On most Sundays, I publish the Sunday Lesson. They’re nothing more than observations or ideas or studies I’m working on with useful applications. I feel deeply blessed and deeply responsible to write this. I schedule the posts to publish at 1:35. If you miss one, let me know and I will email it to you. You can also sign up for notifications and will get an email anytime I post something. I’m up for all comments and try to respond to them all. Be forewarned that I reserve Sundays for my family. It’s a work in progress, but a goal we’re all growing into. So, if I don’t respond, I’m probably playing chess with my daughter or watching lousy TV with my wife. On an outstanding day, I might catch a couple innings of Braves baseball. With my wife, of course. It’s Sunday.
Have you heard of David and Goliath? Yes. I’m joking. It might be the most well-known story from either the Jewish or Christian scriptures.
But have you read the story of David and Shimei? If you read any of the Hebrew history books, you probably have, but you might not remember. There’s no question that Goliath was huge and monstrous and trained to kill, and David and all of Israel were right to fear him. Goliath hated the Hebrews and, given the chance, he would have grabbed David by the head and squeezed the life right out of him. But Shimei? He was more of a buzzing gnat, flitting around King David and his cohort. An irritation.
So, imagine this. King David – chosen by the Eternal God and loved by his countrymen – is traveling with his cohort, his ‘champions’. Like a rugby scrum, these champions circle the king to protect him because the area he was moving through was of Saul’s heritage, and the people who lived there viewed David as a usurper. Suddenly, a man appears across the hill and begins to berate David. I envision him as a scrawny man, irritated with life, dirty, and mostly naked. He throws curses at the king from afar:
“Off with you. Off with you, man of blood! “Scoundrel! May Yahweh pay you back for the spilled blood of the House of Saul whose sovereignty you have usurped. Yahweh has transferred the sovereign power to Absalom, your son. Now your wickedness has overtaken you, man of blood that you are!” (We’re better at curses now. Just scroll through almost any Twitter feed and you’ll see…)
To make himself even more irritating, he throws rocks at David’s retinue like a petulant second-grader. Then he pulls the ultimate Middle-Eastern disrespect and throws handfuls of dust in the air.
One of David’s champions has an idea. Turning to the King, he says, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and cut his head off.” After all, the king is in the head-chopping business after the whole Goliath affair. And King David – chosen by the Living G – had every royal and cultural right to give the champion permission. But instead, reflecting, he had a moment of humility.
“Let him curse! If Yahweh has said to him, Curse David! what right has anyone to say, Why have you done so? David turned and said to his champion and all his retinue, Why, the son sprung from my own body is now seeking my life: all the more reason for this Benjaminite to do so! Let him curse on, if Yahweh has told him to!”
I’ve probably read this a hundred times and never saw it until now. Maybe it’s the times we live in, with everyone right and everyone wrong and everyone hating anyone who disagrees. But, here is the king – the king! – appointed by G with every right to do as he pleases, openly berated by this gnat of a man, safely across a hillside, far enough away from the king’s men to shout in safety. One of the men offers to rid the king of this fly buzzing in his ear, but the king says, “No”. “Who are we?” he wonders aloud, “Who am I to stop this man? If Yahweh told him to curse me…let him curse.”
As much as anything, this informs us about David’s humility and sense of G’s sovereignty. And my sense, too, is that David wasn’t in any way concerned about his reputation or standing with the men, or with feeling like the king. He knew those things resided in G.
So, let’s consider these things in light of this story:
- Sovereignty and our place in G’s story.
- Relationships and our direction to love found in 1 Corinthians 13.
- How often do we stop to reflect before lashing out?
Meditate on your own sense of humility and willingness to be a fool for the Father. Think hard about your view of G’s sovereignty, and how you love and respect people who G puts in your path. Look back through the day and consider if there was a time you could have shut up for a minute and reflected on the situation before you say anything.
By way of explanation, I label myself as an agnostic Christian. I attend a Southern Baptist church and am comfortable with Roman Catholic and Orthodox theology and all kinds of Protestant thought. For Bibles, I generally use the Jerusalem Bible, the English Standard Version, and the Amplified Bible. A favorite verse is Micah 6:8 where the prophet says:
G has already told you what is right and what to do: do what is right, love loyalty, and walk humbly with G.
To see the Sunday Lesson page go here. If you would like to be alerted to new publications in the Library you can enter your email address at the top of any page to receive notification. Thanks!