“Perhaps the LORD will look on my affliction and return good to me instead of his cursing this day.”
2 Samuel 16:12
As David and his retinue leave Jerusalem, they have two disheartening encounters.
The first is a meeting with Ziba, the servant of Mephibosheth. David had been taking care of Mephibosheth as a way to fulfill his promise to Jonathan and Ziba brought out supplies with the false report that Mephibosheth was staying in Jerusalem expecting that the kingdom of Israel would be given to him. It is later (2 Samuel 19:24-30) revealed that Mephibosheth had no such thought process. But the damage was done. David was given the impression that someone he had done well by was against him.
The second is being shouted at and generally harassed by a relative of Saul named Shimei. This man throws rocks and dirt at David and those who are with him and curses David as he goes. Abishai wants to behead the man for his cheek, but David prevents it. Shimei repents of this action and David forgives him (2 Samuel 19:16-23), but it was still a disheartening moment in an already difficult time.
These two men are a reminder that there can be people who make things worse when things are already bad. David was already fleeing his home in order to avoid being killed by his own son, but to add a feeling of being betrayed by someone you had only ever done good things for and being harassed and pelted with rocks and dirt when you are already down is adding insult to injury. When things are difficult in my life, it is possible that people I have only done good for will seem to turn on me. When things are tough, there may be people who abuse me and tell me that I brought it on myself.
These two men are also a reminder that I should let God handle things. Ziba is a liar and a traitor to his master and Mephibosheth was actually still loyal to David. The man to whom David had done only good had, in fact, been grateful the whole time. Shimei was caught in the passion of the moment and later realized that he had acted foolishly. God needed to be the One Who dealt with those situations and His dealing with them brought about the best possible outcomes.
When my life is difficult — and it will sometimes be — let me be mindful that there may be those who make things worse and that I should leave dealing with those people to God.
Thank You, Father, for this reminder that the people who make bad situations feel worse are not my fault, but have some motive of their own that I might never know. Please keep me mindful of this and ready to surrender things to You.