Alas, Absalom was finally dead, and David had once again survived after being sought after (to be killed) by another person… And now, it was time for David to return to Jerusalem.
By then, David would have had made a number of friends, and a number of enemies too. And on his way back, he came across three of them, each having a different back story that would relate them to David.
Let us look at what happened and how David reacted when he saw them…
Remembering the good…
Two of them who David met along the way were Mephibosheth and Barzillai (Anyone thinking of naming their son(s) after them? Anybody? Kidding…). Anyway, one of them had been waiting anxiously for David to return in peace, such that he had not been taking good care of himself. And the other came down to escort David across the Jordan.
It is evident that these two people respected David enough for them to do those things. And David here also treated them very kindly. But who were these people to him?
Mephibosheth was the lame son (As in someone whose feet were weak, not the OTHER kind of lame…) of Jonathan, who was the dearest friend of David. In the past, Jonathan treated David very well like a brother and even put his own life on the line to save him from crazy Saul. And Barzillai was a rich old man who provided for David when he was in Mahanaim.
David had remembered the love and kindness of Jonathan, and he would repay that through Jonathan’s son (2 Samuel 9). David remembered the kindness and generosity of Barzillai, and he treated the elderly man with kindness, and even kissed and blessed him as well.
David did not take the kindness of others for granted and made sure he knew how to treat them right.
Forgiving the bad…
The other person whom David met was opposite to Mephibosheth and Barzillai. Shimei had once gone on a cursing spree against David and even threatened him with stones and dust (2 Samuel 16: 5-7). And now he came scurrying back to David begging him for forgiveness.
If you were David then, what would do or think?
“Oh yea, you better be sorry!!! You’re in for a world of hurt, brother!!!”
Would you be thinking of giving this guy some payback? Honestly, if I were David, I would be at least tempted to teach this bloke a lesson.
But instead, David did not lift a finger against him. Or a fist… Or a sword… David showed Shimei mercy and let him go, and even promised him that (Although David would later have his son, Solomon, “take care” of Shimei).
Despite what Shimei had done to him, David did not give in to any emotions or took vengeance upon himself. He also knew the current situation well and knew how to act. Let’s also not forget that David also kept his cool even when he was being assaulted by Shimei. He left the matter and outcome in the hands of God.
“See how my son who came from my own body seeks my life. How much more now may this Benjamite? Let him alone, and let him curse; for so the Lord has ordered him. It may be that the Lord will look on my affliction, and that the Lord will repay me with good for this cursing today…”
– 2 Samuel 16: 11-12
In addition, at the beginning of the chapter, David also did not retaliate or lash out against Joab after he had made that sharp and insensitive remark/accusation against David (2 Samuel 19: 5-8).
As we have seen in this chapter, regardless of who went to meet David, whether good or bad, David treated them with kindness and mercy. He remembered the kindness of those who had shown great care and love for him and did not harm them like a dog that bites the hand that feeds them. Or like a cat scratching the hand that pets them. Or like a hamster that… You get the idea.
And on the other hand, David did not take his chance to get back at his enemy out of personal satisfaction. Instead, he forgave him.
David had done what the Lord Jesus Christ had taught us to do, and that is to love our neighbours as ourselves, and also to love our enemies and not take vengeance against them. David was someone who loved the Lord, and I think that’s the main driving force behind his actions towards these people.
Likewise, if we love the Lord with all our strength, all our heart and all our soul, would we dismiss the kindness of others shown to us? If we love the Lord and listen to His words, would we be constantly seeking to have our vengeance upon our enemies?
And to conclude the sharing, here are some verses I’d like to lazily share all of them at one go instead of spreading them throughout this posting:
But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil…
– Luke 6: 35
But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you…
– Matthew 5: 44
You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbour as yourself. I am the Lord…
– Leviticus 19: 18
And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbour as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices…
– Matthew 12: 33
May we remember to love our friend and our enemies like the Lord Jesus had, and may God bless us and deal kindly with us all the days of our lives…