2 Samuel 19:15-40 (Part) – Are You Acting Like Shimei?

Posted: August 7, 2018 in 10-2 Samuel

2 Samuel 19:15-40 (Part 1 of 3)
David Returns to Jerusalem

According to the General Social Survey performed by three American universities working together to do the research and publish the results found that 80% of the 58,000 participants surveyed believe that there is some sort of afterlife. It seems that we are innately programmed to believe that there is. It does not matter the social strata in which you live, your religious background or lack thereof, or your family history. We believe in the afterlife. It’s not just an American thing. Every culture has some form of belief in an afterlife state that occurs after the death of the body. Romans 1:20 tells us,

“For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.”

Thus, just because we profess that God does not exist and some actually spend their lives railing against His existence, it does not mean that He does not exist. There are just things that cannot be explained away without the existence of God, the Supreme Being, the Creator. Every culture believes in the afterlife, not by coincidence, not be cultural mandate to create controls over behavior, no, we are wired to believe in the afterlife by God himself. He programs it into our very fabric and essence of who we are. It is no coincidence. However, the statistics of our nation having “evolved beyond the need for God” are alarming according to the survey that I mentioned earlier.

Fewer Americans say they believe in God or pray regularly. According to an article at nbcnews.com, concerning the survey, “In recent years, fewer Americans prayed, believed in God, took the Bible literally, attended religious services, identified as religious, affiliated with a religion, or had confidence in religious institutions,” the team wrote in the journal Sage Open. “The large declines in religious practice among young adults are also further evidence that millennials are the least religious generation in memory, and possibly in American history,” said psychologist Jean Twenge of San Diego State University, who led the study. “Among 18- to 29-year-olds, 30 percent had serious doubts by 2014, more than twice as many as in the late 1980s (12 percent).” Fewer also believe the Bible is the actual word of God. “It was interesting that fewer people participated in religion or prayed but more believed in an afterlife.” “In 1984, 14 percent of Americans believed the Bible ‘is an ancient book of fables, legends, history, and moral precepts recorded by men’ rather than the word of God; by 2014, 22 percent of Americans believed this, a 57 percent increase,” they wrote. In 1998, 49 percent of 18 to 29-year-olds said they were moderately or very religious in 1998. By 2014 this had dropped to 38 percent. And while 15 percent of adults said they were “not religious at all” in 1998, 20 percent did in 2014. “It was interesting that fewer people participated in religion or prayed but more believed in an afterlife,” Twenge said. “It might be part of a growing entitlement mentality – thinking you can get something for nothing.”

There is something to the comment about the “entitlement mentality” in the present living generations. The vast majority of Americans living now did not or have not experienced war on a global scale nor have they seen the economic disaster that was The Great Depression. Virtually all Americans living now think the opulence that we Americans take for granted is simply the way it is. As part of that entitlement mentality, we want to conform the universe toward our desires rather than conforming to the desires of a Supreme Being. Thus, we have created a world where we believe in the afterlife but we determine for ourselves how we get there. We thumb our nose at God and his Word as being a fable and a creation of man himself. When we discount the existence of an omniscient Creator, we can then construct the afterlife of our own choosing. We make the rules of our own end game. We determine how good we are ourselves. Like asking a kid to grade his own paper, we always come out good enough to get to heaven by whatever roads we determine for ourselves.

The kicker of it all is going to be when we do come to the end of our earthly lives and find that there really is a God that is not of our own creation. That there is a God who created us. That there is a God who created all things. That there is a God who inspired men to write His Divine Word and that we will each be judged by its divine and eternal and everlasting truths. While on earth, we make kick dirt at God and throw rocks at him, metaphorically speaking, but we will come to our end and really be judged by Him. What a shocker that is going to be to those who blatantly choose to say that He does not exist and that the afterlife is not some nirvana state of our favorite things but rather the judgment between heaven and hell. What a shocker is that going to be when we find that it was true all along – the whole God thing, the whole sin thing, the whole Jesus is the only way to the Father thing, the whole Bible thing.

