David experienced firsthand how it was to serve and live under a godless authority and he became a remarkable teacher for us, in understanding our function in the context of both godless and godly authorities. Ungodly authority often times will suddenly reveal itself pretty quick. I Sam 18:6 tells us that after David’s victory over slaying the giant that the women led a precession through the city streets celebrating the great victory that David had won. They were singing and praising David for slaying more men than Saul. From that day on, Saul’s hatred only grew for David. Saul was given over mightily, to an evil spirit that pursued David’s death, from that point on. David had been loyal to Saul and never touched a hair on Saul’s head, yet because of Saul’s hatred and jealousy towards him, Saul pursued to kill his most loyal subject.
How does a man like Saul go from being a great King that led God’s people with promise, to reaching the point where he sought greatness a part from what God had already given him. His self-indulgence of his own power and fame led him to have a perverted image of himself. Once instead of waiting on God to give His blessings through God’s priest, Saul took it upon himself the role of High Priest apart from God’s permission; and that was a huge mistake. A godly leader is not about being the final authority, but being able to submit to a higher authority.
The same principle applies in understanding servitude. You must first learn to serve. There is a common factor in those two great abilities and it is humility. Without it, we are all empty Air Socks. We may look pretty on the outside, but we are hollow and empty inside, just blowing in the wind. The Centurion solider in the New Testament showed the kind of principle of authority that honors God. Upon reaching Jesus, he simply said to him, that Jesus only need to speak it and it would happen. He said “I too am a man under authority, I say to one go and he goes”….that solider understood his position. He understood the principle and power of authority.
Saul had to have his ego stroked and fed on a daily basis by those that were under him. He had even set up a monument to himself, as did David’s son Absalom. Godless leaders are driven by their ego. They do not understand the principle of mutual authority or community. They are driven by jealousy, which almost always turns to hatred. They seek praise and power for themselves and choose not share it with others.
Any leader that wants to really be successful will do it on the shoulders of other people who will sharpen them and challenge them to be better. The ungodly leader will spend all their resources to secure their position than to build those that are around up. They are threatened by those that get equal praise and jealousy takes them over and in the end, they will lose the respect from others that they tried so hard to hold on to. God allowed David through Saul’s persecution to learn the importance of genuine community and how by building up those that are around him makes for a better life for everyone.
What is your circumstance this moment? Are you struggling with some type of authority right now? The Bible says that obedience is better than sacrifice. Do not allow your moments to cause you to be a victim but allow them to cause you to reach for victory over every circumstance. Through humility and love for others, you too can be the proper leader that your world may be more in need of!