Discover His heart: His mercy and forgiveness – the paradigm to follow
Charisma does not always a good politician make. This is a lesson we’ve learned in recent years, and it certainly was correct about the captivating Absalom. One of the great sorrows of David’s life was the rebellion against him by his son, Absalom. As if that wasn’t painful enough, others came along to kick him when he was down.
@ 2 Samuel 16
Sadly, there are those who take advantage of us when we are fatigued, discouraged and weakened by our situation, and this is where David was in 2 Samuel. Ziba, the servant of Mephibosheth, reported to David that Mephibosheth was attempting to steal back his grandfather Saul’s throne. This news from Ziba made David all the more susceptible to discouragement as Saul’s relative, Shimei, assaulted him with accusations, calling David the murderer of Saul’s family. Though Shimei’s words were untrue, David did not fight back because he believed that God would vindicate him because he was in the right.
Trouble upon trouble! How could things go so wrong for David? Absalom was seeking to kill him, those he had helped in the past had betrayed him, others called him a murderer and his own son slept with his concubines, in plain sight on the roof no less, as prophesied by Nathan after David’s sin in Chapter 11. One time a teenager asked me why the story of David and Bathsheba was in the Bible. To her, the moral of the story was: Do what you want, ask forgiveness and then everything will be alright. As we read together more of David’s story, she saw things in a different light. David had lost much.
@ 2 Samuel 19
While the news of Absalom’s death threw the nation into a victory celebration, David was filled with remorse and grief, “O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you! O Absalom, my son, my son.” (18:33) No doubt David was filled with regret and shared the blame for Absalom’s rebellion because of the prophet Nathan’s words after his own sin with Bathsheba, “Because of what you have done, I will cause your own household to rebel against you.” (2 Samuel 12:11)
Although this was a dark time in the life of David and one filled with consequences, he went on to enjoy many victories because he had a heart of repentance. He returned to Jerusalem to reign once again as king. God did vindicate him in the very words of the one who had cursed him when Shimei cried out, “My lord the king, please forgive me. Forget the terrible thing your servant did when you left Jerusalem.” (19) And David did forgive him, for the moment. He showed kindness to Mephibosheth and rewarded those who had served him well.
David had received mercy from God in the past, and he was eager to show this same mercy to those who had hurt him – Absalom, Ziba, Mephibosheth and Shimei. Jesus spoke of forgiveness and mercy like this in Matthew 18:23-35 with the parable of the servant whose master forgave him a debt yet he was unwilling to forgive a fellow servant of a debt. The outcome was not good. When we’re going through a difficult time, it seems there are always those who will come along to pour salt on ours wound like David had experienced. Just like David, we would do well to remember the many great mercies God has extended to us and to also forgive those who hurt us in this way.
Moving Forward: Remembering your mercy to me, I will forgive those who hurt me or hurt those I love. I pray that I will never be the one who pours salt on someone’s wounds!
Tomorrow @ Psalm 57-59