READ: 2 Samuel 15-16
THINK: The Princess Bride is one of the greatest movies ever made. If you disagree with that statement then you are wrong. 🙂 Among the many great scenes in the movie is this particularly brilliant one where Wesley, still too weak to fight or really even to stand up, intimidates Prince Humperdinck, by insulting him and challenging him to fight “to the pain.” The think that always cracks me up when watching is when Wesley calls him a “warthog-faced buffon” and the prince responds, “That may be the first time in my life a man has dared insult me!” Why? Because he’s a prince! And people know better than to insult those with the power to end their lives.
Or at least people should know better. In 2 Samuel 16, Shimei didn’t seem to know better. He hurled insults and rocks and dirt at King David. He accused David of things that weren’t true. He heaped scorn upon him. And that thing that made it particularly dumb was that David wasn’t traveling alone. All of his bodyguards and warriors were right there with him. All David had to do was give the order and this guy was dead. In an instant. It even got so bad that Abishai asked for permission to go cut Shimei’s head off.
As I search my own heart, I’m not sure I’d have responded the same way that David did. I’d like to think I would have, but I know better. I know the way my heart feels when I am insulted. I know how it reacts when I am accused. I know what feelings arise when ridicule – particularly that which is untrue or undeserved – is hurled my way. Pride wells up within me, and anger burns at the one who would dare to tear me down. I think if I were king, Shimei might well have been headless.
How about you? Have you ever been insulted? Lied about? Ridiculed? Harassed? How do you respond when it happens? Do you want to cry out for justice, and defend yourself, and insist on fairness? Do you long to execute revenge on the one who has wronged you?
David didn’t. He had a profound awareness of his identity in God and a complete assurance of God’s protective love. He was willing to leave it all up to a God he knew was sovereign. And I think God calls us to do the same. That doesn’t mean that we cannot stand up for the truth and deny false charges. But it does mean that we cannot harbor rage, pride, or revenge in our hearts and that we can stand against the lie but extend grace and love to the one who told it. And why? Because it is God who vindicates us and because we know exactly who we are in him. We know that we are not the words that people say about us but rather we are the precious sons and daughters of a Sovereign King who loves us deeply. That changes the equation in a profoundly liberating way.
PRAY: Thank God for his protection. Ask him to help you submit to his will and trust him for justice rather than trusting yourself and operating out of your own pride.