LEAVE IT WITH ME
Spirit of God, instruct me as I open your Word today. Teach me so that I can better serve you.
Read 2 SAMUEL 16
David and Ziba
16 When David had gone a short distance beyond the summit, there was Ziba, the steward of Mephibosheth, waiting to meet him. He had a string of donkeys saddled and loaded with two hundred loaves of bread, a hundred cakes of raisins, a hundred cakes of figs and a skin of wine.
2 The king asked Ziba, “Why have you brought these?”
Ziba answered, “The donkeys are for the king’s household to ride on, the bread and fruit are for the men to eat, and the wine is to refresh those who become exhausted in the wilderness.”
3 The king then asked, “Where is your master’s grandson?”
Ziba said to him, “He is staying in Jerusalem, because he thinks, ‘Today the Israelites will restore to me my grandfather’s kingdom.’”
4 Then the king said to Ziba, “All that belonged to Mephibosheth is now yours.”
“I humbly bow,” Ziba said. “May I find favor in your eyes, my lord the king.”
Shimei Curses David
5 As King David approached Bahurim, a man from the same clan as Saul’s family came out from there. His name was Shimei son of Gera, and he cursed as he came out. 6 He pelted David and all the king’s officials with stones, though all the troops and the special guard were on David’s right and left. 7 As he cursed, Shimei said, “Get out, get out, you murderer, you scoundrel! 8 The Lord has repaid you for all the blood you shed in the household of Saul, in whose place you have reigned. The Lord has given the kingdom into the hands of your son Absalom. You have come to ruin because you are a murderer!”
9 Then Abishai son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and cut off his head.”
10 But the king said, “What does this have to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? If he is cursing because the Lord said to him, ‘Curse David,’ who can ask, ‘Why do you do this?’”
11 David then said to Abishai and all his officials, “My son, my own flesh and blood, is trying to kill me. How much more, then, this Benjamite! Leave him alone; let him curse, for the Lord has told him to. 12 It may be that the Lord will look upon my misery and restore to me his covenant blessing instead of his curse today.”
13 So David and his men continued along the road while Shimei was going along the hillside opposite him, cursing as he went and throwing stones at him and showering him with dirt. 14 The king and all the people with him arrived at their destination exhausted. And there he refreshed himself.
The Advice of Ahithophel and Hushai
15 Meanwhile, Absalom and all the men of Israel came to Jerusalem, and Ahithophel was with him. 16 Then Hushai the Arkite, David’s confidant, went to Absalom and said to him, “Long live the king! Long live the king!”
17 Absalom said to Hushai, “So this is the love you show your friend? If he’s your friend, why didn’t you go with him?”
18 Hushai said to Absalom, “No, the one chosen by the Lord, by these people, and by all the men of Israel—his I will be, and I will remain with him. 19 Furthermore, whom should I serve? Should I not serve the son? Just as I served your father, so I will serve you.”
20 Absalom said to Ahithophel, “Give us your advice. What should we do?”
21 Ahithophel answered, “Sleep with your father’s concubines whom he left to take care of the palace. Then all Israel will hear that you have made yourself obnoxious to your father, and the hands of everyone with you will be more resolute.” 22 So they pitched a tent for Absalom on the roof, and he slept with his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel.
23 Now in those days the advice Ahithophel gave was like that of one who inquires of God. That was how both David and Absalom regarded all of Ahithophel’s advice.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectAre you facing temptations to believe the worst about someone, defend yourself, or claim your rights? How does the Lord want you to handle this?
We’re given a behind-the-scenes view of the opposing sides in the civil war. David’s camp faces treachery linked to his predecessor, Saul. Absalom gives attention to how he can further humiliate David.
David was kind to Saul’s grandson, Mephibosheth, treating him as family (chapter 9) rather than removing his head! But where is he now? Ziba, seizing an opportunity, lavishes gifts on David and reports that Mephibosheth is back in Jerusalem hoping for David’s overthrow and the return to power of Saul’s family. David impulsively disinherits Mephibosheth and Ziba benefits—see chapter 19 for the next installment! David is then pelted with stones and cursed by the bold Shimei, another of Saul’s relations.
David is anything but impulsive, which recalls Peter’s description of Jesus who, in the face of threats, ‘entrusted himself to him who judges justly’ (1 Peter 2:23). Everything can be safely left in God’s hands, even when our experience is tough and draining. Meantime, confusion is sown in Absalom’s camp. The spy Hushai convinces Absalom of his loyalty but (plot spoiler) will eventually play a major role in ensuring his defeat. Ahithophel speaks with the authority of God, but his advice produces an act of bravado tantamount to a war crime (v 22). As with many who oppose God, there is power to do evil, but victory will never be forthcoming.
Where can you somehow follow the example of David’s treatment of Mephibosheth and Shimei today?
Father, forgive me when I judge others unfairly. Help me to see through the lenses of your eyes, to extend the grace and mercy you have shown me.
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