That’s the idea that came to mind today as I focused on Shimei in this passage, 2 Samuel 19:15-40, this morning (as part of three blogs on this passage). Over this blog and two others, we will focus on the three characters that are presented (Shimei, Mephibosheth, and Barzillai). Today, we look at Shemei. So, let’s read the passage now and think on Shimei:

15 So the king started back to Jerusalem. And when he arrived at the Jordan River, the people of Judah came to Gilgal to meet him and escort him across the river. 16 Shimei son of Gera, the man from Bahurim in Benjamin, hurried across with the men of Judah to welcome King David. 17 A thousand other men from the tribe of Benjamin were with him, including Ziba, the chief servant of the house of Saul, and Ziba’s fifteen sons and twenty servants. They rushed down to the Jordan to meet the king. 18 They crossed the shallows of the Jordan to bring the king’s household across the river, helping him in every way they could.

As the king was about to cross the river, Shimei fell down before him. 19 “My lord the king, please forgive me,” he pleaded. “Forget the terrible thing your servant did when you left Jerusalem. May the king put it out of his mind. 20 I know how much I sinned. That is why I have come here today, the very first person in all Israel[a] to greet my lord the king.”

21 Then Abishai son of Zeruiah said, “Shimei should die, for he cursed the Lord’s anointed king!”

22 “Who asked your opinion, you sons of Zeruiah!” David exclaimed. “Why have you become my adversary[b] today? This is not a day for execution, for today I am once again the king of Israel!” 23 Then, turning to Shimei, David vowed, “Your life will be spared.”
David’s Kindness to Mephibosheth

24 Now Mephibosheth,[c] Saul’s grandson, came down from Jerusalem to meet the king. He had not cared for his feet, trimmed his beard, or washed his clothes since the day the king left Jerusalem. 25 “Why didn’t you come with me, Mephibosheth?” the king asked him.

26 Mephibosheth replied, “My lord the king, my servant Ziba deceived me. I told him, ‘Saddle my donkey[d] so I can go with the king.’ For as you know I am crippled. 27 Ziba has slandered me by saying that I refused to come. But I know that my lord the king is like an angel of God, so do what you think is best. 28 All my relatives and I could expect only death from you, my lord, but instead you have honored me by allowing me to eat at your own table! What more can I ask?”

29 “You’ve said enough,” David replied. “I’ve decided that you and Ziba will divide your land equally between you.”

30 “Give him all of it,” Mephibosheth said. “I am content just to have you safely back again, my lord the king!”
David’s Kindness to Barzillai

31 Barzillai of Gilead had come down from Rogelim to escort the king across the Jordan. 32 He was very old—eighty years of age—and very wealthy. He was the one who had provided food for the king during his stay in Mahanaim. 33 “Come across with me and live in Jerusalem,” the king said to Barzillai. “I will take care of you there.”

34 “No,” he replied, “I am far too old to go with the king to Jerusalem. 35 I am eighty years old today, and I can no longer enjoy anything. Food and wine are no longer tasty, and I cannot hear the singers as they sing. I would only be a burden to my lord the king. 36 Just to go across the Jordan River with the king is all the honor I need! 37 Then let me return again to die in my own town, where my father and mother are buried. But here is your servant, my son Kimham. Let him go with my lord the king and receive whatever you want to give him.”

38 “Good,” the king agreed. “Kimham will go with me, and I will help him in any way you would like. And I will do for you anything you want.” 39 So all the people crossed the Jordan with the king. After David had blessed Barzillai and kissed him, Barzillai returned to his own home.

40 The king then crossed over to Gilgal, taking Kimham with him. All the troops of Judah and half the troops of Israel escorted the king on his way.

In this passage, we that David showed tremendous mercy and generosity as he returned to Jerusalem. He spared Shimei, restored Mephibosheth, and rewarded the faithfulness of Barzillai. With regard to Shimei, if you remember correctly, when King David was forced to flee from his son Absalom, who coveted his father’s throne, Shimei met the king along the way: “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” (2 Samuel 16:5–6). Shimei blamed David for King Saul’s death during a battle with the Philistines. Saul had, in fact, fallen on his own sword to escape capture by the enemy; however, Shimei accused David of murder and announced that this was the reason Absalom was taking over the kingdom.

David’s men wanted to kill Shimei then and there, but David, in his despair, believed the Lord had sent Shimei to curse him (2 Samuel 16:11–12), and he refused to allow his men to kill Shimei. David and his party resumed their journey, and Shimei continued to follow, cursing and throwing stones and dirt at them (verse 13).

