December 27, 2021
Scripture: Abishai the son of Zeruiah answered, “Shall not Shimei be put to death for this, because he cursed the LORD’S anointed?” But David said, “What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah, that you should this day be as an adversary to me? Shall anyone be put to death in Israel this day? For do I not know that I am this day king over Israel?” 2 Samuel 19:21-22 ESV
Observation: With the death of Absalom, the civil war had ended. Now it was time for David and his loyalists to return to Jerusalem and restore order to the kingdom. But what about those who had supported Absalom’s coup? What about those who were disrespectful and unkind toward their ruler? Abishai reasoned that treasonous Shimei deserved the death sentence for cursing the king. Shimei, who had also scattered dust and thrown stones at David when he was on the run, was now repentant (having confessed his sins against the king, verses 18-19). So David pardoned Shimei. Why? Solely because Shimei repented?
Takeaway: In the story of Jesus forgiving the woman caught in the act of adultery, Jesus called out the religious leaders for hypocritically seeking justice without mercy. Indeed, Christ invited any without sin to cast the first stone at the adulterous woman (John 8:7). David also committed adultery and even murdered an innocent man to cover his tracts. And like the forgiven woman, David received unfathomable mercy from his Lord. So David’s confidence in Yahweh’s love and forgiveness, and his thankfulness to the Lord for reuniting the kingdom under his restored leadership, eased any concern of those who might again turn on him. Moreover, David witnessed within his own family that revenge only widens the gap, but forgiveness and mercy bridge the divide.
As this text applies to our lives, we would do well to remember that we are no different than Shimei. All of us were once “alienated and hostile in mind” to our King. And yet our merciful Monarch bridged the gulf of our sins in his body to present us “holy and blameless” before God our Father (Colossians 1:21-22). And like David, when we consider the extent of the forgiveness we have received and entrust ourselves to our Lord’s care and calling on our lives, we need not fear reprisal from those we forgive.
Prayer: Father God, we thank you for bridging over our sins through the sacrifice of your Son. Would you please help us to trust in your care and calling on our lives that we might courageously forgive our enemies without fear of reprisal? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling