A Tale of Three Kings is one of those books that when you read it, you want to share with your friends. It addresses an issue that we all have faced at one time or another throughout our lives: how to respond to unjust leaders or rebellious, disloyal followers.
Like a literary Michelangelo, Gene Edwards sets out in this book to show us God’s heart as it pertains to relationships, authority and working through conflict. This is a pertinent subject for all generations. Who has not observed or been directly involved in the pain of a church split, an episode of spiritual abuse or hurtful behavior by someone we once admired?
Even as Job presents in scripture the perfect example of patience through suffering, David provides for us a perfect model to teach us the process of experiencing God’s heart in the different stages of leadership development. Scripture describes David as a “man after God’s own heart.” Indeed, David is such a remarkable character, and gives Edwards so much to work with! Ever skillful in the use of metaphor and poetic description, Edwards rises to the occasion.
In the Biblical account as well as the retelling by Edwards, though once God’s “anointed,” Saul has abused this privilege and responsibility. He is angry and struggles with jealousy and greed, and seeks to destroy David, his loyal servant. He sees the young gifted leader as a threat and rather than a blessing. In spite of David’s input and heartfelt service, Saul throws spears at him! He then tries to hunt him down and kill him! Sound familiar to any reading this? Have you ever been abused by those in authority? At such times, even though you may not be literally hunted as prey, the devil’s desire to steal, kill and destroy is so strong that you may feel like you are fighting for your life. The pain and humiliation of being exploited by an abusive leader is real. It is a death experience, to say the least. Yet the whole process is like quick-sand. The more we struggle to defend ourselves or fight our own battles, the more we sink into the bitterness and hurt. The lesson we need to learn, as articulated in this book, is the let God fight our battles. Let Him take our hurts and let Him mold us into the image of Jesus.
Like a diamond with many facets, the story of David gives us lessons from various perspectives. “A Tale of Three Kings” takes full advantage of this by showing us 1) David’s response to and unjust leader “over” him and 2) David’s response to a rebellious follower “under” him. And there many facets of heart motives and dealings of God in between that encourage and instruct at every turn.
Some have read this book and cried. Others have experienced healing. No one can read this book without experiencing a greater understanding of what true spiritual authority looks like. I highly recommend this book and would go so far as to say it is “must reading” for every Christian.
Quotes from the book:
“God has a university. It’s a small school. Few enroll; even fewer graduate. Very, very few indeed.”
“Rules were invented by elders so they could get to bed early. Men who speak endlessly on authority only prove they have none. And kings who make speeches about submission only betray twin fears in their hearts: they are not certain they are really true leaders, sent of God. And they live in mortal fear of a rebellion…No… authority from God is not afraid of challenges, makes no defense, and cares not one whit if it must be dethroned.”
“Better he kill me than I learn his ways. Better he kill me than I become as he is. I shall not practice the ways that cause kings to go mad. I will not throw spears, nor will I allow hatred to grow in my heart. I will not avenge. I will not destroy the Lord’s anointed. Not now. Not ever!”
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