The Lord’s Anointed

Then Samuel took a flask of olive oil and poured it over Saul’s head. He kissed Saul and said, “I am doing this because the Lord has appointed you to be the ruler over Israel, his special possession.”
1 Samuel 10:1

Whilst away this week in the Peak District we visited Thor’s cave, which is a natural cave and has been used by people over many thousands of years. It was a large cave which you could access quite easily, but as you went further into the cave there were hidden passages and it quickly became very dark.

Thor’s Cave

Being in the cave reminded me of the story in the bible of David hiding in the cave with his men as a fugitive from King Saul who wanted to kill him. Saul came into the cave not realising that David was in there. He passed so close to David that he was unknowingly completely at his mercy but David restrained his hand from killing “God’s Anointed One”. He did however cut the edge of Saul’s robe but even felt guilty for doing that.

Now’s your opportunity!” David’s men whispered to him. “Today the Lord is telling you, ‘I will certainly put your enemy into your power, to do with as you wish.’” So David crept forward and cut off a piece of the hem of Saul’s robe. But then David’s conscience began bothering him because he had cut Saul’s robe. He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do this to my lord the king. I shouldn’t attack the Lord’s anointed one, for the Lord himself has chosen him.”
1 Samuel 24:4-6

Saul was certainly not behaving like God’s anointed one and God had already rejected him from being King. Samuel had already anointed David who God had chosen to replace him but Saul was still at this time King. Here we have two men both anointed by God. One whose time was over but was still King and the other who had not yet become King.

Now the Lord said to Samuel, “You have mourned long enough for Saul. I have rejected him as king of Israel, so fill your flask with olive oil and go to Bethlehem. Find a man named Jesse who lives there, for I have selected one of his sons to be my king.” 1 Samuel 16:1

David could have taken Saul’s life in the cave and probably would have felt justified for doing so, but he was not prepared to usurp his position and take matters into his own hand. David was prepared to wait for God to position him and fulfil His plan for his life. Self-Promotion was within David’s grasp. It would have fulfilled the prophecy over his life. He had been anointed to be King. The temptation was there to take advantage of Saul but David did not fall into the trap. He waited for God’s promotion.

Notice how David’s men even encouraged him to kill Saul saying that it was God’s will that God had put him in David’s power that day to do as he wished. A word that sounded good and in the circumstances could have persuaded David but this was not a word from God. It was not God’s intention that David killed Saul. It is so important that we test and discern words, even if they are from those closest to us who may have our best interests at heart, so that we do not act on anything contrary to God’s will and purposes.

There are people anointed by God for certain times and seasons. There are people who have received prophecies over their lives or clear direction from God of what the Lord is calling them to do. They have visions of ministries which God has given them. David’s reaction in the cave is a great lesson to us to wait for God’s timing to bring about His plans for our lives and not seek to take the inheritance too early or in the wrong way. God will bring about opportunities and open doors or close others in His timing. We submit to Him and actively seek His will. Let us beware and avoid the trap of self-promotion or being encouraged by others to move too quickly before God’s appointed time.

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.” James 4:10

David didn’t just have one opportunity to kill Saul, he also had another one when he snuck into Saul’s camp past his bodyguards. Even though, David was again encouraged by his companion to kill Saul, he still refused.

No!” David said. “Don’t kill him. For who can remain innocent after attacking the Lord’s anointed one? Surely the Lord will strike Saul down someday, or he will die of old age or in battle. The Lord forbid that I should kill the one he has anointed! But take his spear and that jug of water beside his head, and then let’s get out of here!” 1 Samuel 26:9-11

Here is your spear, O king,” David replied. “Let one of your young men come over and get it. The Lord gives his own reward for doing good and for being loyal, and I refused to kill you even when the Lord placed you in my power, for you are the Lord’s anointed one. Now may the Lord value my life, even as I have valued yours today. May he rescue me from all my troubles.” 1 Samuel 26:22-24

David was willing to trust God and allow the Lord to deal with Saul in God’s way and in God’s timing. I believe there is a lesson and encouragement in this bible story for somebody today. May God bless you richly.

