Three Spiritual Governments - Nathan Shaw
There are three dynamic spiritual governments operating in the church today. These three governments also operated in the time of King Saul. All three of them are charismatic. All three of them are supernaturally empowered. In the time of King Saul these governments were represented by Samuel, Saul and David. These three men carried great authority and were surrounded by like minded disciples. I describe them as follows:
- Samuel and the ecstatic prophets.
- Saul and the ambitious nation.
- David and the mighty men.
Samuel and the Crazy Prophets
Samuel was a prophet and a judge. Scripture records that none of his words fell to the ground (1 Samuel 3:19). Under his leadership groups of prophets sprung up throughout Israel. Despite this national revival of spiritual fervor the people wanted a king like the other nations. Saul was to become that king. When Samuel first met Saul he instructed him to meet with one of these prophetic groups. When Saul met them they were prophesying enthusiastically as they descended from a place of worship (1 Samuel 10:5). The Hebrew word translated "prophesying" is used in 1 Samuel to contrast the raving of those who are demonically energized with those who are overcome with the intoxicating presence of God (1 Samuel 10:5-13, 18:10, 19:20-24). Here are translations of the word as used in 1 Samuel 10:5 from four bibles and a commentary:
- In a prophetic frenzy (NRSV).
- Dancing and shouting (GNB).
- Filled with prophetic rapture (NEB).
- In a prophetic state (NAB).
- An ecstatic utterance of religious feelings to the praise of God....it was connected with a very energetic action indicative of the highest state of mental excitement" (Keil and Delitzsch Commentary).
The behavior here is very similar to the behavior of the 120 on the day of Pentecost. The 120 were intoxicated with God's presence and accused by onlookers of being drunk with wine (Acts 2:15). In a similar way the lame man healed in Acts 3 is described as, "walking, leaping and praising God" (Acts 3:8). The prophets that Saul met, the 120 on the day of Pentecost and the lame man who was healed were all ecstatic with joy and excitement. As David says in Psalm 16:11, "In Your presence is fullness of joy." The prophets that Saul met were crazy drunk on the intoxicating presence of God!
Samuel's spiritual government had a profound influence on both Saul and David.
- Saul and David were both anointed by Samuel to be king over Israel (1 Samuel 10:1, 16:13).
- Saul was changed into another man whenever he encountered one of Samuel's prophetic groups (1 Samuel 10:6, 19:19-24).
- David had a particularly close connection to Samuel. This is clearly seen in that David fled to Samuel and his prophetic community at Naioth when Saul was attempting to murder him (1 Samuel 19:18).
- Many years later David unashamedly modeled this prophetic fervor when he danced before the Lord with all his might (2 Samuel 6:14-16, 22).
The spiritual government of Samuel and his prophetic groups was marked by freedom in the Spirit, supernatural power encounters and prophetic accuracy.
Saul and the Ambitious Nation
Despite God's blessing on Israel the people wanted a king (1 Samuel 8:5, 19-20). God powerfully encountered Saul and he was changed into a different person (1 Samuel 10:6). God was with Saul (1 Samuel 10:7) and he was a great leader. He was used to unify Israel and bring significant military advances. However, as you read through the account of Saul's reign it becomes very clear that he was ambitious, impatient and fearful. He feared people more than God. He acted on his own initiative rather than waiting on God's timing. He made rash decisions without consulting God. He only partially obeyed God's instructions. Holding the kingdom together was more important to him than relationship with God.
The spiritual government of Saul and the people who wanted a king was marked by ambition, impatience and fear.
David and the Mighty Men
Because of Saul's jealousy David had to flee for his life. While hiding in the wilderness of Judea three types of men joined with him—those who were distressed, in debt and discontented (1 Samuel 22:2). David's leadership uniquely transformed these outcasts into legendary warriors (2 Samuel 23:8-39). Saul's warriors had prestige and prominence whereas David's men were fashioned and developed in hiddenness and in the midst of diabolical opposition. Great endurance and patience was required. Above all, David had a profound revelation of God's lovingkindness. David was a lover of God first, and a king second.
The spiritual government of David and his mighty men was marked by courage, supernatural exploits and a profound revelation of God's love. David established an eternal seat of government that Jesus Himself now occupies (2 Samuel 7:12-13, Luke 1:32).
There is much we can learn from these three powerful spiritual governments. Here are some comparisons between them.
Saul was changed into another man.
David changed the nation.
Saul gathered the nation for war.
Through continuous praise and proclamation David discipled the nation in the ways of the Spirit.
Saul helped extend Israel's borders.
David caused Israel to govern in the Spirit.
Samuel discipled companies of prophets.
David discipled mighty men, musicians, prophets and ultimately the nation.
For a season these three spiritual governments operated simultaneously. Eventually a new kingdom standard was established through David. Through his wisdom all three groups were united under one kingdom standard. These same spiritual governments are operating in the church today. Even now there is a shifting of allegiance among them as people move from one to the other.
The prophet Amos foretold the restoration of the spiritual government of David when he said, "On that day I will raise up the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down, and repair its damages; I will raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old" (Amos 9:11). Many Davids are being prepared in this hour. They are a company of men and women who live for one thing—to behold the beauty of God (Psalm 27:4). They are motivated differently than others, preferring intimacy with God over prominence or prestige before men. God will use them to establish His kingdom in the church and in the nations.
© 2015 Nathan Shaw.
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