The Kingdom of a Mad King

About a year or more ago I read the book A Tale of Three Kings by Gene Edwards. It had a huge impact on the way I viewed those God places over me, especially pastors and elders. Today I finished my readings through 1 and 2 Samuel. As I have been reading about the life of Saul and David, I sat down and wrote this.

There was a young shepherd boy who would be king. I imagine as this young boy stood day after day looking after his sheep he spent time talking to his God. He knew God’s protection and faithfulness while alone in the pastures. He knew it was God who watched over him when he killed the lion, the bear and even a giant!

Things changed the day he killed the giant. The boy was taken from watching over the flocks to serving in the court of the king. Can you imagine what a change that must have been! Do you think he ever wondered about God's plan for his life? He had been told he would be king, so why did he now serve the king? And a mad king at that! The days could have been confusing for him, or did he trust his God so completely that he understood this was part of the plan? Do you think he ever thought about his sheep? Did he desire to go back where it was safer, quieter than the court of a mad king?

I suppose it’s possible to imagine it to be a good place to be at the time. Wondering what new and wonderful thing God might do. The young boy grew in favor of the king and the kings’ son. The boy became like family. Maybe he considered himself blessed by God for taking him out of the pastures and placing him in the court of a king. Was there ever any doubt in his mind as he served the king? Did he wonder just how God was going to make him king? Or did he just follow in obedience that path which his God led him on?

I wonder what went through his mind as the king’s favor turned on him and the king began to hunt him down with the spear. He had grown up in the court, sat at the table of the king and now he wanted to kill him? Was this truly part of God’s plan? How was God to make him king if he was dead? I wonder if this young man understood that God was in the process of teaching him submission and brokenness. This young man loved his Lord God and desired to follow Him. To be pursued by your friend as if you were an enemy must have been difficult. There had to be times of doubt and depression, of wondering if he heard God correctly.

Was he really to be king?

This young man understood more than most. The king was delivered to him, the young man had opportunity to kill the king but did not. But why not? It could have been God’s plan for him to be killed so that the young man could be king. The young man understood something that many of us do not. You do not raise a hand against God’s anointed. The king was mad and God no longer with him, but he was still God’s anointed. If God places his anointed over you and he seeks to destroy you it does not give you the right to turn around and destroy him. What this young man may or may not have realized is that it is often the unbroken, mad king, who God sovereignly picks, to teach us submission and brokenness.

I learned a valuable lesson while reading about this young man who would be king. He understood what many of us today do not understand. God sometimes places us in kingdoms with mad spear throwing kings. We want to run and hide, we want to fight back, we want everyone to know about this king gone mad. But remember what this young man said in the midst of being in such a kingdom. He said “ Don't destroy him! Who can lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed and be guiltless? As surely as the Lord lives the Lord himself will strike him; either his time will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish. But the Lord forbid that I should lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed.”(1 Sam 26:9-11)

The question then is “how do we know we are in a kingdom of a mad king or not”? We can not know, only God knows for sure. Some may think they know but they do not, God does not tell. God asks us to live in the kingdom of a mad king. But what about the spears, do we just stand there and get pierced? Yes, as hard as it seems we do for God has anointed that king over us for a season and a sovereign reason.

Some may be thinking at the moment, “Are you mad?” But ask yourself this question, “Can you be so sure that your king is a mad king and not a man after God’s heart that you are willing to attack your king?” If you are then remember another such time when a man thought to be mad was crucified.


  1. Sharon - I really enjoyed this post. It's such a good reminder about our leaders and I don't think I've ever thought about the story of Saul in that connotation.

  2. Great post!! My husband has that book. Years ago it was recommended to him by a pastor in counseling because he was like a task master. Praise God he is not anymore!! I may have to read it, Thanks your awesome:)

  3. Great word!!!!!!!! Great teaching.. how we need to hear that the Lord has placed us right where He wants us and He is preparing us for His glory and not so much our comfort..
    ... He does not take the light that is in us and put us under a bushel.... I have lived in the mad king camp on numerous occasions......

  4. great food for thought. you're always able to articulate your thoughts so well, and in a way that makes me think. thanks.

  5. I will need to reflect on this for a while, very good example of our life now and his life then not to far off.


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