David spent many hours as a young man in the fields tending sheep and listening to God. Evidence of knowing himself was displayed in his first interactions with King Saul when he volunteered to fight the giant, Goliath. Yesterday I highlighted his choice to forego the armor Saul offered because it wasn’t him. He knew who he was and he knew who God was, enabling him to make a difficult choice.
Near the end of David’s life, his son Absalom, plotted to overthrow him as king and claim the throne for himself. David, and those loyal to him, fled Jerusalem, seeking refuge outside the city. On the way, they encountered opposition from a man from Saul’s clan. Thinking David’s reign was coming to an end, Shimei spoke out against the Lord’s anointed, spewing hate previously held in check. Notice David’s response to the accusations. I believe the choices he made his entire life to walk in his true identity as God’s chosen enabled him to respond with humility and acceptance.
5As 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. 6He threw stones at the king and the king’s officers and all the mighty warriors who surrounded him. 7“Get out of here, you murderer, you scoundrel!” he shouted at David. 8“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!” 9“Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king?” Abishai son of Zeruiah demanded. “Let me go over and cut off his head!” 10“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?”2 Samuel 17:5-10
Absalom’s attempts to overthrow David did not work and ended badly for Absalom. As David and his men returned to the city, Shimei approaches them again. This time in a much different frame of mind. He fears for his life, realizing that his rash behavior may not go unnoticed now that David is returning to the throne.
As the king was about to cross the river, Shimei fell down before him. 19“My lord the king, please forgive me,” he pleaded. “Forget the terrible thing your servant did when you left Jerusalem. May the king put it out of his mind. 20I know how much I sinned. That is why I have come here today, the very first person in all Israel to greet my lord the king.” 21Then Abishai son of Zeruiah said, “Shimei should die, for he cursed the Lord’s anointed king!” 22“Who asked your opinion, you sons of Zeruiah!” David exclaimed. “Why have you become my adversary today? This is not a day for execution, for today I am once again the king of Israel!” 23Then, turning to Shimei, David vowed, “Your life will be spared.”2 Samuel 19:18-23
Once again, David rose above the situation. I believe it is because he completely identified as deeply loved and chosen by God. He didn’t need revenge; he didn’t need to prove anything. He knew who he was and whose he was.
I want to be this kind of person. I want to know deeply who I am and whose I am. When tough decisions need to be made I desire humility over pride, love over revenge. That will happen when I spend the necessary time in stillness and solitude with my Lord, listening to his voice, identifying with his truth, exposing the lies. It is consistent, hard work but the benefits are out of this world!
How about you? What kind of person do you want to be? How will you get there? Are you on the road to becoming the best of who you were created to be?