One thing David did out of his deep love and respect for God was to honor King Saul. The fact that Saul was also David’s father-in-law makes this even more pertinent to us. I think you'll see how pertinent as we look at David's story.
Saul was a terrible king. God removed favor from Saul early in his reign but allowed him to rule 40 years. Saul deceived David, lied about him, turned others against him, threatened him, gave his wife Michal to another man, and tried to kill David.
But David knew that God had given Saul his position as king, and David trusted God's purposes. Because David understood God's heart, he respected Saul.
David had many opportunities to discredit Saul, depose him and kill him. Sometimes those around David encouraged him to kill Saul because it looked like God had given David the go-ahead. But David refused to do anything to bring Saul personal harm. Before and after Saul’s death, David spoke of him with respect.
So how can we apply these principles to respecting our mil?
1. Realize that God gave our mil a position in our husband’s life and we inherited that position when we married him. Just as God chose Israel’s first kings, God alone chooses our parents.
2. Realize that our mil doesn’t lose her position or rights by being ungodly.**
3. Realize that well-meaning friends (even counselors) may encourage us to cut off relationship with our mil or “kill” her place in our family. Sometimes it may even seem that God is giving us opportunities to do this. But that doesn’t mean it’s right. (1 Samuel 24)
4. Realize that God will reward us for honoring those who do not deserve honor.
I don’t know about you, but I want God to call me a woman after his own heart and I don’t want my attitudes toward my mil to disqualify me.
Homework this week: pray about the principles in this story and ask God to give you a deep respect for His choices in your life, especially the choice of your mil.
* David plunged into sin at one point and brought permanent damage to his life, but he restored his relationship fully with God through repentance. That's why God continued to call David a man after his own heart.
** Because Saul was unstable and violent, David didn’t trust Saul but he showed him respect. If your mil is unstable or violent, you will need to take measures to prevent her from harming you or your children, but please don’t use this excuse if you simply don’t approve of her.
For more insights:
Part 5: Disinterested In-Laws
Part 6: What Ruth & Naomi Teach Us
Part 7: Six Things I Did Wrong
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