Focal passage: 1 Samuel 24:3-12
We live in a society that is rapidly changing. Unfortunately, respect is a value that seems to be eroding at an ever-increasing rate.
As we listen to the nightly news, we see disrespect shown toward those in authority, whether they are politicians, police officers, teachers, pastors or parents.
Such disrespect toward authority stands in total contrast with the respect David showed to those in authority over him. In 1 Samuel 24:3-12, the Bible describes an encounter in which David had the opportunity to take the life of King Saul, a man who was actively seeking to take David’s life.
As David hid in the dark recesses of a cave high in the cliffs of the Judean desert, he made a decision to respect authority. David did not spare Saul’s life simply because he “chickened out” in the moment, but respect was a godly virtue by which David lived (1 Samuel 26).
David respected authority because he respected God and realized that God had placed certain persons in authority. Thus, he referred to the king as “the Lord’s anointed” (1 Samuel 26:6, 9-10, 12).
Just as David respected those in authority over him, believers today are called to respect individuals in authority (Romans 13:1-7). We are not only to respect the respectable, but even those who we do not deem worthy of respect.
Surely David had little personal respect for a man like Saul who sought to kill him and who perpetually lied to him. Nevertheless, David respected Saul’s office.
Because David could live under authority, God eventually gave him authority and made David king over all of Israel. God has called all Christians to respect His authority and the authority of parents, teachers, pastors, bosses and government leaders.
God will not bless us and put us in authority over others until we have submitted to the authority under which He has placed us (Matthew 25:23).