2 Samuel 16:9 Then Abishai the son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Please, let me go over and take off his head!” (NKJV)
The “dead dog” was Shimei, who was following King David cursing and spitting at him. Abishai, a soldier-defender of David’s, was happy to relieve Shimei of his head in a misguided attempt to defend David’s honor as King. David’s response?
2 Samuel 16:11b “Let him alone, and let him curse; for so the LORD has ordered him” (NKJV)
What a contrast to how we typically respond to rebuke, correction or adversity. Our natural tendency is to be defensive and angered when someone comes against us, even if they try their best to be gentle and loving while doing it.
But David, a “man after God’s own heart” (Act 13.22), recognized that God orders the affairs of our life. Because He was so sensitive to God in His life, He was ready to accept as God’s rebuke even the insulting spectacle of public cursing and being spit at. Instead of being worried about how it made him look or feel, his immediate concern was what the Lord wanted to accomplish in his life through it.
What a contrast to the “self” sensitivity in today’s world. We are ready to chop off anyone’s head who dares “judge” anything we do.
- “Off with their head!” to the friend who confronts us about obvious sin.
- “Off with his head!” to the Pastor who convicts us of our mediocrity with raw Scriptural truth.
- “Off with her head!” to the wife who points out the lack of spiritual leadership and commitment in her husband’s life.
- “Off with their head!” to the person who rebukes you for gossip and criticism.
- “Off with his head!” to the man who dares question our business practices.
- “Off with it’s head!” to the church who dares to advocate higher standards of morality and commitment.
God is looking for the “Davids” of this world, whose primary concern is seeing God’s purpose rather than defending the ever-precious “self”. God’s leading can come in many forms, from gentle admonition to harsh rebuke; from reading God’s Word to the words of other people.
Seek God’s Truth. Change your life to fit.
God is continually seeking to change us into the image of Christ. Are your spiritual eyes and ears alert and open? Or are your defenses armed and ready to “chop the head” off of anything that threatens your self-interest? Are you searching diligently for the Truth, ready and willingly to instantly change anything in your life that doesn’t conform to it?
Learn to repress your natural instinct to defend and protect your reputation and interests. Cultivate a heart for God that is constantly filtering every moment through the question “what truth is God trying to teach me and what should I change in my life because of it?”
God in Heaven, help us to learn to be humble and accept the events of life as Your perfect plan to conform us into the image of Your Son. Rid us of the awful burden of constantly needing to defend our rights and feelings. Give us the wisdom to know Your Truth, and the courage to change our lives in accordance with it. In our Savior’s Name, Amen.
Contemplation: Are you ready to defend yourself at the slightest offense? Do you see adversity and rebuke from others as God’s purpose, or as a personal affront?
Application: See every event and circumstance, good or bad, as a chance to discover God’s purpose. Practice the discipline of NOT worrying about your own feelings and reputation, but be solely concerned with what God is trying to tell you.
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?