Saul hunted David until the day he died on the battlefield. Now David’s own son, Absalom, was trying to kill him and take his throne. David had more reason than most of us to want to defend himself against the violent threats and curses that he was constantly subject to.
David was a powerful warrior. He was loved and respected by his people and his troops. He was entirely qualified and able to defeat any enemy that threatened him. But David was not the focus of David’s life. David served the Lord. David fought for the Lord and defended the Lord and his people in battle. Looked at like from this point of view and in the context of the greater threats from Saul and Absalom, Shimei’s provocative curses and stone throwing seems much less inflammatory. To Abishai, it was a gross insult, worthy of death but to David, a man after God’s own heart, Shimei’s insults and curses looked more like the tantrum of a frustrated toddler and so he tolerated him in just the same way. David only defended God’s interests. He trusted God to defend David’s interests.
2 Samuel 16:5-12
As King David came to Bahurim, a man came out of the village cursing them. It was Shimei, son of Gera, from the same clan as Saul’s family. He threw stones at the king and the king’s officers and all the mighty warriors who surrounded him. “Get out of here, you murderer, you scoundrel!” he shouted at David. “The Lord is paying you back for all the bloodshed in Saul’s clan. 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, for you are a murderer!”
“Why should this dead dog curse my Lord the king?” Abishai son of Zeruiah demanded. “Let me go over and cut off his head!”
“No!” the king said. “Who asked your opinion, you sons of Zeruiah! If the Lord has told him to curse me, who are you to stop him?” Then David said to Abishai and to all his servants, “My own son is trying to kill me. Doesn’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 today.”
In the passage above we see quite clearly that David is not concerned with defending his own honour or pride. When an angry villager lets loose a tirade of insults and curses directly at the King, David’s immediate response is to assume that the Lord has told him to curse him and, trusting the Lord above all else, he tolerates the abuse. Only then does he add, the very understated hope, that perhaps the Lord will see that he is being wronged and bless him in some way to compensate. My goal is to learn to behave with this level of faith and trust in the Lord. I long to be able to tolerate the slights and injustices I experience every day with the grace of a man after God’s own heart.
2 Samuel 15:23-16:23, John 18:25-19:22, Psalm 119:113-128, Proverbs 16:10-11