Eventually, Absalom’s rebellion was put down, Absalom was killed, and King David was restored to his throne. Shimei knew that he was now on shaky ground, so he gathered with him over a thousand Benjamites and went to meet David (2 Samuel 19:16–17). Falling on his face, Shimei apologized for his past behavior and begged the king not to hold it against him (verses 18–20). Again King David’s men asked leave to kill Shimei, but again David refused and gave Shimei his oath that he would not kill him.

It seems that Shimei was a thoroughly despicable man, however, and that he persisted in his opposition to David. On his deathbed, David charged Solomon with the task of executing Shimei: “Do not consider him innocent. You are a man of wisdom; you will know what to do to him. Bring his gray head down to the grave in blood” (1 Kings 2:9). The only reason Shimei was still alive was that David was honoring his oath. Solomon showed Shimei mercy, giving him one final chance: as long as Shimei remained in Jerusalem, he would live (verses 36–37). Shimei agreed to the pact, but three years later he left the city. When King Solomon found out, he called for Shimei and told him, “You know in your heart all the wrong you did to my father David. Now the Lord will repay you for your wrongdoing” (verse 44). Shimei was then executed (verse 46).

Shimei so much reminds us of much of America today. We act as though God does not exist. In fact, we are continually moving toward less and less respect for our Creator. We kick dirt in his face and throw rocks at him by saying that his Word is antiquated and out of step with modern times. We say that God’s Word is no longer valid to a culture that has evolved past its need for universal moral truths. We kick dirt in God’s face by saying that we have evolved to the point that we can determine for ourselves what is right and what is wrong. We are now our own enclosed moral universes. We decide what is right and wrong within our own moral universe and you can decide for yourself what is right and wrong within your own moral universe. We kick dirt at God and throw rocks at Him and say that this whole Jesus thing is too hard to believe for one thing. Next, we, then, equalize all religions and say that they all are mere self-help and self-improvement techniques and then move on to say basically as long as you believe in something you will go to heaven. We are Shimei to David when we act in this manner.

However, just as Shimei finds out. The King will return. Then, when we realize that God is real. When we realize that Jesus is real and is the only way to the Father. Many of those who have professed that God does not exist and define their own reality will then be contrite before the Lord. We already see this type of behavior frequently in America. When some disaster strikes in an individual’s life or some regional scale disaster affecting thousands or just anything that rocks us individually or corporately, we break out our God playing cards and start recognizing some form of his existence. Matthew 7:21 tells us, “”Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter.”

Shimei is trying to bargain with the king (David) to make sure his life is spared. He feigns allegiance to the king here but it is only to save his own skin. As we will see in future passages, David knew what Shimei is doing in this passage and ultimately provides Shimei with the justice that he deserved all along. Are you kicking dirt in God’s face but yet try to negotiate with him in hard times? Are you prepared to find out the realities of the afterlife that God defines in His Word? Are you willing to bet your eternity on the fact that you get to define what is right and wrong for yourself? Are you willing to bet your eternity that you are good enough to go to heaven?

The simple truth is that God exists. The simple truth is that since almost the beginning of man’s existence, after being created by God, we have been saddled with sin. The simple truth is that in order to go to heaven and exist in the presence of God, we must be perfect – not just more good than bad. The simple truth is that each one of is disqualified by sin because it makes us imperfect. The simple truth is that one sin, our first sin, disqualifies us from existing in eternity in the presence of God. The simple truth is that our disqualification is compounded by the fact that after our first sin (which is enough by itself and itself alone), we commit lifetimes of sins, mountains and mountains of sin. We are habitual sinners who then will come before God in judgment. On our own merits, with our first sin (plus a lifetime of sins to add on top of that) we are unworthy to go to heaven. On our own merits we should be relegated to the prison that is hell. The only hope that we have is to call on Jesus. We must fully believe that we need him. We must fully believe that He is the Son of God who sacrificed himself on the cross for the sins that you have committed. In is only believing in Him and that He did this most wonderful thing for you that the righteous judge will accept you into his presence for eternity. Only Jesus has the purity and righteous that can overcome our death sentence. It is only through Jesus that we are saved from our just and rightful eternity in hell.

Are you willing to bet your eternity on your current track of thinking? Are you willing to kick dirt in God’s face and throw rocks at Him. You will have to meet Him one day! You will be judged! Saying He does not exist and acting like He does not – does not make Him go away. This is real! Are you willing to bet your eternity on it?

Amen and Amen.

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