“You are my brethren, you are my bone and my flesh.  Why then are you the last to bring back the king?”  2 Samuel 19:12

“Shall any man be put to death today in Israel?  Therefore the king said to Shimel, ‘You shall not die.'”  2 Samuel 19:22,23

Recap:  David, the great king of Israel has been tossed off his thrown.  It was God’s will for David’s sin with Bathsheba.  If you remember, David saw Bathsheba, coveted her, committed adultery with her, got her pregnant and then had her husband, a faithful leader of David’s army, killed to cover up the king’s sin.  Through Nathan, God told David that he would lose his kingship and be forced to flee but would not die.  And through the mercy of God, David would be restored to the kingdom.  So it came to pass that David’s own son Absalom, rose up and overthrew his father and became king.  David had to flee Jerusalem.  However, David was not killed and through a battle where Absalom was not only defeated but killed (much to the sorrow of David), David is now about to reenter Jerusalem as king.

However, David’s entry is not quite the triumphant, all glorious spectacle that we might think.  First, David is across the Jordan River and Absalom has been killed and the people know it.  Yet the elders who are in the city have not called upon David to return.  They have not given a clear indication that they are going to accept David back as king or follow him should he return.  David had the army available to storm back into Jerusalem and take back his thrown by force.  But David has been humbled.  David is tired of the destruction of war.  David knows that his sin is the event that started this.  So David inquires:  what is your plan?  What are your desires?  You who are my brothers; do you want me back or not?  They do want David back and he returns.

David is crossing the Jordan River which is symbolic in his return to the promised land; similar to Gen. Douglas MacArthur wading ashore in the Philippines saying I have returned.  The first to meet David is a man named Shimel.  Now Shimel had two choices based on David’s return; flee from him as far as he could, or come to David and beg mercy.  For you see, when David was down, when he was fleeing Jerusalem in disgrace, Shimel came out and cursed and insulted David.  Shimel had been from the house of Saul, the previous king who, by the Will of God, David replaced.  David could have killed Shimel right then and there but he new his disgrace was at the hand of God.  Now David is returning in power; surely this is the time to take his revenge on this measly, wormy enemy.  David’s captain asks David to allow him to strike this man down.  David says no.  David knows it is by the Will of God that he is returning as king and he is not going to tarnish God’s Will by taking revenge.

Okay, the sticks and stones thing, but what about treason; surely there should be a just punishment for that.  Saul, had one surviving son, Mephibosheth.   Mephibosheth was lame and when David became king the first time, he sent for Mephibosheth.  Mephibosheth naturally assumed David was going to have him killed.  That’s what you did back then to a potential enemy/rival.  Instead David told him that he would live in David’s palace and be treated like one of David’s own sons.  Quite a gift.  Well when David was forced out, Mephiboseth did not accompany David.  He stayed in the palace.  David was told that Mephibosheth stayed behind because he was glad David was deposed and felt that the kingdom of Israel was going to be rightly restored to him; sounds treasonous to me.  Mephibosheth goes out to meet the returning king and King David asks him why he didn’t leave when David left.  Mephibosheth answers that his servant tricked him and lied to David.  Being lame, Mephibosheth could not make it to a donkey himself to follow David and his servant would not help him.  It was the same servant who told David of Mephibosheth’s treachery.  Still, Mephibosheth says to David that he will understand if David decides to have him killed.  He is still after all, his dead enemy’s son.  David tells him to speak of being killed no more and restores his former place.

Yeah! Good for King David.  Why bring these things up; what have they to do with us today?  David’s story is a cautionary story and very relevant for us today.  You see dear brothers and sisters, we have been, are and will be blessed by God.  While we may not become a king or queen, God has many blessings in store for us.  Through those blessings when we feel ourselves ascending, we may find ourselves sorely tempted by that success by Satan.  Notice it was after Jesus Christ’s baptism, the revelation that He is God’s Son, that Satan took Him aside to tempt Him.  But unlike Christ, David and you and I might give in to the temptation.  While God will forgive us for our sin, that doesn’t mean, like in the case of David, there will not be consequences.  There will be those when we are feeling those consequences, when we may be at a low point, who will insult us, treat us horribly, gloat over our troubles; some may be strangers, sadly some will be close friends even family members.

Yet, like David, Our Heavenly Father will restore us.  God will have mercy on us and bring us back.  And……..we may find ourselves tempted again.  This time the temptation might be in the form of taking revenge or we might even think enacting justice on those who kicked us when we were down.  David’s example shows us how we should respond.  We should tell Satan to get behind us; resist him in the Name of Jesus Christ so that he will flee.  We need to remember the mercy that Our Heavenly Father is having with us and return that same mercy to those who have done us wrong; whether they repent to us or not.

Jesus Christ tells a parable illustrating David’s humble response.  He tells of the wicked servant; who owed his master a great debt.  When the master demanded repayment, the servant pleaded with the master for mercy because he could not repay.  The master relented and forgave the servant the entire debt.  However, one of the servant’s fellow servant owed the first servant a debt.  When the first servant demanded repayment, the second servant asked for mercy because he could not repay.  Of course the first servant would show the same mercy to the second servant that the master had shown to him.  Well he’s not called evil for nothing.  For the first servant not only does not forgive the debt but throws the second servant into prison until he can repay the debt.  But evil gets his due for being evil.  For the master hears of the treachery of the forgiven servant, calls him to come before the master, reinstates the debt and tosses the first servant in prison.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, we praise Your Most Holy Name for the mercy that you show us instead of the judgement we deserve.  Thank you for sending Your Son Jesus Christ to take our deserved punishment.  Intercede with Your Spirit when we are tempted to pass judgement or take revenge on others whom we feel have wronged us.  That in being merciful we are living a life closer to You and living Praise to Your Name.  In the name of Jesus Christ we pray.  Amen

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