Psalm 105:15 is one of the Scriptures most taken out of context in the Bible. Many have invoked the passage, "Do not touch my anointed ones, and do no harm to my prophets" as a means of skirting accountability for false teaching and for sin.
Unwittingly, I have been guilty of callously spewing this scripture in the past to defend certain preachers. I didn't do it because of defiance or an attitude of superiority, but because of my own biblical ignorance. I simply did not know the Word of God. Recently, I have repented and taken great steps to correct this.
Unfortunately, I am not the only one who ever has committed the error of misrepresenting Psalm 105:15. I'm sure each time someone does, it grieves the heart of God.
An article by Watchman Fellowship's Clete Hux called "Accountability: The Way to Touch God's Anointed," helped clear up this issue for me.
When studying Psalm 105:15, Hux says you will see that it has nothing to do with questioning the teachings of church leaders. In this context, rather, the words "touch" and "do no harm" refer to inflicting physical harm upon someone. Specifically, the phrase "touch not the Lord's anointed" refers to David's hesitance to kill King Saul when the opportunity arose. Previously, David indeed had rebuked Saul publicly, and he had done it more than once.
Although Saul was referred to as "God's anointed," Saul still needed to be accountable for his actions and his words.
That goes for double anyone who preaches the gospel. If what they are preaching is not scripturally sound, they've opened that teaching up to scrutiny.
However, there is scrutiny and there is malicious intent—two very separate ideals.
When you scrutinize someone, please make sure it's with 1) Godly intent about his or her teaching, and 2) not against the person themselves. I've read many examples—especially on message boards—where a preacher's character is maligned because of something he or she taught or is NOT teaching (I speak of one preacher in particular who gets dragged through the mud. I won't mention him by name, but you all know him well). That's where people fail to take care when they "touch God's anointed." Their words are simply malicious.
And, malicious intent against anyone, much less God's anointed, isn't without its consequences.
We know from 2 Kings 2:23-24 what happened to 42 youth from Bethel who maliciously mocked Elisha, certainly one of God's anointed. "He went up from there to Bethel, and going up on the way, little boys came out of the city and made fun of him and said to him, "Go up, you bald head! Go up, you bald head!" He turned around, saw them, and cursed them in the name of the Lord. Then two she-bears came out of the woods and ripped open forty-two of the boys."
This type of mockery implied malicious intent, perhaps to maim or kill Elisha. At that time, the epithet "baldy" signified contempt in the East and showed severe disrespect for Elisha's message and God's power. God sent the bears as a judgment for their callous unbelief.
God may not be so blatant these days. But again, there are consequences.
So what should Christ followers do when they find themselves in disagreement with someone in the ministry? At least these three things:
- Make sure that what you are disagreeing with is something that person actually said. I've seen a lot of people comment on things they don't even investigate and simply assume it's true because they read something somewhere or heard it from someone else.
- Most importantly, check it against Scripture. This is the ultimate test.
- Don't go off half-cocked and rebuke anybody at time in any place—most specifically on the Internet—when you disagree with someone. Try everything in your power to contact the person and have them or a representative explain themselves. Matthew 18:15-16 says, "Now if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, then take with you one or two others, that by the testimony of two or three witnesses every word may be established" (MEV).
There certainly isn't a lack of public rebuke on the Internet. A great deal of it is mean-spirited and not meant for godly correction, but as it appears, for some people to simply make themselves feel better. That's yet another ugly trait God has surgically removed from my personality. Pastor Kenny Luck calls it "spiritual nitpicking."
It is important—nay, crucial—for Christ followers, as Hux says, "not (to) render a condemning judgment upon anyone (that alone is for God), but to render a discerning judgment upon all teachings. It is important for Christians to test all things by Scripture" as the Bereans did with Paul in Acts 17:11. "These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with all eagerness, daily examining the Scriptures, to find out if these things were so" (MEV).
If it ain't in the Bible ...
And as I always like to say, "there is that."
Shawn A. Akers is the online managing editor at Charisma Media. He is a published poet and published a story about Dale Earnhardt in NASCAR Chicken Soup for the Soul. You can read his blog here. To sign up for his newsletter, "Step Out of the Boat," and other Charisma newsletters, click here. You can also listen to his podcasts, the Javelin Sports Show, on the Charisma Podcast Network.
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