to take justice into his own hands. Time and time again his enemy was delivered into his hands. However, David would not harm him. Instead, David chose to honor him.
David refers to Saul as “God’s anointed”. He recognized that God chose Saul to lead Israel. David would not come against that authority. Saul was eventually killed thus commencing David’s reign as the second king in Israel. However, he was not killed by David’s own hand. David refused to touch him despite Saul’s continual persecution.
Furthermore, while some may expect David to rejoice at the death of his enemy, David mourns over his death showing a true humbleness of heart. Pride that justice was served and relief at Saul’s death never entered the picture, nor did David announce himself as king- even though he knew that he was God’s chosen.
What Can We Learn From David’s Example?
The story is not just confined to the Old Testament, but is hugely applicable to our daily lives and struggles. How many times have we perhaps felt persecuted at work, church, or by others? Sometimes, we don’t know why someone dislikes us and goes out of their way to cause us harm. It is nothing that we have done, but something inside of them that causes their behavior.
Often, people filled with darkness see the light within us. Some want what we have, and will be drawn to God. Others will be convicted and will avoid you. Yet there are some that will despise you and persecute you. It is the evil residing in them that causes them to dislike the Jesus in you. This causes them to plot your demise. It causes them to persecute you just like King Saul persecuted David.
They may give bogus excuses as to why they don’t like you. Some don’t even know why, they just know that you “rub them the wrong way”. Some spread rumors about you, will lie about you, will take credit for the things that you have done, and try to make you look bad.
Employers aren’t exempt from this either. You may have an employer or manager that seems to just dislike you, and yet you are a good worker.
So What Do You Do?
Not what you want to do, which is to seek opportunities to even the score or to vindicate yourself. If it is a person that is persecuting you, then pray over the situation- but always take the high road. Show them the love of Christ as Jesus commands us to love our enemies as we love ourselves and to bless those that persecute us.
It seems unfair to take the high road– but there is victory at the end of the journey. For those who persecute you and seek your demise you can:
- Pray them out.
- Pray yourself into a new opportunity or seek God’s guidance. It may be God telling you to move on or that you are no longer in the right place.
- Pray that your employer’s eyes are open to their deceit/that the deceit be exposed (nothing that is hidden in darkness will not be exposed by the light).
- Wait for their actions to be revealed.
- Pray for God to protect you.
People that actively seek to destroy others for their their own gain or a general dislike usually become exposed. It may not be immediately, but they will eventually get found out. In the interim, God does not need you to seek justice and sink to their level for it is God who raises up, and God who takes down. All promotion comes from Him- not man.
A better use of your time is to draw nearer to God and pray that He opens your eyes to anything in your life that needs correction. He may be trying to refine you so that He can promote you. Make sure that you remain blameless in your actions despite persecution. Honor the person- do not speak ill of them, criticize them, slander them, or lie about them- but speak well, yet truthfully about them. To initiate in criticism about another person in order to seek justice just serves to defile you. God can’t work through that.
Don’t rejoice at their downfall once it happens- remain humble. It is not God’s desire that any one of His children should stumble, but He does and will correct them. Pray that God humbles and softens their heart. Pray that they repent. Guard your heart, and do not gloat. You should not wish them harm, but the best.
In terms of a boss, manager or overseer persecuting you, never rebuke their authority. Submit to their instructions as long as it doesn’t go against the Bible. Carry out your responsibilities with excellence as we are commanded to do, and you will be found blameless. You don’t have to like them, but you do need to respect their authority. Talking behind their back, refusing to do your work, doing a poor job only serves to make you look bad. The people around you may wonder what you say about them when they aren’t around, and generally people don’t like someone who is very negative.
Be an example of an encourager. Lift others up- strengthen them. Look for opportunities to help others, and you will always shine, and be an example of Christ. These are the people that God is looking to promote. However, let Him promote you.
Our hearts should shine like David’s. We should exhibit compassion and not seek our own justice. We should not rejoice in the downfall of others, nor should we seek position. Position should be rewarded to us by God- not sought out by selfish ambition. If we truly serve God, not man, we will be content in where God placed us for we are there for a reason. When we submit to God, and do as He instructs us, then everything we do is to honor Him. We work with excellence for that is what He commanded us to do because in doing so, we honor Him. In short, it means that over every situation, we are always taking the high road.
When you keep your eyes on God and off of man/self, your heart will become humble like David’s. Your judgement will not be clouded, and bitterness will not reside in your heart. God will turn what was meant for your destruction into a blessing. Yet it cannot be self-enforced.
So always be taking the high road. Watch what God will do next. As long as you honor and obey Him, He will honor you.