These words from the Old Testament have a message for you and I in our relationship with God.
1 Samuel 26:8-11 (NIV)
8 Abishai said to David, “Today God has delivered your enemy into your hands. Now let me pin him to the ground with one thrust of my spear; I won’t strike him twice.”
9 But David said to Abishai, “Don’t destroy him! Who can lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed and be guiltless?
10 As surely as the Lord lives,” he said, “the Lord himself will strike him; either his time will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish.
11 But the Lord forbid that I should lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed. Now get the spear and water jug that are near his head, and let’s go.”
“Today, God has delivered your enemy into your hand…”
I call this spiritual manipulation. Manipulating the Scriptures for a desired result. I think that is a danger we all must be careful of. That’s how cults are formed and false doctrines begin.
Abishai could withstand and accept correction. He had a teachable spirit. It is a requirement of those who would be serious followers of Christ.
Beware the Christian who thinks they have an inside track on spirituality and knowledge from God. Sometimes, in an effort to find acceptance, I have watched some as they tried to establish themselves as “the” spokesperson that God wants to use.
If God has told you something or directed you, then that word can stand challenge or correction from leadership. I am a little wary of those who constantly say, “God told me this, God told me that, I know what God wants.” Sometimes, God will speak to us for our own needs—not to show the world how spiritual and how close to God we are—or to set the church straight.
No one stands alone and no one person has a patent on the Word of Knowledge or the prophetic Word. God sets these gifts in the church “as He wills.” The gifts are not necessarily resident in the person—they are resident in the Body—the Church.
One author pointed out that “every heresy has its beginning in the heart of an unteachable believer.” Because God anoints them for a special purpose, spiritual pride can enter their heart and they feel they have ownership of that gift in the Body. The Abishai anointing is willing to receive teaching and correction.
A teachable spirit inhabits those who walk in humility and Godliness. As Paul admonished Timothy, “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them.” He seems to indicate that it can mean the difference between being saved and reaching others as well.
King Saul in the Old Testament is an example of an unteachable spirit. It started long before our story in this book. It started when he was a young king and began to feel the power of his position. The first indication was when he became impatient and disobedient and stepped into the role of Priest and offered the sacrifice. On top of that, when he fought against the Amalakites, God told him to destroy them all—every living thing. Pride taught him that he knew better—so he spared the best of the flock and also King Agag. This led to Samuel’s challenge: “Does God delight as much in burnt offerings and sacrifice as much as he does in obedience?”
If Saul had possessed a teachable spirit he would not have found himself in this predicament of being told “Your kingdom will not continue.” “To obey is better than sacrifice and to listen is better than the fat of rams.”
May God help us each to always have a "teachable spirit".