How do we move beyond virtue signaling into living out the virtues God calls us to? First, we have to identify some of the virtues that aren’t as common in our culture today—starting with honor.
It’s easy to honor people when they live honorable lives. But what about dishonorable leaders?
As difficult as it can be, we’re called to show honor before someone lives honorably. In fact, showing honor often helps the person become more honorable in the process.
Let us Start with an opening prayer: God, You are worthy of all honor and praise. Thank You for who You are. Help me glean a new understanding from this scripture reading. To take delight in honoring others, even when it’s difficult. Show me any areas where I haven’t been extending honor, and guide me as I seek to live a life that honors You and others. Thank you for provision, heal my family and friends spiritually and physically, help me to forgive and forgive my sins. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Scriptures reviewed in this message.
Honor. 1 Samuel 24:1-16
Honer Inspires. 1 Samual 24:17-22
Honor. 1 Samuel 26:7-25
Honesty . Proverbs 11:1-4
Love includes honor. Romans 12 8-19.
David chooses Honor in the Bible
We see honor throughout Scripture, but it’s particularly evident in David’s story. As a young shepherd, David defeats the giant, Goliath, and is later anointed king of Israel. But it was years before that calling would come to fruition.
God anointed Saul to be Israel’s first king, but over time, Saul became prideful and publicly disobeyed God. He viewed David as competition, and he tried to get David killed several times, even though David had always served him well.
David was faced with an unjust leader who viewed him as a threat. And at the same time, David knew that God had called him to one day fill Saul’s role.
Imagine David’s dilemma when he has the opportunity to kill Saul not once, but twice. All of David’s advisors want him to do it. He’s literally been on the run because Saul wants him dead.
And yet—David shows Saul honor by refusing to harm him. David knew that someone else’s sins don’t justify yours. Saul was in the wrong, but he was still God’s anointed leader. David was still called to serve, obey, and show honor. And when David showed honor, Saul changed as a result. It didn’t fix every aspect of Saul’s character, but it did show the fruit of David’s.
David chose to do what is right or to a conventional standard of conduct.
“They said to him, “This is your chance! The Lord has told you that he would put your enemy in your power and you could do to him whatever you wanted to.” David crept over and cut off a piece of Saul’s robe without Saul’s knowing it. But then David’s conscience began to hurt, and he said to his men, “May the Lord keep me from doing any harm to my master, whom the Lord chose as king! I must not harm him in the least, because he is the king chosen by the Lord!” So David convinced his men that they should not attack Saul. Saul got up, left the cave, and started away. Then David went out after him and called to him, “Your Majesty!” Saul turned around, and David bowed down to the ground in respect and said, “Why do you listen to people who say that I am trying to harm you? You can see for yourself that just now in the cave the Lord put you in my power. Some of my men told me to kill you, but I felt sorry for you and said that I would not harm you in the least, because you are the one whom the Lord chose to be king. Look, my father, look at the piece of your robe I am holding! I could have killed you, but instead I only cut this off. This should convince you that I have no thought of rebelling against you or of harming you. You are hunting me down to kill me, even though I have not done you any wrong. May the Lord judge which one of us is wrong! May he punish you for your action against me, for I will not harm you in the least. You know the old saying, ‘Evil is done only by evil people.’ And so I will not harm you. Look at what the king of Israel is trying to kill! Look at what he is chasing! A dead dog, a flea! The Lord will judge, and he will decide which one of us is wrong. May he look into the matter, defend me, and save me from you.” When David had finished speaking, Saul said, “Is that really you, David my son?” And he started crying. Then he said to David, “You are right, and I am wrong. You have been so good to me, while I have done such wrong to you! Today you have shown how good you are to me, because you did not kill me, even though the Lord put me in your power.”
1 Samuel 24:4-18 GNTD
David regarded Saul with great respect.
“So that night David and Abishai entered Saul’s camp and found Saul sleeping in the center of the camp with his spear stuck in the ground near his head. Abner and the troops were sleeping around him. Abishai said to David, “God has put your enemy in your power tonight. Now let me plunge his own spear through him and pin him to the ground with just one blow—I won’t have to strike twice!” But David said, “You must not harm him! The Lord will certainly punish whoever harms his chosen king. By the living Lord,” David continued, “I know that the Lord himself will kill Saul, either when his time comes to die a natural death or when he dies in battle. The Lord forbid that I should try to harm the one whom the Lord has made king! Let’s take his spear and his water jar, and go.” So David took the spear and the water jar from right beside Saul’s head, and he and Abishai left. No one saw it or knew what had happened or even woke up—they were all sound asleep, because the Lord had sent a heavy sleep on them all. Then David crossed over to the other side of the valley to the top of the hill, a safe distance away, and shouted to Saul’s troops and to Abner, “Abner! Can you hear me?” “Who is that shouting and waking up the king?” Abner asked. David answered, “Abner, aren’t you the greatest man in Israel? So why aren’t you protecting your master, the king? Just now someone entered the camp to kill your master. You failed in your duty, Abner! I swear by the living Lord that all of you deserve to die, because you have not protected your master, whom the Lord made king. Look! Where is the king’s spear? Where is the water jar that was right by his head?” Saul recognized David’s voice and asked, “David, is that you, my son?” “Yes, Your Majesty,” David answered. And he added, “Why, sir, are you still pursuing me, your servant? What have I done? What crime have I committed? Your Majesty, listen to what I have to say. If it is the Lord who has turned you against me, an offering to him will make him change his mind; but if some people have done it, may the Lord ‘s curse fall on them. For they have driven me out from the Lord ‘s land to a country where I can only worship foreign gods. Don’t let me be killed on foreign soil, away from the Lord. Why should the king of Israel come to kill a flea like me? Why should he hunt me down like a wild bird?” Saul answered, “I have done wrong. Come back, David, my son! I will never harm you again, because you have spared my life tonight. I have been a fool! I have done a terrible thing!” David replied, “Here is your spear, Your Majesty. Let one of your men come over and get it. The Lord rewards those who are faithful and righteous. Today he put you in my power, but I did not harm you, whom the Lord made king. Just as I have spared your life today, may the Lord do the same to me and free me from all troubles!” Saul said to David, “God bless you, my son! You will succeed in everything you do!” So David went on his way, and Saul returned home.”
1 Samuel 26:7-25 GNTD
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
Romans 12:9-18 NIV