Morning Light – July 2nd, 2015
Today: [2 Samuel Chapter Sixteen]: Enduring Shimei’s Curses. In this chapter David is fleeing Jerusalem. He is met by a man of Saul’s house named Shimei who curses David and throws rocks and dust in his face. David endures this insult with remarkable restraint – knowing that ultimately his fate is in the hands of God. There will be times in life that you will be pressured greatly to defend yourself and fight your own battles. David is an example in this chapter of holding your peace and trusting in God for the outcome of blessing that He promises to those who choose to walk in humility.
[2Sa 16:1-23 KJV] 1 And when David was a little past the top [of the hill], behold, Ziba the servant of Mephibosheth met him, with a couple of asses saddled, and upon them two hundred [loaves] of bread, and an hundred bunches of raisins, and an hundred of summer fruits, and a bottle of wine. 2 And the king said unto Ziba, What meanest thou by these? And Ziba said, The asses [be] for the king’s household to ride on; and the bread and summer fruit for the young men to eat; and the wine, that such as be faint in the wilderness may drink. 3 And the king said, And where [is] thy master’s son? And Ziba said unto the king, Behold, he abideth at Jerusalem: for he said, To day shall the house of Israel restore me the kingdom of my father. 4 Then said the king to Ziba, Behold, thine [are] all that [pertained] unto Mephibosheth. And Ziba said, I humbly beseech thee [that] I may find grace in thy sight, my lord, O king.
David is departing Jerusalem and is met by Saul’s former servant Ziba. When David brought Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth to his house he appointed Ziba to serve him because of his covenant with the now dead Jonathan promising to preserve his seed. When Ziba approaches David and his 600 men with their families he finds that they are walking instead of riding on asses. This is not because they couldn’t find mounts but rather as an act of humility before God because of the state of affairs regarding Absalom’s overthrow of the kingdom. David is under tremendous pressure and has been for sometime – however we find in the midst of imperfect discernment, and befuddled decision making his character before God is still one of consistent humility. David understands what Isaiah later writes:
[Isa 57:15 KJV] 15 For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name [is] Holy; I dwell in the high and holy [place], with him also [that is] of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
Whatever may be your plight due to your own failings or the assaults of others – humility should always be your first and last response. The word humility means to “go low”. This does not mean that you humble yourself to man. Humility is not about getting someone to feel sorry for you, in fact usually a posture of humility will anger your enemies and critics further. Once a person chooses to have a critical attitude toward you it is unlikely to ever change even if God moves upon them to do so. Humility is about responding to God in the midst of pressure by not taking matters into your own hands and looking to Him for your deliverance.
Mephibosheth is not with Ziba which surprises David but he receives the food and asses that Ziba brings out nonetheless. Ziba claims that Mephibosheth remains in Jerusalem and is not supportive of David now that he has lost the throne to Absalom. David accepts this account although it is later called into question whether or not Ziba was telling the truth. Because David believes Ziba he grants him all of Mephibosheth’s lands and inheritance. Whatever Ziba’s motive and whether or not he is truthful David still accepts the food and asses in behalf of the 600 families that are now of a refugee status on the run from Absalom. There will be in your lifetime people who will support you for different reasons. David no doubt was aware that Ziba’s character was not perfect but now was not the time to sit in judgment. David simply takes the gift and moves on.
5 And when king David came to Bahurim, behold, thence came out a man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name [was] Shimei, the son of Gera: he came forth, and cursed still as he came. 6 And he cast stones at David, and at all the servants of king David: and all the people and all the mighty men [were] on his right hand and on his left. 7 And thus said Shimei when he cursed, Come out, come out, thou bloody man, and thou man of Belial: 8 The LORD hath returned upon thee all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose stead thou hast reigned; and the LORD hath delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom thy son: and, behold, thou [art taken] in thy mischief, because thou [art] a bloody man. 9 Then said Abishai the son of Zeruiah unto the king, Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? let me go over, I pray thee, and take off his head. 10 And the king said, What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah? so let him curse, because the LORD hath said unto him, Curse David. Who shall then say, Wherefore hast thou done so? 11 And David said to Abishai, and to all his servants, Behold, my son, which came forth of my bowels, seeketh my life: how much more now [may this] Benjamite [do it]? let him alone, and let him curse; for the LORD hath bidden him. 12 It may be that the LORD will look on mine affliction, and that the LORD will requite me good for his cursing this day. 13 And as David and his men went by the way, Shimei went along on the hill’s side over against him, and cursed as he went, and threw stones at him, and cast dust.
After dealing with Ziba’s flatteries now David is confronted by Shimei’s curses. Shimei like Ziba was connected with the house of Saul and now sees David’s misfortune as the judgment of God. Shimei held his peace as long as David was on the throne but now he speaks up and disparages David openly. Shimei’s name means “a great noise…” Shimei insults David and even throws rocks at David but David doesn’t respond even when Abishai wants to take Shimei’s head off. David is looking to God to be his defender. There are those around you from time to time who are silent when you are under God’s obvious blessing who will speak up when things turn another way. Unlike Shimei they may not openly revile you but come in the guise of a trusted counselor but their goal is to tear you down and leave you weak and discouraged. It isn’t your responsibility to defend yourself against those who kick you while you are down. Keep your eyes upon the mercy and the providence of God. The greatest and most important prayer you will ever pray is not for vindication but for the mercy of God to be shown in your life. This is the approach that David takes.
14 And the king, and all the people that [were] with him, came weary, and refreshed themselves there. 15 And Absalom, and all the people the men of Israel, came to Jerusalem, and Ahithophel with him. 16 And it came to pass, when Hushai the Archite, David’s friend, was come unto Absalom, that Hushai said unto Absalom, God save the king, God save the king. 17 And Absalom said to Hushai, [Is] this thy kindness to thy friend? why wentest thou not with thy friend? 18 And Hushai said unto Absalom, Nay; but whom the LORD, and this people, and all the men of Israel, choose, his will I be, and with him will I abide. 19 And again, whom should I serve? [should I] not [serve] in the presence of his son? as I have served in thy father’s presence, so will I be in thy presence.
When David departed Jerusalem he asked a good friend Hushai to stay behind and be an influence in the situation with Absalom. Absalom was being counseled by the wisest man in Israel by the name of Ahitophel. Ahitophel was Bathsheba’s grandfather and was offended at David for defiling her and murdering her husband Uriah therefore he devoted his word of counsel to strengthening Absalom’s place on the throne. David asks Hushai to feign loyalty to Absalom in order to counter Ahitophel’s counsel.
20 Then said Absalom to Ahithophel, Give counsel among you what we shall do. 21 And Ahithophel said unto Absalom, Go in unto thy father’s concubines, which he hath left to keep the house; and all Israel shall hear that thou art abhorred of thy father: then shall the hands of all that [are] with thee be strong. 22 So they spread Absalom a tent upon the top of the house; and Absalom went in unto his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel. 23 And the counsel of Ahithophel, which he counselled in those days, [was] as if a man had enquired at the oracle of God: so [was] all the counsel of Ahithophel both with David and with Absalom.
Absalom inquires of Ahithophel and the suggestion is made for him to defile the concubines that David had left in charge of the house. A tent is set up on the very roof that David had looked down on Bathsheba from and Absalom had sex with each of the concubines in full display of the entire city of Jerusalem. Through the prophet Nathan there was a warning that this very thing would happen. The judgment of God and the revenge of Ahitophel against David is fully discharged. In all of this David is silent other than to appeal to the mercy of God for restoration.
Circumstances of life at times turn difficult and friends can be few and far between. You may be tempted to resist and fight your own battles but remember the words of Jesus in Matt. 5:39 to “resist not evil”. This doesn’t mean that you are laying down in a war zone or that you are letting people have their way who intend your hurt. Ultimately God brings David through the situation. You are not submitting to the circumstance you are submitting to the outcome that eventually will be blessing and benefit and restoration as in the case of David.
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