Now when King David came to Bahurim, there was a man from the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei the son of Gera, coming from there. He came out, cursing continuously as he came. 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. Also Shimei said thus when he cursed: “Come out! Come out! You bloodthirsty man, you rogue! The LORD has brought upon you all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned; and the LORD has delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom your son. So now you are caught in your own evil, because you are a bloodthirsty man!”
Then Abishai the son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Please, let me go over and take off his head!”
But the king said, “What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? So let him curse, because the LORD has said to him, ‘Curse David.’ Who then shall say, ‘Why have you done so?’”
And David said to Abishai and all his servants, “See how my son who came from my own body seeks my life. How much more now may this Benjamite? Let him alone, and let him curse; for so the LORD has ordered him. It may be that the LORD will look on my affliction, and that the LORD will repay me with good for his cursing this day.” And as David and his men went along the road, Shimei went along the hillside opposite him and cursed as he went, threw stones at him and kicked up dust. 2 Sam. 16: 5-13
In yesterday’s post, I addressed what Matthew Henry calls, “the law of self-preservation;” how the Lord would not have us continually expose our hearts to those who would wound them needlessly. The second half of that law is humility. A humble spirit before the Lord is what keeps us from becoming proud and vindictive in our self-preservation. Humility is the balance needed when we find ourselves in a situation that requires reserving our hearts from another person.
David well understood the importance of humility. He lived his life as one waiting for the promotion by and the justification of the Lord. So often, we use another’s shortcomings as a means of proclaiming our own merits. We seek our identities in abasing others rather than focusing on the character of our Lord Jesus; a trend as devestating to the tenderness of our souls as constantly opening ourselves to those who crush us with their words.
Perhaps David knew then what his son, Solomon, later wrote in Proverbs 26:2: that an undeserved curse has no power over us. Although a “natural” response to Shimei’s curses would have been to asert David’s position, his qualifications, and his authority. He chose, instead, to focus on God’s ability to vindicate him and bring blessings from the curse. He threw himself on God’s justice.
We do not have to surround ourselves by those who constantly tear us down, but neither do we respond to attack by launching our own. Christianity neither runs to the oppressor to embrace hom or to attack him; Christianity runs to Christ and allows His love to spill over all who it meets along the way. This is the true meaning of turning the other cheek. We fall into misplaced martyrdom or baseless rage when we make the attacker our focus over the God who is both walking with us through the journey and waits for us at the end. In all, Christ reigns supreme and longs to give us words of wisdom for every situation when we approach Him in humility and in love.