TRUSTING GOD IN ADVERSITY
By Wayne Reynolds
II Samuel 16:10-12, "And the king said, What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah? so let him curse, because the LORD hath said unto him, Curse David. Who shall then say, Wherefore hast thou done so? And David said to Abishai, and to all his servants, Behold, my son, which came forth of my bowels, seeketh my life: how much more now may this Benjamite do it? let him alone, and let him curse; for the LORD hath bidden him. It may be that the LORD will look on mine affliction, and that the LORD will requite me good for his cursing this day."
The events leading up to these verses actually begin in II Samuel 11, where the Bible records that David committed adultery with Bathsheba, then had her husband killed. David began to have family trouble from that point on. In II Samuel 12, the baby born to David and Bathsheba died in order to show everybody that sin must be paid for. In II Samuel 13, Amnon, the son of David's wife Ahinoam, "fell in love" with Tamar, the daughter of David's wife Maachah. Amnon followed the advice of Jonadab, David's brothers son, and raped Tamar, who afterwards went to live with her brother Absalom. Absalom killed Amnon after two full years, then fled to Talmai, the king of Geshur, his grandad. II Samuel 14 records the return of Absalom to Israel and II Samuel 15 records his rise to power and attempt at overthrowing the throne of David.
This brings us to II Samuel 16. As David flees Jerusalem, Shimei, a Benjamite (remember King Saul was of the tribe of Benjamin), and worshipper of Belial, began to curse David, casting stones and dirt in the air. Abishai, who will become one of David's thirty heroes, said in verse 9, "Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? let me go over, I pray thee, and take off his head." David then says what he says in verse 10-12.
The point of this study is to discover why David stopped Abishai from cutting off Shimei's head.
1. Verse 10, Because God told Shimei to curse. We sometimes have a hard time understanding that God may give anybody permission to curse, but this is what David said. It is certainly not in the perfect will of God for Shimei to do this evil thing, but God is allowing it to happen.
2. Verse 10, Who can stop him? If we try to stop this man from cursing, isn't that the same thing as trying to stop the will of God from being carried out?
3. Verse 11, If my son is seeking my life, why shouldn't this Benjamite also seek my life. David was not willing to strike out against his son, Absalom, and he is unwilling to strike out against Shimei, who is a stranger. Why didn't David defend himself? He knew Absalom's rebellion was the result of his sin with Bathsheba. This brings up a very interesting point. If we have committed sin and then asked God to forgive us and He does forgive us, must we still pay the consequences of that sin? Yes. David is reaping the physical consequences of forgiven sin. The spiritual consequences are laid on Christ at Calvary, forgiven and forgotten, but the physical consequences will be paid on this earth.
4. Verse 12, God may look on my affliction. Note the word, "may". David was completely at God's mercy, knowing he didn't deserve His help. It is good when our friends see our affliction, but it is better when God sees it. Our friends may be able to help us temporarily, but they can help us wrong. God has permanent help for us, and it is the right kind.
5. God may return good for the cursing. David believes that if he patiently endures these terrible circumstances, God will see his brokenness and send blessings instead of cursings. No wonder God called David "a man after mine own heart", Acts 13:22.