Today’s reading: 2 Samuel 16-18 John 5:1-24
An older couple was on a cross country trip and they stopped at a roadside restaurant for lunch. As they got up to leave, the woman forgot her glasses on the table. They were several miles down the road before she realized she didn’t have them and to make matters worse, her husband had to travel quite a distance down the road before they could find a place to turn around. The old man fussed and complained all the way back to the restaurant. He berated her for her foolishness and stupidity. How could she be so thoughtless! When they finally arrived, as the old woman got out of the car to retrieve her glasses the old man said, “Well, as long as you’re going back in there, you may as well get my hat, too.”
Flattery may be deceiving and criticism is always easier to find than it is to take.
There is no doubt that David was very troubled in his heart when he temporarily abandoned his throne and fled Jerusalem to escape the rebellion being lead by his son. He had not traveled far until he met Ziba the caretaker of Mephibosheth’s estate. Yes, the same Mephibosheth that sat at David’s table. Ziba had brought donkeys for transportation and provisions for the journey. He also brought news that Mephibosheth had gone to take advantage of the political turmoil and try to assert himself as king. While we are still struggling beneath the weight of bad news we seem to accept more bad news without question. David was no different, he accepted Ziba’s claim without question and immediately gave him ownership of all that was Mephibosheth’s, an action that David would later amend. It would seem that while David was down Ziba had found an opportunity to ‘cash in’ on the situation.
Next David and his band encountered Shimei who cursed and berated David, pelted him with stones and threw dirt towards the king as an insult. Shimei had found his moment now that David was down he would avenge his family of all that had happened to his relative Saul. David did not silence Shimei but rather said, “It may be that the Lord will see my distress and repay me with good for the cursing I am receiving today.”
Listening to criticism is not often pleasant. Moments of facing guilt, moments of contrition, moments when we mortify our self-esteem, moments when we must bear the weight of being displeasing to ourselves are essential to our growth. David knew fully all of the areas in which he had failed. He also knew of the grace of a merciful God, an ever present help in time of need. Today be mindful of that grace that was manifest for us even while we were yet in our sin. David does not stand as an shining example of perfection but rather as an example of forgiveness.