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March 31 Today’s Reading: — 1 Samuel 25-27
“The Lord’s Anointed”
1 Samuel 26:11
David was chosen and anointed of God to be king over Israel. But Saul, according to God’s providence, was still upon the throne. Saul was a wicked man. God had rejected him. But God had not yet taken him off the throne. And David was not about to attempt an overthrow of God’s providence. Painful as it may have been to endure Saul’s evil deeds, David was content for Saul to reign as long as God would have him reign. He said, “The Lord forbid that I should stretch forth mine hand against the Lord’s anointed.”
It seems obvious to me that God the Holy Spirit has given us this portion of Holy Scripture to teach us how we are to treat “the Lord’s anointed.” No less than four times in 1 Samuel 26 David referred to Saul, that wicked man, as “the Lord’s anointed,” giving that as the reason he would do him no harm.
How does this apply to God’s church today? We have no king, but Christ. Yet, Christ our King, our risen Lord, has given his church pastors according to his own heart to feed his people with knowledge and understanding. These men are God’s anointed messengers to his church. They are the angels of the churches.
But few men today have David’s wisdom in their treatment of God’s servant. Today, it is common for men to take it upon themselves to seat and unseat men in the kingdom of God. I refer specifically to the pastoral office. One of the most lamentable evils of our day is the utter disdain and contempt with which most people treat faithful gospel preachers. Such disdain and contempt we expect from the world. But I think the angels must blush when they see it in the church. True pastors are not hirelings to be seated and unseated by men. Those who treat God’s ambassadors as hired hands, do so at their own peril. God will not allow any man to wrong his servants with impunity. He will reprove kings for their sakes. He says, “Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm” (1 Chronicles 16:21-22).
When a congregation seeks a pastor, it should be by the direction of the Holy Spirit. When a church calls a man to be its pastor, that congregation has voluntarily placed itself under the pastoral rule of that man (Hebrews 13:7, 17). He is God’s ambassador, God’s spokesman, and God’s representative to that congregation. As such, he is to be treated with respect, obedience, and love.
He is to be esteemed very highly in love for his works sake (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13). He deserves such treatment, if for no other reason, because of the God he represents and the gospel he preaches.
See that you treat God’s servants as the servants of the most high God. The peace of the church depends upon it. — “And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves. Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men” (1 Thessalonians 5:12-14).