We also talked about Shimei, a man who was loyal to Saul. Without knowing the full story, he followed David and his men for quite a while when they were on the run while being pursued by Absalom.
He was quite a nuisance – cursing David, throwing rocks and spewing insults.
Just what you want to hear when your son is trying to kill you so he can be king, right?
And yet, when David’s men offered to behead Shimei and teach him a lesson, David replied with “No! Who asked your opinion, you sons of Zeruiah! If the Lord has told him to curse me, who are you to stop him?”
Then he added, “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 curses 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.” (2 Samuel 16:5-14)
A bigger man than me, that’s for sure. I think I would have taken Abishai up on the beheading offer.
But you know what happens when we turn the other cheek?
We don’t give our enemies ammunition.
Look what occurs with Shimei in 2 Samuel 19:15-23:
Now the men of Judah had come to Gilgal to go out and meet the king and bring him across the Jordan. Shimei son of Gera, the Benjamite from Bahurim, hurried down with the men of Judah to meet King David. With him were a thousand Benjamites, along with Ziba, the steward of Saul’s household, and his fifteen sons and twenty servants. They rushed to the Jordan, where the king was. They crossed at the ford to take the king’s household over and to do whatever he wished.
When Shimei son of Gera crossed the Jordan, he fell prostrate before the king and said to him, “May my lord not hold me guilty. Do not remember how your servant did wrong on the day my lord the king left Jerusalem. May the king put it out of his mind. For I your servant know that I have sinned, but today I have come here as the first from the tribes of Joseph to come down and meet my lord the king.”
Then Abishai son of Zeruiah said, “Shouldn’t Shimei be put to death for this? He cursed the Lord’s anointed.”
David replied, “What does this have to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? What right do you have to interfere? Should anyone be put to death in Israel today? Don’t I know that today I am king over Israel?” So the king said to Shimei, “You shall not die.” And the king promised him on oath.
The Bible doesn’t say what happened to Shimei between the time he hurled insults at David along that path in Bahurim, but I can take a wild guess.
People can’t change people. Only the Holy Spirit can change people.
Elementary logic can then tell us that the Holy Spirit changed Shimei.
And what I love so much about Shimei is his complete humility.
He could have gone on his merry way and just lived his life.
But instead, he chose to go to the person he offended and admit his wrongdoing.
He didn’t blame anyone. He didn’t make excuses for his poor choice. He didn’t try to play it down.
He ‘fessed up and owned up.
And that’s what humility is, isn’t it?
We confess our sin. We take responsibility. We seek forgiveness. We do better next time.
So while David turned the other cheek in obedience to God, God took care of the rest.
Which leads me to believe if we turn the other cheek, if we pick ourselves up and move-on and if we keep traveling with our eyes focused on the mission laid before us, God will take care of the rest.
I think He’s completely capable.