Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Tuesday, 19 May 20:
2 Samuel 16:12 –“It may be that the LORD will look on the wrong done to me, and that the LORD will repay me with good for his cursing today.”
How you respond to people who hurt you reveals what you really believe about God’s Sovereignty and justice and how much you really value God’s love, mercy, and grace upon which you rely. Jesus said we reveal His love in us and our love for Him when we love our enemies –
– Luke 6:27-36 — But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
– Luke 7:47 — Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.”
– Matthew 6:12 — …and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors….
– Colossians 3:13b — …as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
– 1 John 4:16 — So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
– 1 John 4:12 — No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
In our readings today, David is fleeing Jerusalem in complete public humiliation due to his own son’s conspiracy against him – “…weeping as he went, barefoot and with his head covered. And all the people who were with him covered their heads, and they went up, weeping as they went.” (2 Samuel 15:30) Then, at perhaps the lowest point in his life, it gets worse:
“There came out a man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera, and as he came he cursed continually. And he threw 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. And Shimei said as he cursed, ‘Get out, get out, you man of blood, you worthless man! The Lord has avenged on you all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned, and the Lord has given the kingdom into the hand of your son Absalom. See, your evil is on you, for you are a man of blood.” (2 Samuel 16:5-8)
How would you have responded to Shimei’s taunts, cursing and literal stone throwing? Perhaps your inclination would have been much like David’s men — “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and take off his head.” (2 Samuel 16:9) However, David’s response in his humility is much different – “If he is cursing because the Lord has said to him, ‘Curse David,’ who then shall say, ‘Why have you done so?’’ And David said to Abishai and to all his servants, ‘Behold, my own son seeks my life; how much more now may this Benjaminite! Leave him alone, and let him curse, for the Lord has told him to. It may be that the Lord will look on the wrong done to me, and that the Lord will repay me with good for his cursing today.” (2 Samuel 16:10-12)
Consider the difference between David’s response to Shimei and David’s previous response to Nabal in 1 Samuel 25 — “Every man strap on his sword!… God do so to the enemies of David and more also, if by morning I leave so much as one male of all who belong to him.” David previously responded to Nabal’s insults with hot-headed pride, but now David’s pride has been replaced with humility, and on this occasion, David’s response reflects the Beatitudes and resembles a more Christ-like reaction to persecution. Here, David acknowledges the Sovereignty of God in every situation and recognizes His complete dependence on God’s mercy and grace. In his lowly state, David pens Psalm 3 – “O Lord, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me; many are saying of my soul, ‘There is no salvation for him in God.’ But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.” (Psalm 3:1-3) Humbly trusting in God, David doesn’t seek vengeance —
– Romans 12:17-21 — Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
– Hebrews 10:30 — For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.”
– 1 Thessalonians 5:15 — See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.
Pride straps on the sword, but humility and faith forgive, trust in God’s provision, and overcome evil with good. Has God placed any Shimeis in your life? Do you respond to them in pride or in humble, gracious faith? Can you see your experiences through the lenses of the Cross and Romans 8:28-29?
Unfortunately, the story of David and Shimei doesn’t end with David’s positive example in today’s readings. We will see in our future readings that David eventually directs his son Solomon to kill Shimei for what Shimei did to him — “And there is also with you Shimei the son of Gera, the Benjaminite from Bahurim, who cursed me with a grievous curse on the day when I went to Mahanaim. But when he came down to meet me at the Jordan, I swore to him by the Lord, saying, ‘I will not put you to death with the sword.’ Now therefore do not hold him guiltless, for you are a wise man. You will know what you ought to do to him, and you shall bring his gray head down with blood to Sheol.” (2 Kings 2:8, 9)
Have you ever offered forgiveness but inwardly harbored resentment? How easy is it for us to lose sight of the grace upon which our salvation rests and refuse to give true grace to those who offend us? Where resentment remains, pride remains, and pride hurts, destroys, and grieves the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:19; Galatians 5:25). In David’s case, he not only held on to his resentment but passed the consequences on to the next generation. It is one thing to forgive someone, and it is quite another thing to truly forgive someone. True forgiveness and grace are from the heart. God judges the heart. However, God also leads us in love and forgiveness and empowers us supernaturally to love and to forgive as His ministers of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18, 19). We are not yet perfected in our love and forgiveness, but Christ is, and He is forgiving where we aren’t yet and strong where we are still weak. Where you are currently saying, “I can’t forgive that person,” proclaim instead, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13) Don’t harbor or grieve your lack of forgiveness, surrender it to Jesus, and trust Him. Take that load of grief off your shoulders – “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30) Pray that God will reveal to you where you still might be holding on to some resentment, and pray that God will give you the grace to truly forgive as you have been forgiven.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 19 May 20: Again, pray that God will reveal to you where you still might be holding on to some resentment, and pray that God will give you the grace to truly forgive as you have been forgiven. If you need to forgive or to seek forgiveness from someone, settle the issue today without delay –
– Matthew 6:14-15 — For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
– Matthew 5:23-26 — So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.