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. 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. And thus said Shimei when he cursed, Come out, come out, thou bloody man, and thou man of Belial: 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. 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. 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? 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. It may be that the Lord will look on mine affliction, and that the Lord will requite me good for his cursing this day. 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. ( 2 Samuel 16:5-13)
I hope this little meditation does someone some good, as this scipture has oftentimes comforted me.
In public life and ministry. there are times when God allows the favor of men to shine on you, and it seems like all tends towards love, acceptance, and forbearance. Of course we praise God for those times.
But then God ordains times when we have to walk through storms of scorn, rejection, deliberate misinterpretation by others, false witness against our own person, bitterness, and blame, (real or otherwise). I repeat, God ordains this, God himself is in it, for our good and above all else for his glory.
In the case of the scripture above, David the King was running for his own life, fleeing Jerusalem (out into exile again), and to make matters worse, He was fleeing from his own son Absalom. This had to be the lowest, most humiliating time of his life.
David knew full well that he was only reaping the bitter wages of sin, which he had sown when He denied his God by sleeping with Bathsheba, another man’s wife, and after he had in effect murdered Uriah, her husband and tried to cover it up in hypocrisy until Nathan the Prophet uncovered his sin, and pronounced his judgment.
The Kingdom was split, David had his loyalists, but Absalom had won the rest of the country over to himself, and was leading a rebellion which endangered David’s very life. He had to flee.
At this lowest time, God allowed some of David’s older and even more bitter enemies to emerge, particularly a survivor of the house of Saul, Shimei. As David crossed the Kidron valley, in flight out of the city of Jerusalem, (as Jesus, the Son of David would do one day). Shimei followed him and his band, Harrying them, pelting them with curses and stones, and calling David the Son of Satan, and a “Bloody man”.
One of David’s veterans offered to go and take care of the problem by removing Shimei’s head, something which he could easily have done.
David’s answer is instructive… to paraphrase…“Why would you do that? Maybe God told him to do this …Let him curse, it could be that the LORD has told him to do so! “.
I take something very helpful and profound out of this story. I am too often like the man who would “take the head off” of those who abuse, criticize or lie about me. I want to set the record straight, and to fight and debate. I have found no satisfaction on that track.
What difference does it make? God knows the truth about everyone of us. It hurts to be lied about and maligned, especially when there isn’t a thing you can do about it.
But therein lies the freedom. Only God can set the record straight. Besides that, the worse anyone can ever say about me, isn’t as bad as what the truth has been about me. Without redemption we are all abominable.
Why be so zealous to defend myself? Why waste the effort and energy?
I realize that “A good name is more to be desired than silver and gold”, also that I not only represent my own name, but I am an ambassador of Christ, and of the church I pastor as well as my family. It does matter that the truth be represented, even the truth about myself.
But as in David’s situation, what can you do about it? You can only committ yourself to God, He will set the record straight.
What I like about this story, is that it could be that God allows detractors to go forth, to say all manner of evil against you falsely, to test us and to deal with things in our own heart.
David just submitted to God in the situation, realizing that God was dealing with him, and that was more important at that time than for David to zealously defend his own name. What a radical thought! “Maybe God told him to say that…”.
After all, what matters is the glory of God. What people think about God is what is important. May God teach us to submit to Him in the tough times.