Psalm 55 – Betrayed by Friends? Trust in God

If you have never read Psalm 55 then I recommend a read. It is an amazing Psalm. David just pours out the hurt, pain & anger he feels over being betrayed. You can really feel the pain behind the words. It is raw and real. He puts his broken heart out there and the emotion is tangible.

Why this Psalm is enlightening is that it’s not just any betrayal though.. it was the betrayal of a very close friend and equal. Someone David trusted completely who went to the temple with him. They worshipped together. Spiritual companions. They were of the same heart & mind as David or so he thought. David found out the truth though. His friend was not really his friend. He was out to destroy him. It cut him deeply to be betrayed by someone he trusted completely. As David said, if it was an enemy he could have coped with it. You know your enemies are against you but you expect your friends to have your back.

Imagine as a Christian being betrayed by your closest confidant at church. You have been going to church together for years, perhaps you came to faith together, walked the journey together, you think you know them, trust them, you have shared your heart with them and then you find out it was all a pretence. They weren’t your friend at all, they didn’t have your best interests at heart, they were actually working against you all the time. The shock, the pain, hurt, anger…you would feel it just as David felt it.

I believe Holy Spirit is warning us that we are going to see more of such betrayal being revealed in the body of Christ. We need to prepare our hearts. You may have already experienced it. Jesus warned believers about it in the last days that brothers & sisters etc. will betray each other, How will we deal with it if it happens to us and not compromise our faith. For our own sakes we can’t allow such betrayals to crush us and destroy trust of others and impact future Godly relationships. We can’t give into revenge or thoughts of revenge. David certainly wanted God to take vengeance. You read it in this Psalm. He gives voice to those thoughts.

The pain and hurt of such betrayal needs to be acknowledged and poured out to God. It will fester otherwise. It is important to guard our hearts so that bitterness and resentment do not take root and cause us and others even more trouble. Choosing to forgive others as Jesus forgives us is the test. God can help us to forgive through the power of the Holy Spirit working in us to do this. Without the Holy Spirit, I think it is impossible as our flesh will want to lash out and cause hurt as we have been hurt. We can trust God though to bring healing to the wounds and for justice and truth to be outworked. He is our shield and protector.

We can’t allow these painful experiences to drive us away from fellowship with other Christians. David wanted to just run away – verse 6 “oh that I had wings like a dove, I would fly away and be at rest.” and these things will want to make us run away too…run from everything even those people that truly love us and want the best for us. Betrayal can be a doorway for shame especially if someone has betrayed things about us to others that will cause people to judge us or treat us differently. Running away is not the answer. We won’t find any rest by drawing away and isolating ourselves. There will be a true godly friend who can draw alongside you at these difficult times. Help is there. Don’t reject those who want to help and love you at these times out of fear of the same thing happening. Learning to trust again.

There is something else I believe in this Psalm though that the Holy Spirit also reveals. In the midst of David’s brokenness & outpouring I read in verses 20-21 a prophetic word inspired by the Holy Spirit about the anti-christ and how he will operate and it’s a similar story.

“He has put forth his hands against those who were at peace with him; He has broken his covenant. The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, But war was in his heart; His words were softer than oil, Yet they were drawn swords”.

Anti-Christ will pretend to be a close friend & ally of Israel who will deceive Israel into making a peace treaty which will prove to be a deception. He will break that treaty mid way through and betray them. This is prophesied in other parts of scripture about a seven year peace treaty. Israel will feel utterly betrayed. Anti Christ is a flatterer and a deceiver. War and not peace is his true intention. The betrayal of David by a close friend shows us I think how anti christ will operate. Is Anti Christ a fellow worshipper or spiritual person? I don’t know but it provokes me to think about the possibility.

Why have I also flagged these verses. To show that God can still use us in such situations despite our brokenness and work through us for His glory. He can use you still. Don’t give up and allow the pain of betrayal to consume you. Instead rise up, believe in the gifts He has deposited within you and the ministry He has called you to. You are a gift to the body of Christ. Don’t let the enemy rob you of it and destroy your future.

There is an answer and hope in v 22 “Cast your burden on the Lord and He will sustain you. He shall never permit the righteous to be moved”. This promise to sustain you also means to nourish, bear, hold up, protect, support and defend you. God will do all this for you – give him the burden of betrayal and trust in His unfailing love.

Blessings to you in Jesus name.