“The Lord forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, or lay my hand on him; for he is the anointed of the Lord.” (1 Samuel 24:6)
Based on this verse alone, many feel it is a sin to even discuss the crisis engulfing the Diocese of Sabah. Others quote this verse to condemn anyone questioning Bishop Albert Vun’s integrity, lack of transparency and poor governance. Do not touch the Lord’s anointed. What does it mean?
1. It means do not harm or kill the Lord’s anointed.
God forbids us from taking another’s life, EVEN when the anointed is coming for yours. Saul tried to kill David many times. 1 Samuel 19-24 tells us how Saul pursued David from town to town, cave to cave. So when Saul ended up sleeping in the same cave where David was hiding in, David’s supporters saw it a divine providence to end this saga. While David spared Saul, he cut off the edge of King Saul’s rob. David held the king in such high regard, he was guilt stricken with the act of cutting off the King’s robe.
That’s when he uttered, “The Lord forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, or lay my hand on him; for he is the anointed of the Lord.” Who said this? David. Not God. While David made a noble decision, we must be careful to understand this is David’s statement, NOT a command from the mouth of God. Let’s be clear.
Do not murder. Do not commit adultery. Love the Lord with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strengths. Go make disciples in Jerusalem, Samaria, Judea and the ends of the world. These are God’s command, direct utterance of God. “Do not touch the Lord’ anointed” while noble, is no a command from God, but a statement from David.
Guess what’s another statement from David? “Put Uriah in the front line where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die. ” Are we going to quote and follow that too?
2. It means be prepared to confront.
In Samuel 24, David had 600 fighters traveling with him. While he would not kill Saul, he and his men were armed and ready to defend themselves if needed. Why would you bother traveling with fighters and weapons if you didn’t intend to use them?
Truth, integrity, accountability and good governance are worth defending. These values are hedges that protect the good work of the church of Jesus Christ. Without these values, our work and very essence of Christianity is open to assails of sins.
He said to Saul, “Why do you listen when men say, ‘David is bent on harming you’? This day you have seen with your own eyes how the Lord delivered you into my hands in the cave. Some urged me to kill you, but I spared you; I said, ‘I will not lay my hand on my lord, because he is the Lord’s anointed.’ See, my father, look at this piece of your robe in my hand! I cut off the corner of your robe but did not kill you. See that there is nothing in my hand to indicate that I am guilty of wrongdoing or rebellion. I have not wronged you, but you are hunting me down to take my life. May the Lord judge between you and me. And may the Lord avenge the wrongs you have done to me, but my hand will not touch you. (1 Samuel 24:9-12)
Though David would not kill Saul, he confronted the sins of Saul. Why are you accusing me wrongly? Why are you hunting me down? I have done no wrong. Let God be my avenger. David pointed out how Saul was wrong. He confronted him.
This is so different from the attitude of many Christians in this crisis who think we cannot say, “Bishop I think you are administering church funds without transparency and good governance. Why are you overstaying your welcome as the Dean of All Saints? Why didn’t you show up at the AGM? Why did you buy an expensive car without Standing Committee’s approval?”
3. It means submitting to the higher authority.
“May the Lord judge between you and me. And may the Lord avenge the wrongs you have done to me, but my hand will not touch you.” (1 Samuel 24:12)
David refused to kill Saul because he believed only an authority higher than the king should be the judge. In the times of 1 Samuel, there was no modern day judiciary system and the king was the highest authority in the land. When you have a dispute with the king, only God can settle it. David submitted to the higher authorities instead of taking matters into his own hands.
Our current crisis is different. The Bishop is not the highest authority in the land. He is under the law of the land and the Archbishop. By bringing issues to the Archbishop, we are appealing for a higher authority to resolve the crisis. So how is bringing issues to the Archbishop an attack on the Lord’s anointed?
Get our thinking straight and our theology right!