Do not SPEAK or WORK against God’s SERVANTS: And David said to Abishai, "Do not destroy him; for who can stretch out his hand against the Lord's anointed, and be guiltless?" David said furthermore, "As the Lord lives, the Lord shall strike him, or his day shall come to die, or he shall go out to battle and perish. The Lord forbid that I should stretch out my hand against the Lord's anointed." (1 Sam. 26:9-11)
A close reading of the above statement by David explains clearly why God had the following testimony about him: “I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will” (Acts 13:22). In fact, God had searched out for such a person to replace King Saul when he had disobeyed God and had totally disregarded God’s plan for Israel, as the following statement signify: "The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be commander over His people..." (1 Sam 13:14). This person was David, who could really discern God’s heart during the crucial moments of his life!
According to the Old Testament rules, it was the king who had the title of the “Lord’s anointed”. This individual was chosen for divine service, was anointed with holy oil to signify his calling for this august position of authority and was authorized to perform his job functions with God’s help (1 Sam. 12:3, 5; 16:6; 24:6; Psalms 2:2; 18:50). What we see here is that David once again refused to stretch out his hand against the Lord’s anointed! He would not assassinate Israel’s divinely appointed king and take over the reign himself even though he was anointed himself (10:1). David knew that ultimately God would remove Saul from office according to His own perfect timing!
This was actually a wonderful opportunity for David to kill his mortal enemy Saul, whose one sole purpose in life was to eliminate any chance that David had to take over the throne of Israel. David and Abishai had caught Saul sleeping within the trench (1 Sam. 26:7). The fact that they were able to get to Saul without waking Abner and the others (who would surely be on guard) can be attributed to God’s supernatural help (see vs. 12b). However, David still had such high respect for the office of the chosen king that he would not allow Abishai to kill Saul as it was God’s responsibility to deal with Saul. Since God has made the choice to put Saul in the office of the king of Israel, God Himself must remove him!
Taking a New Testament example, Apostle Paul had the following harsh words to speak against the person who ordered that he be stricken on the mouth: "God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! For you sit to judge me according to the law, and do you command me to be struck contrary to the law?" (Acts 23:3) However, when he was made aware that he had spoken against the High Priest Ananias, this is what he said: "I did not know, brethren that he was the high priest; for it is written, 'You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people'” (Acts 23:5). Paul was referring to God’s law: "You shall not revile God, nor curse a ruler of your people" (Exo. 22:28), and he showed reverence for the office of the High Priest of Israel.
It is generally seen that personal ambition and taking vengeance in private seem endemic to human nature, even among believers today. Let us understand that learning to relate properly to God-ordained authority is an important part of our spiritual maturity. We are sinful by our human nature and in rebellion against God, so we do not automatically know how to relate properly to authority. In fact, we must be trained by God to not speak or work against God’s anointed servants!
The lesson that we can learn from David and Apostle Paul is that we should never speak against or take up a cause against God-ordained leaders even if they seem to be wrong. God alone has the right to promote and demote His servants. Let us recognize and safeguard the sanctity of God’s anointed servants and leave the judgment and vengeance to God Himself. The biblical truth for us is that vengeance belongs to the Lord (Deut. 32:35), and it is God’s prerogative to do what He will with those who call Him Lord. Let us leave them to God’s judgment and intercede for them as one day we must answer to God for all our words and actions.