(2 Samuel 16:5-14 ESV) 5 When King David came to Bahurim, 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. 6 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. 7 And Shimei said as he cursed, “Get out, get out, you man of blood, you worthless man! 8 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.” 9 Then Abishai the son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and take off his head.” 10 But the king said, “What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? If he is cursing because the LORD has said to him, ‘Curse David,’ who then shall say, ‘Why have you done so?'” 11 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. 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.” 13 So David and his men went on the road, while Shimei went along on the hillside opposite him and cursed as he went and threw stones at him and flung dust. 14 And the king, and all the people who were with him, arrived weary at the Jordan. And there he refreshed himself.
Well, this is just uncomfortable. No, really. David was in a very difficult place. His son, Absalom was trying to wrestle the kingdom from his hands. If that wasn’t enough, a foul-mouthed descendant of Saul had showed up and was taking out his frustrations on the king. We are told that Shimei was cursing at David, throwing stones at him, and flinging dirt in his direction. Sounds like a crazy man doesn’t it? (Shimei actually had some valid reasons that we won’t get into today)
In reading this, I thought about times I’ve had people just “go off” on me. I know that you’ve experienced the same thing in your life. I remember one lady screaming, “Preacher, one of these days I’m gonna split hell wide open, and it’s gonna be your fault.” That was a bit difficult to take! Another time, I had a church member tell me, “Preacher, if you can’t live on $150 per week, you don’t deserve to live.” Trust me, I could tell you some doozies…
Leaders tend to have targets painted on their backs. Whatever, or wherever you lead, there will be people who resent your position, and disagree with your decisions.
Parents get disrespected all the time. It’s unsettling when a child you have raised disrespects you to your face. It’s devastating. Just ask David about Absalom.
David’s response to Shimei was gracious. He was surrounded by his personal bodyguards and could have had him killed with a hand gesture. In fact, Abishai offered to take him out. A nod from the head of David would have sealed his fate.
David was fully aware of his own sins. He had recently been confronted by Nathan for his sin with Bathsheba and the planned assassination of her husband, Uriah. He was guilty. If not for the grace of God, he could have been under judgment himself. It may be that his own forgiveness allowed him to extend some patience to Shimei.
I’m reminded of the New Testament Scripture that instructs, “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 6:14-15 ESV)
This story had a happy ending. Although it was a troubling incident, we are told, “The king, and all the people who were with him, arrived weary at the Jordan. And there he refreshed himself.” (Verse 14)
So, the next time someone curses you, hurls stones your direction, and flings dirt in your face… take a step back, breathe deeply, and extend grace… for there was a time when the Lord extended His hand of grace to you. Refresh yourself in that knowledge and move on to a calmer environment.
PRAYER: Realizing my imperfections, I thank You today for grace. I certainly don’t deserve it. Help me to extend that grace to others who may have valid reasons to be upset and frustrated with me. Bring peace. And let it start with me. Amen.