Shimei and God’s Sovereignty
Would you ever think that God would send someone to yell and scream at you in your darkest hour?
David is experiencing the darkest hour of his life. His son Absalom has willfully taken the throne from him. In order to avoid bloodshed, David leaves Jerusalem in a hurry. Escaping out through the back of the city, he crossed barefoot and in tears over the Mount of Olives. Along the way he encountered some friends and one enemy.
As David descended the east side of the Mount of Olives past a village called Baruhim, “…a man came out of the village cursing them. It was Shimei son of Gera, from the same clan as Saul’s family…” 2 Samuel 16:5.
Many years before, David came into power as the second king of Israel. Saul, his predecessor, was an ungodly ruler who had done what was wrong to many nations. When David ascended to power, the People of Israel took it upon themselves find and kill as many of Saul’s family members. It was unjust, but that was how they did things back then.
Shimei survived the bloodletting and carried with him vengeful resentment. Shimei lived a powerless existence. He lived in the shadow of Saul and a blood bath. Most would have considered him lucky, but hatred settled deep in his heart and now, at this moment, he felt powerful.
He threw stones at the king and the king’s officers and all the might warriors who surrounded him.
“Get out of here, you murderer, you scoundrel! He shouted at David.
“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!
Finally, Shimei would get his pound of flesh, finally he would get justice. David was at his weakest point and now he could take a stab at him, if only with words. Shimei was emboldened by David’s demeanor and shame.
David’s long-time soldier, became indignant.
“Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king?” Abishai son of Zeruiah demanded. “Let me go over and cut off his head!” Abishai, Joab’s brother, was ready to take this pathetic man’s head. This is how Abishai and most of David’s warrior buddies respond — with violence.
David stopped him: verse 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?”
David was right, the sons of Zuriah were hot tempered and always quick to settle a matter in blood. There was not lie to the fact that David’s kingdom was covered wall-to-wall in blood. But even though what Shimei said, had truth, there were some lies mixed in his curse. Yet, David, doesn’t look at the lies to determine if this was a God thing. He puts everything into his perspective of God.
Then David said to Abishai and to all his servants, “My own son is trying to kill me. Doesn’t this relative of Saul have even more reason to do so? Leave him alone and let him curse, for the LORD has told him to do it. And perhaps the LORD will see that I am being wronged and will bless me because of these cruses today.” So, David and his men continued down the road, and Shimei kept pace with them on a nearby hillside, cursing and throwing stones and dirt at David.
David had a relationship with God that put everything that happened to him through the lens of that relationship. David knew that what was happening to him was from God. He knew that God did not cause it to happen, but that He allowed it to happen. He didn’t separate God’s sovereignty over anyone’s life, even this man who misspoke for God.
Shimei did have some truth to his words. This was God paying David back, but not in the way Shimei saw it.
David knew that this was the fulfillment of the Word of the Lord spoken to him by Nathan the prophet when his adultery and murder was uncovered.
2 Samuel 12 v9-12
“Why, then, have you despised the word of the LORD and done this horrible deed? For you have murdered Uriah the Hittite with the sword of the Ammonites and stolen his wife. From this time on, your family will live by the sword because you have despised me by taking Uriah’s wife to be your own.
This is what the LORD says: Because of what you have done, I will cause your own household to rebel against you. I will give your wives to another man before your bery eyes, and he will go to bed with them in public view. You did it secretly, but I will make this happen to you openly in the sight of all Israel.”
David remembered these words that pierced his soul as he fled out of Jerusalem and over the Mount of Olives. Shimei was not speaking for God but was used by God to remind David of the actual words that God spoke through a real prophet, Nathan.
David acknowledged God’s sovereignty during this painful time in his life because he knew God. David could not see anything or anyone other than God being in control through this pain and he was right.
God is in control of our lives.
He isn’t the cause of every trouble, but the trouble is always within His control.
For many of us, that’s a painful thing to say. If God is in control, why does He let things “get out of control?” If He rules over everything, even Satan, why does He let evil exist and pain thrive in everyone’s lives.
David had those same feelings. David was losing everything, except his relationship with God Almighty. How do we know this? Listen to this psalm that David wrote from this experience:
O LORD, how many are my foes!
Many are rising against me;
Many are saying of my soul,
“There is no salvation for him in God.” Selah
But you, O LORD, are a shield about me,
My glory, and the lifter of my head.
I cried aloud to the LORD,
And he answered me from his holy hill. Selah
I lay down and slept;
I woke again, for the LORD sustained me.
I will not be afraid of many thousands of people
Who have set themselves against me all around.
Arise, O LORD!
Save me, O my God!
For you strike all my enemies on the cheek;
You break the teeth of the wicked.
Salvation belongs to the LORD;
Your blessing be on your people! Selah
Psalm 3 (ESV)
David felt the weight of this tragedy and even though he knew it was because of his own doing, he still sought God to save him. He got himself into this mess and God was the only one that could get him out of it.
You see, God allowed David to go through this pain so that David would cry out to God for salvation. David was taking matters into his own hands and even though he gave lip service to God, his actions resulted in adultery and murder.
Shimei operated under the sovereignty of God, even though he got some details wrong because his heart was not God’s heart but vengeance.
Have you gone through a really tough time in your life and wondered, where is God at? It may be or not be your fault, but the pain seems so great to bear and you just ask God, “Why?”
Don’t worry, it’s okay to feel that way. God is not emotionally unstable; He can handle tough questions when our hearts are sincere before Him. There is no way around it, God gets all the credit for the pain that we experience as his children. He can end it at any time, and He will end it, when the time is right.
David felt the pain and took the credit for the wrongdoing, but he cried out to God to save him. He changed his thinking and saw that his solutions were the wrong solutions. He realized that God was in control of everything and he pleaded to God to change his circumstances.
We are blessed to have the whole story of David. We can see the journey and see the conclusion. David was saved from this situation, he returned to power and looked to live peacefully in his city of peace. God inspired him to write psalms and to forgive others. David’s trouble did not last always, he believed in the God who was in control and you can too.
Your story is still being written out. Let me encourage you to get alone with God and speak with him. If you feel he’s wrong, tell Him. If you know you’re wrong, confess to Him. Jesus came that we might have a relationship with God the Father, Himself and the Holy Spirit.
Talk to the Father, He will listen.
Are you doubting that God is in control? Let me encourage you and let you know that He is. He will work it all out for good for those that love Him and are called according to His purpose. It’s His plan and He never fails. Hold on to the promises of God when it gets real dark and the pain is more than you can bear and you will experience His love which is unlike anyone else’s.