King David was a mighty warrior, a man who exercised kingdom authority. As a boy, David killed Goliath. Later, as king, he went from victory to victory.
But the greatest victory David ever won was victory over himself. One day in a cave, he learned the lesson I want you to learn: To have kingdom authority, you must remain under authority.
It’s not God’s plan for you to be defeated by the world, the flesh, or the devil. Jesus came to give you authority over these. But we will never be over what God plans to put under us until we are willing to get under those things God has put over us.
David lived this out when King Saul was unfairly persecuting him. In First Samuel 24, David is hiding from Saul. Though he is an unworthy king, nevertheless, Saul is God’s anointed. When Saul learns that God is going to replace him and put David on the throne, in jealous rage Saul takes 3,000 hand-picked men to hunt David down.
One day, as David hides in a cave, Saul enters. This is David’s golden opportunity. Rather than kill him, David quietly cuts the hem off Saul’s robe. Once Saul is a safe distance away, David cries out, “Saul, see what I’m holding? See what I could have done to you?”
Refusing to take vengeance, David won a victory that day—not over Saul, but over himself. (See Proverbs 16:32.) The Bible teaches self-surrender: “Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21).
Jesus said that in the last days, “because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12). Children are rebelling against their parents like never before. In churches, a spirit of rebellion prevails—arrogant theologs revise the Bible to make it politically correct. All this is Satan at work.
What should we do when facing ungodly authority? I want to write three things upon your heart.
We Must Recognize Kingdom Authority
Romans 13:1-5 begins: “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.”
Follow David’s example when he said, “I will be subject to those authorities God put over me.”
But what if your parents or husband, President or mayor are unworthy? What then? Don’t have a spirit of rebellion. (See 1 Samuel 15:23.) David had the spirit of submission. You’re never more like the devil than when you’re a rebel; you’re never more like Jesus than when you submit.
We don’t approve what some authorities do any more than David approved what Saul did, but David understood the principle of being under authority. He learned to rule with great power and authority.
2. We Must Respect Kingdom Authority
David spoke respectfully, not giving in to Saul’s wickedness, but trusting God for deliverance. That doesn’t mean you give in to wickedness or approve error, any more than David approved what Saul did. But David’s submission brought Saul’s kingdom crashing down and made David the king he was.
It’s hard to show respect when parents, teachers, government officials don’t deserve respect. Treat them respectfully anyway, because if you don’t understand and practice kingdom authority, you’ll never understand spiritual authority.
Teach your children to behave respectfully to authorities. When God sees you don’t have the spirit of rebellion, He will infuse you with power and give you kingdom authority.
We Must Rest in Kingdom Authority
We don’t rest in governments or the Sauls who lead them; we rest in the Lord. David was ahead of his time in not seeking vengeance. (See Romans 12:19-21.)
That doesn’t mean you blindly obey ungodly government. If you think I believe in that, you’re wrong. Exercise submission, but don’t acquiesce. God forbid our pulpits be silent today when wickedness prevails in so many places!
But like David, you must have a spirit of humility and surrender. His greatest victory wasn’t killing Goliath, but that day in the cave when he said, “I’m going to get under those God has put over me so I can be over those things God has put under me.”
When we do the same, God can trust us to bring wicked kingdoms crashing down.
The church is not the master of the state nor the servant of the state. We’re the conscience of the state to preach God’s truth. That’s how to behave in a cave.
You will never win a victory over self or over anything else until you yield to Jesus Christ. First submit to the King of kings, the Lord of lords, Jesus Himself. And when you give your heart to Jesus, He will cleanse you and forgive you of every sin.