Who am I…?
King David, on the run from his son Absalom, encounters a relative of the late King Saul named Shimei. This guy starts hurling insults and curses against David and his people.
As David and his party passed Bahurim, a man came out of the village cursing them. It was Shimei son of Gera, a member of Saul’s family. He threw stones at the king and the king’s officers and all the mighty warriors who surrounded them. “Get out of here, you murderer, you scoundrel!” he shouted at David. “The LORD is paying you back for murdering Saul and his family. You stole his throne, and now the LORD has given it to your son Absalom. At last you will taste some of your own medicine, you murderer!” – 2 Samuel 16:5-8
However, David does something very unusual in response. He keeps his men from harming Shimei and then says the following.
“No!” the king said. “What am I going to do with you sons of Zeruiah! If the LORD has told him to curse me, who am I to stop him?” Then David said to Abishai and the other officers, My own son is trying to kill me. Shouldn’t this relative of Saul have even more reason to do so? Leave him alone and let him curse, for the LORD has told him to do it. And perhaps the LORD will see that I am being wronged and will bless me because of these curses.” – 2 Samuel 16:10-12
Perhaps this is where Solomon first heard the following words of wisdom that he wrote down.
Do not rejoice when your enemies fall into trouble. Don’t be happy when they stumble. For the LORD will be displeased with you and will turn his anger away from them. – Proverbs 24:17-18
Paul further expounded on that concept and raised the bar even further.
See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to everyone else. – 1 Thesalonians 5:15
However, Jesus probably put it best.
“You have heard that the law of Moses says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and on the unjust, too. If you love only those who love you, what good is that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” – Matthew 5:43-48
Eventually Shimei did pay for his crimes. But it was he himself that brought that calamity on his head. David did not do it. God judged him.
Father, please help me to remember that you are the judge. I need to leave things in your hands more often than not. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
I’m not God. Jan