Stone Throwing Shimei

Often the most powerful lessons come from the negative experiences and the negative people who impact us. Recorded in 2 Samual 16:5-14, is the account of one such individual, who, I suspect thought he was doing the right thing. BUT WAS HE EVER WRONG! Shimei was a hot tempered man who not only lacked insight into the events surrounding him, but utterly failed to process and execute a correct, self-controlled, and God honouring response.

The background was that Absalom was in rebellion against his father, King David. Having rallied an army to pursue and kill his father to obtain the throne, Absalom employed all the usual forms of deceit and treachery in acquiring followers of his cause. As you would have guest by now, Shimei was one of Absalom’s impetuous supporters.

As you read the account in 2 Samual 16:5-14, it’s easy to get drawn into the shocking display of bad behaviour. However, for today, I want to draw your attention to the right response of David to the bad behaviour of Shimei. While Shimei made a public spectacle of himself, threw stones at David, shouted verbal abuse and personal insults, David refused to retaliate or respond in like manner.

Firstly, David declined the well-intended offer by Abishai… “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and take off his head (2Sa 16:9). David, thinking deeper than superficial, acknowledged the possible sovereign intent of God in this foul exchange (:10). Having quickly reasoned through these bizarre events, David concluded that just as the Lord was using the rebellion of his son Absolum, so also, the Lord must be using abusive Shimei for a higher cause. Leave him alone, and let him curse, for the LORD has told him to. 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 (2Sa 16:11-12). Now, there’s some heavenly logic if ever I heard it.

This is amongst the most bitter lessons for us to accept. Yet, it carries with it a double blessing. First, this is the way of Jesus Christ (2Ti 1:8; 2:3; 3:10-12). Learn to suffer well for God, it’s honouring to Him. Second, in suffering, God has blessing which we can’t usually see at the time of suffering. David recognised this. Typically, God’s blessing is not the blessing we would naturally expect, but something of far greater worth. 1 Peter 4:14, If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.

Throwing stones, be they literal rocks, betrayal, false accusations, or verbal abuse, is never God’s path to blessing, NOT EVER! But responding in a Christlike manner to such abuses while retaining your innocence is pleasing to the Lord and attracts blessing. Therefore, let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good (1 Peter 4:19).

Well, stubborn Shimei was relentless in his madness. As David and his men went on the road, Shimei went along on the hillside opposite him and cursed as he went and threw stones at him and flung dust (2Sa 16:13). In the goodness of God, and the wisdom of David, they travelled on, leaving Shimei to fester in his own juices. David’s group arrived weary at the Jordan. And there he refreshed himself (2Sa 16:14). What a wonderful, God appointed blessing. David moved on from the pain of the abuse and God brought him to a place of rest and refreshment. May this be true in our lives also.

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