Then David went out of the cave and called out to Saul, “My lord the king!” When Saul looked behind him, David bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground. (1 Samuel 24:8)
There is a story of a man in the Bible who one day would be king, who had every reason not just to disrespect the one who was king, but to destroy him and bring his kingdom to an end. But the fact that he did not and the reasons that he did serve as a great reminder over 2500 years later why respect is so important and what it looks like. This story teaches us a tremendous lesson that we need to not only learn, but desperately need to pass on to the next generation, and that lesson is to abide by the principle of authority.
David lived in a kingdom. He was under kingdom authority. Saul, as the king, was the embodiment of that principle of authority. That is so important to grasp. You don’t live your life by popularity - that is what everybody else thinks is right. You don’t live your life by practice - by what everybody else is doing. You live your life by principle - by a conviction of what is right.
David perfected the principle of authority. Saul was still the king. David was still under his authority. What set David apart from his men was he understood that what is right is not what we think is right at the moment or how others feel is right at the moment, but what God says is right at the moment.
One of the marks of maturity is the willingness to abide by the principle of authority even though you may not always agree with how that authority acts. It doesn’t mean that we support wickedness. It doesn’t mean that we approve of evil any more than David approved of what Saul was doing, but it does mean that we respect all authority unless that authority asks us to do something that is immoral, unethical or unbiblical. So let’s take David’s story to heart and follow his example as we learn to respect the principle of authority, even when it isn’t easy.
Dear Father, anyone in authority has been placed in their position by you. Therefore, I want to be respectful of whatever authority you have placed over me. Help me to be more like David and to abide by the principle of authority in my own life so that I might honor you. In Jesus’ name, amen.