Obey the government
In the chapters 21-24 of 1 Samuel, the story of King Saul’s anger and jealousy unfolds as he pursues David to try and kill him and ending in David sparing Saul’s life.
It was interesting for me to find the story of David asking for the holy bread to eat, which is the story Jesus refers to when He and his disciples were being judged by the Jewish religious leaders picking wheat on the Sabbath. Jesus responded by saying:
‘Didn’t you ever read what King David did when he and his friends were hungry? He went into the Temple and they ate the special bread permitted to the priests alone….’
‘..I want you to be merciful more than I want your offerings’
Anyway, back to the problem of King Saul. David had the opportunity to kill King Saul as Saul went to relieve himself in the very cave in which David was hiding with his men. As tempting as this must have been, with his men goading him to do just that, David chose not to and just cut off a piece of the King’s robe and called out to him. David had great respect for Saul, even though Saul was clearly trying to kill him. Although Saul was sinful and in rebellion against God, David still respected the position he held as God’s anointed King.
In Romans, we learn that God put the government and its leaders in power. We may not understand why, but, like David, we are called to respect the positions and roles of those who have been given authority by God. There is of course the exception, which is if the authorities require us to break God’s law, but otherwise we are called to obey them. I can’t say I like it much, but it’s clear in scripture:
‘Obey the government, for God is the one who has put it there. There is no government anywhere that God has not placed in power. So those who refuse to obey the laws of the land are refusing to obey God, and punishment will follow’ (Romans 13; 1-2)
I am struggling in my job at the decisions being made by our current government and life in the public sector as a direct result is not easy, but I will seek God’s help in following his teaching; I may need a lot of help!