A Better Future

"God can take a people lost in slavery and make of them a great nation in a land once controlled by giants."

DAVID WAS ANOINTED to replace Saul as king. A shepherd boy whose own family had forgotten him was chosen above all the men in Israel to hold the highest position in the land. Yet, what God had anointed would take many years to fulfill. Many difficult years, David fleeing from Saul’s constant persecution.

Saul had sinned and lost the anointing that David had gained, but still held His legal position as king, and holding a king’s position without the blessing of God to be king became his mental derangement.

This did not alter David’s honor of Saul as king. We see this the strongest in one particular instance. David had hidden in a cave, when sometime later, Saul entered the cave to relieve himself. Having caught him in a moment of weakness, David’s men urged him to kill the king. “This is your opportunity,” they said. But David merely slashed off the hem of Saul’s robe. Still, this seemingly small gesture, not harmful to Saul, chewed at his conscience, so when Saul had left the cave, David followed and called out to Saul and confessed. “I could have killed you,” he said, “but I refuse to ‘put forth mine hand against my lord; for he is the LORD'S anointed (1 Samuel 24:10).” Saul wept in disbelief. “You are the better man,” he said.

David sets an example of how to handle ungodly leadership, and though he lived in caves and was continually on the run, see how God blessed him as forever King of Israel. He placed himself under the authority of Saul’s legal kingship, when the anointing for the position had been given to him, years before, and he honored him as king after his death. David’s submission earned him great reward.

Moses’ burning-bush experience anointed him as leader over Israel in their deliverance from Egypt. Through his brother, Aaron, he performed mighty miracles in the name of the living God, and they were freed and sent into the wilderness. After the crossing of the Red Sea, performed in the power of God at Moses’ raised rod, this people, grown so great, fell to grumbling and complaining about leadership. What was written in the finger of God as His covenant promise became to them a stumblingblock, and in one horrifying moment, the people turned from God to a golden calf. They chose to satisfy their senses rather than walk by faith. We know the end result. Where God blessed them with manna from heaven and water flowing from the rock, they wished for Egypt, and so wandered in the wilderness for forty years. Though they had the promise of Abraham from many generations that they would inherit the Promised Land, this victory would go to their children instead.

Would that we would not waste the promise of God to us, as they did, by complaining, grumbling, and taking offense. They saw the presence of God on the mountain and shrunk back. They saw the miracles of God and discounted them. Their clothes and shoes did not wear out, they had the wealth of Egypt in their grasp, and yet fashioned from their things an idol to worship. There was no power of heaven in the calf.

Are we like David facing Saul or like Israel in the wilderness? Do we choose to submit to God and follow Him, even when the way He sends us seems broken? What is our perspective? We can stare at the work of the enemy, repeat to every listening ear how hard things are, how much destruction has been done to us, or we can see God’s hand at work amongst us. The more impossible the situation, the more we need God to work among us, the more assured we are of Him doing a miracle. The Word says, faith and patience inherit the promises. Faith, trust in Him who is most trustworthy, and patience, that endurance of character which David exhibited waiting for that moment when he would become king. Grumbling and complaining only inherit sorrow. And in the case of the Israelites, their refusal to walk in complete submission to their leadership cost them their future.

Submission is a position of obedience to one placed in a greater authority. Humility is the attitude of the one who submits. We see this in David’s submission to Saul. We see it also in the people of Israel’s refusal to submit to Moses. David submitted; Israel didn’t and chose sin instead. Sin always comes with consequences, and a failure to place ourselves underneath proper authority, whether that’s government, national, local, or the leadership of a husband for his wife, will not see God’s best and will pay a steep price instead. Our problem is, we are usually looking for trouble. Rather than having an attitude of prayer and faith, we expect that one to mess up. Or we know they have and justify our fussing and fuming. But our trust is not in man. Man makes mistakes. I put it this way, Do we really want to spent time picking at commas and periods? Most of what authority does that we dislike is trivial. And where it isn’t, we must stand for truth and lean ourselves on God. Not as silent and capitulating to willful sin in leadership, but as strong in the Lord and in His mighty power to deliver us from it.

We are promised answers to prayer. When we pray in faith for our nation, for our leaders, for our voting system, or for churches, for husbands, God hears our prayers and honors our faith. We can only take our own footsteps. I walk forward on the path God has for me, where I live, where He has placed me. You walk on the path He has given you. But when we are both following Him, both praying for leadership, and both submitted in godliness to it, then our faith, corporately, has God’s presence in the midst of it. But proper submission is the first step, our humble attitude is another, and our dedication to the things of God in the midst of other men’s bad choices, another. God can take a people lost in slavery and make of them a great nation, in a land once controlled by giants. No body of water, nor years of desert, nor foreign conquerors are too much for Him.

But our refusal to place ourselves beneath authority, to submit to the laws of the land, or to submit to God and change them, will hold us back from a better future He has for us. Pressure is a chance to grow. Feeling the need to complain is an opportunity to become stronger emotionally. And that fear breathing down our necks is a moment we can turn into triumph. Because submission is about allowing the one with the authority to do what he has been called to do. We control ourselves (self-control), our responses and reactions, our obedience, and having submitted ourselves to God, we let Him be God. We let Him anoint leadership and commit ourselves to godliness and responsibility.

  • To God (Jas 4:7)
  • A wife to her husband (Eph 5:22; Col 3:18)
  • To authorities (Heb 13:17)
  • The younger to the elder (1Pe 5:5)

“Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.” (Psalm 127:1)

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Suzanne D. Williams, Author