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Sunday, March 12, 2017

Honor as Love

David slays Goliath and becomes famous among all the Israelites.  He shows himself to be a mighty warrior just like Saul’s son, Jonathan.

After David had finished talking with Saul, he met Jonathan, the king's son. There was an immediate bond between them, for Jonathan loved David.  And Jonathan made a solemn pact with David, because he loved him as he loved himself. (1 Samuel 18:1, 3 NLT)

It makes sense that these two boys, becoming young men of battle, would become best friends.  They both understand the life of an Israelite under Philistine oppression.  They both want to remove that oppressive force.  They both did something about it already.  It would make it easy for them to live out one of the greatest commands the LORD has given us. 

Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD. (Leviticus 19:18 NIV)

My best friend growing up was a girl.  We did everything together.  We played football, baseball, basketball, kick ball in backyard and street pick-up games together.  We rode bikes, rode skateboards, played in an air-garage band, built forts, camped out in our back yard together.  We played board games, built plastic connector buildings, raced hot wheels, and played with dolls together.

For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." (Galatians 5:14 NLT)

Tracey (that was her name – spelled differently from my wife) and I were best friends.  We loved each other.  Many times throughout the years were were accused of being too butch (since she was a tom-boy) or too feminine (since I played dolls with the girls).  More than once people would say that “Pete and Tracey were sitting in a tree…”, but it wasn’t true.  We had a lot of life in common.  We went through a lot together.  We were best friends.  We loved each other as much as we loved ourselves.  The other accusations were false implications from other people who didn’t understand.

From that day on Saul kept David with him and wouldn't let him return home. Whatever Saul asked David to do, David did it successfully. So Saul made him a commander over the men of war, an appointment that was welcomed by the people and Saul's officers alike. (1 Samuel 18:2, 5 NLT)

David moved from the household of Jesse, his father, to the household of Saul, the king.  He would get to grow up through his teenage and young-adult years in the household of Saul, with his best friend, Jonathan.  All the while, he would become a mighty warrior of God.  Not only that, he would be living in the household of the reigning king, knowing he has been appointed by the LORD as king.  David finds himself in a particularly difficult position.  Does he overthrow the king and take his rightful position as the next king of Israel?

For the Lord's sake, respect all human authority--whether the king as head of state, or the officials he has appointed. For the king has sent them to punish those who do wrong and to honor those who do right. (1 Peter 2:13-14 NLT)

David doesn’t take the route of violent overthrow.  Instead, he respects the king.  In fact, he shows honor to the king.  He loves all his neighbors as himself, not just the ones he likes.  He shows his love for this neighbor by honoring the king.

How about you?  Do you love your neighbor as yourself?  Do you see your leaders as your neighbors?  Do you love them as much as yourself?  Do you honor your “kings”?