Memo 1080: Piling On
In American football, it's not permitted to have contact with a player after he is down and the referee has blown the whistle. It used to be called 'piling on,' but today it's simply referred to as a late hit or personal foul. The purpose of this study is to help you understand what it will take for you to sit on the throne God gives you, and we're defining the throne as whatever purpose God has for you to fulfill. This week, let's look at someone who was guilty of piling on when David was fleeing the city because of his son's plot to overthrow the government and see how David responded to the 'late hit.'
As David was fleeing, many people came out to greet him and offer solace, but a man named Shimei took the opportunity to speak his mind and told David what he really thought of him. In this week's lesson, we see how David handled this descendant of Saul, who wasn't a big fan of David's life or leadership:
As King David approached Bahurim, a man from the same clan as Saul’s family came out from there. His name was Shimei son of Gera, and he cursed as he came out. He pelted David and all the king’s officials with stones, though all the troops and the special guard were on David’s right and left. As he cursed, Shimei said, “Get out, get out, you murderer, you scoundrel! The Lord has repaid you for all the blood you shed in the household of Saul, in whose place you have reigned. The Lord has given the kingdom into the hands of your son Absalom. You have come to ruin because you are a murderer!”
Then Abishai son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and cut off his head.” But the king said, “What does this have to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? If he is cursing because the Lord said to him, ‘Curse David,’ who can ask, ‘Why do you do this?’” David then said to Abishai and all his officials, “My son, my own flesh and blood, is trying to kill me. How much more, then, this Benjamite! Leave him alone; let him curse, for the Lord has told him to. It may be that the Lord will look upon my misery and restore to me his covenant blessing instead of his curse today" (2 Samuel 16:5-12).
Abishai, one of David's men, wanted to silence Shimei by chopping off his head, which would certainly have been a severe penalty for 'piling on,' the equivalent of a red card in football or soccer. Yet David's response is intriguing as indicated by the question he asked Abishai: "What if the Lord sent this man to curse me?" In fact, David came to the conclusion that God had sent him and chose to put his focus on the hope that God would restore his "covenant blessing." Even though David was on the run, even though one of his subjects was piling on when he was down, David kept his eyes on the Lord.
A BETTER ROLE MODEL
David provides a wonderful example here of not taking matters into our own hands when people oppose or even abuse us. Yet, we now have an even more significant and glorious role mode of what to do when people disrespect us or our throne, and that example is none other than Jesus. Peter wrote,
But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly (1 Peter 2:20b-23).
It's important to trust the Lord not only to find and sit on your throne, but also to trust Him to maintain your throne. Paul wrote this to the Galatians, "Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?" (Galatians 3:3), and it's a good admonition for you as well. If God has made a place for you to flourish and bear fruit, then it's up to God to help you maintain what He has given you.
If someone threatens or disrespects you, do what you can to protect yourself but keep in mind that God may be teaching you something through the trial and that lesson may be your ongoing need to trust Him not just for provision but for protection for what He provided. If someone chooses to "pile on" during your time of trouble, keep your eyes on the Lord and trust Him to restore your fortunes and preserve the throne He has assigned to you. Have a blessed week!