My husband's article on "The Man of Piety" reminds me of my studies this past week regarding such a man that fits the bill. He was none other than David, the great O.T. king who was also used to provide many of the Psalms that we enjoy from the Bible. As I looked into the things that could be gleaned from the character of such an individual, someone pointed out an interesting concept in a manner that hadn't registered on me before. David loved and honored his king, Saul. We know from reading Scripture that Saul turned out to be any thing but David's friend, and sought his very life. However, David gave him nothing but respect and honor in spite of these ill treatments. Thus, it has been said that as believers, we must learn to "love the Sauls in our lives."
Surely each of us have a "Saul" in some form that touches our life. It may be a governing official, it could be a church leader, or it may be a neighbor or family member. The simple truth is that we must love all, even those that seem so difficult to love. The only possible way that this can be accomplished is through the love given us from above.
Often believers are quick to give their opinion of a brother or sister, or a preacher of the Gospel that operates in methods which vary from their own. However, one must be careful to remember the instruction to "touch not His anointed and do His prophets no harm." (ref. Psalm 105:15) It's a serious thing to bring accusations and speak against those whom God has in His service. This can actually be any one who is a believer in Christ. If we are in Him, we are His anointed.
A "Saul" in our life would be someone who is actually in the wrong. However, love is our response. We must love them enough to submit them to the Father and pray for His will to be done in their lives and ours. When we take matters into our own hands, we dishonor the Master of our hearts.
David knew this all too well. Vengeance belongs to the Lord. When we love with His love, we have to realize that there's a soul at stake. Through His love shed abroad in our hearts by His Spirit, we can love the "Saul" in our path.
Dependent on Him,
Scripture text: I Samuel 26
"The Man of Piety"
God grant that in America true religion and civil liberty may be inseparable and that the unjust attempts to destroy the one, may in
the issue tend to the support and establishment of both." ~ John Witherspoon. May 17, 1776.
Why is it do you suppose many Americans are expressing their contempt for leadership in our government? Most will tell you they just don't trust anyone in Washington, this sentiment crosses party lines and rest in the general population. We see the corruption and carelessness, the seemly self interest and general selfishness of politicians, and wonder if anyone will sacrifice their welfare for the good of the country!
I suppose a better question would be, why would be expect anything different? John Witherspoon signed the Declaration of Independence, served on 120 Congressional Committees and was a primary proponent of the separation of powers, insisting checks be placed on the power of government.
He was President of Princeton where he taught 9 of the 55 writers of the U.S.
Constitution, including James Madison. His other Princeton students included a U.S. Vice-President, 3 Supreme Court Justices, 10 Cabinet Members, 13 Governors, 21 Senators and 39 Congressmen and 114 ministers.
After his wife died in 1789, he headed up a committee in the New Jersey legislature to
abolish slavery. John Adams described John Witherspoon as "A true son of
liberty...but first, he was a son of the Cross."
Needless to say, his thoughts would reflect the true sense in which our nation was born. The heart of Declaration of Independence and the true nature of understanding embodied within the Constitution would lie within his scope. Unlike today, we find it is the man of Piety, the man who devotes himself to the God of the Bible, that is to be chosen to leadership in our nation. It is only there we will find principled men and women with uncorrupted manners, making useful citizens and government servants.
Today we find our military being unfriendly to Christian ethics, yet it is there according to Witherspoon, we find the invincible soldier. Here I am reminded of General Jackson during the Civil War, when asked how he could stand on the battle field with such confidence? He replied something like, (my faith teaches me I am as safe on the battle field as at home in bed. God has affixed the day of my death, I do not concern myself with such matters. If all men had equally such faith, all men would be equally brave.)
Witherspoon understood that true religion (that being Christianity in his mind) and civil liberty must be inseparable, for you cannot sustain the liberty without true religion. This is difficult for us to understand now, we have been taught so much about the need of separation of Church and State, the concept of inseparable union of the two seems foreign to our ears. Yet, it is the concept resting upon our founding documents and American ideas of freedom.
May the God of Grace be with you all,