But the king’s officials were unwilling to raise a hand to strike the priests of the LORD. – 1 Samuel 22:17b
The priests of Nob had given David aid and comfort by supplying him with holy bread and the sword of Goliath. Saul had been hunting David to kill him because of his jealousy over David’s accomplishments, the Spirit of God being upon him, and the Spirit of God leaving Saul. When Saul learned that the priests of Nob had aided David, he ordered them to be executed for treason. His soldiers refused to follow that command because these were the priests of God. They were holy men. Thus, Saul turned to Doeg, an Edomite, who followed Saul’s order and slew the priests and the entire town of Nob.
Saul had a real dislike for Godly men. He hated David because of his own sin and rebellion against God and because David had been appointed and anointed by God as the next king of Israel. Saul felt threatened by David’s very existence although David never meant to harm him or would harm him at any cost. Just as we would learn in a later chapter of 1 Samuel, David spared Saul twice when God had delivered him into his hands. David didn’t kill Saul because despite his evil, Saul was still an anointed man of God. In this earlier setting, Saul’s soldiers knew better than to touch the holy men of God, the priests, and kill them because they belonged to God. The Levites were God’s inheritance among the people of Israel.
The soldiers and David knew that holy/anointed men were to be respected and honored and not taken for granted, not because of the men themselves, but for the reason that God had anointed them for service to Him. When a person raises a hand or speaks a word against one of God’s anointed servants, they are invoking trouble upon themselves. God takes His anointing a person for ministry (service to Him) very seriously. God’s anointing upon the life of an individual is no joking or light matter. Those who would oppose God’s servants, even those who may turn out to be as evil as Saul was, are playing with fire. Can a man hold fire to his chest and not be burned?
Preachers used to enjoy a certain level of respect within the American community up until the last 20 years or so. Nowadays, people would just as soon as spit on a preacher as to look at one. Why? Because so many so-called anointed preachers have fallen from grace and fallen into moral failure of one kind or another. Their bad witness concerning Jesus caused many people to solidify their already incorrectly ill-conceived notions about ministers as being nothing more than charlatans and money-grubbers. The bad actions of the few out weighed the deeds of the many good. Thus, people “turned” on ministers and began to look on them with disgust and distrust.
If a person has truly been anointed (called) by God, we had better give them the God-demanded respect they deserve, not because of the person but because God chose them. We need to look at our own behavior and ensure that we are not bad-mouthing or putting down men and women of God. (1) It is just plain wrong and sinful. (2) Everyone regardless of being a Christian or not deserves to be loved with agape love because the 2nd greatest command is that we love our neighbors as ourselves. Do you respect your pastor? The local evangelist? The supported missionary? Or, do you just have a flippant attitude in general toward preachers and other servants of God? God help you if you do.
Father, help me to always maintain a healthy respect for all anointed (called) servants of God whether they are of the ecclesiastical gifts or other members of the body of Messiah. As an anointed minister of the gospel, I pray that people would see my witness and believe that Jesus truly is the Messiah. I don’t want to bring a bad reputation to Christian service. I don’t want to run Your name in the muck. As I keep a reverence for my fellow ministers, may others see my example and do likewise, even when I know that a minister may have done something terribly wrong. Those that are Your anointed have been called by You. That should be enough for us to give them respect at a minimum. The world around me has increasingly turned on Your servants and no longer hold them in high regards, as they once did. May You have mercy upon their souls and teach our people a healthy, Godly respect for the men of the cloth once again. In Jesus’ name, Amen.