2 Samuel 16:1-14

Ziba, a False Servant

16 Now when David had gone on a little beyond the summit, behold, Ziba the servant of Mephibosheth met him with a team of saddled donkeys, and on them were two hundred loaves of bread, a hundred cakes of raisins, a hundred summer fruits, and a jug of wine. And the king said to Ziba, “Why do you have these?” And Ziba said, “The donkeys are for the king’s household to ride, the bread and summer fruit are for the young men to eat, and the wine, for whoever is weary in the wilderness to drink.” Then the king said, “And where is your master’s son?” And Ziba said to the king, “Behold, he is staying in Jerusalem, for he said, ‘Today the house of Israel will restore the kingdom of my father to me.’” So the king said to Ziba, “Behold, all that belongs to Mephibosheth is yours.” And Ziba said, “I prostrate myself; may I find favor in your sight, my lord, the king!”

David Is Cursed

When King David came to Bahurim, behold, a man was coming out from there from the family of the house of Saul, and his name was Shimei, the son of Gera; he was coming out, cursing as he came. He also threw stones at David and all the servants of King David; and all the people and all the warriors were on his right and on his left. This is what Shimei said when he cursed: “Go away, go away, you man of bloodshed and worthless man! The Lord has brought back upon you all the bloodshed of the house of Saul, in whose place you have become king; and the Lord has handed the kingdom over to your son Absalom. And behold, you are caught in your own evil, for you are a man of bloodshed!”

Then Abishai the son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Now let me go over and [a]cut off his head.” 10 But the king said, “[b]What business of mine is yours, you sons of Zeruiah? If he curses, and if the Lord has told him, ‘Curse David,’ then who should say, ‘Why have you done so?’” 11 Then David said to Abishai and to all his servants, “Behold, my son who came out of my own body seeks my life; how much more now this Benjaminite? Leave him alone and let him curse, for the Lord has told him. 12 Perhaps the Lord will look on my [c]misery and [d]return good to me instead of his cursing this day.” 13 So David and his men went on the road; and Shimei kept going on the hillside close beside him, and as he went he cursed and threw stones and dirt at him. 14 And the king and all the people who were with him arrived exhausted, and he refreshed himself there.

When you get negative feedback, criticism, or even someone just being downright nasty, it can be easy to respond with the same negativity. Even worse, it often gets escalated at each exchange, until something much worse than the original insult occurs.

Shimei was cursing David for being a man of bloodshed, and Abishai’s response is to cut off his head. Thankfully, David’s mind was directed toward God, and what He was doing through all of this. This whole situation was part of Nathan’s prophecy after David’s sin with Bathsheba, and David knew he could not fight against God. If this was God’s doing, nothing would change it, though he certainly hoped God had something else in mind, something that would redeem this awful situation.

Ultimately, the lesson for us is to see what God wants to teach us. What can we learn when we are being attacked by negativity (in whatever form)? Don’t retaliate, for that won’t help either party, and it isn’t following the heart of God in any form. Ask God how to respond (or not to respond), seek His direction and counsel, and lean not on your own understanding. He will direct your path, for there is nothing happens that God is not in the middle of.

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