Summary: As David comes back into power, and returns to Jerusalem, Shimei seeks David’s forgiveness for the way he had offended David earlier. David graciously forgave him.
A. In his book Lee: The Last Years, Charles Flood reports that after the Civil War, Robert E. Lee visited a Kentucky lady who took him to the remains of a grand old tree in front of her house.
1. There she cried bitterly that is limbs and trunk had been destroyed by Union Artillery fire.
2. She looked to Lee for a word condemning the North or at least sympathizing with her loss.
3. After a brief silence, Lee said these instructive words: “Cut it down, my dear Madam, and forget it.”
4. It is best to forgive the injustices of the past than to allow them to remain, and allow bitterness to take root and poison the rest of our lives.
B. For several months now, we have been studying the life of David.
1. I have tried to present David to you just the way the Bible does – as a real man who loved God, but often failed God.
2. In spite of all his sin and failure, David was still a man after God’s own heart.
3. And I think that one of the qualities of his life that made him such was his humility.
4. David’s humility will be on display today as we see it expressed in his forgiving spirit.
C. Let’s admit it, forgiveness is not easy for us, right?
1. Most of us would rather sit on a judgment seat than a mercy seat.
2. If someone has done us wrong, there is a part of us that would rather watch them squirm in misery than smile in relief.
3. But what we must come to grips with is the fact that God is a merciful God and He expects that we will be a merciful people.
4. Nothing good ever results from being unforgiving.
a. No matter how much a person nurses a grudge, it doesn’t get better.
5. Withholding forgiveness certainly has a negative effect on those who need our forgiveness, but it also has a dramatic, destructive, downward effect on our own lives.
D. So let’s take a look at this story from David’s life, and see what lessons we can learn for ourselves about the necessity and the beauty of forgiveness.
I. The Story
A. As we noticed last week in our sermon, David is at one of the lowest places in his life.
1. He had sinned with Bathsheba, and that set off a whole negative chain reaction.
2. Nathan, the prophet, said, “Your baby will die.” And it happened.
3. He said, “Your wives will be violated in public.” And it happened.
4. He said, “The sword will never leave your house.” And it happened.
5. He said, “Your family will turn against you.” And it happened as his son, Absalom, conspired against him and usurped the throne.
B. So King David quickly gathered up a few things and ran for his life.
1. While he was on the run, a number of his friends came to his aid, which was much appreciated.
2. Last week we talked about the difference that friendship can make in our lives, especially in times of need. We learned that friends are like sheltering trees.
3. But David’s friends were not the only ones who approached him at this low point in his life.
C. In that desperate moment, with guilt crushing in on him, a man named Shimei came out of nowhere to add to his misery.
1. The Bible says: 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. As he cursed, Shimei said, “Get out, get out, you man of blood, you scoundrel! The LORD has repaid you for all the blood you shed in the household of Saul, in whose place you have reigned. The LORD has handed the kingdom over to your son Absalom. You have come to ruin because you are a man of blood!” (2 Sam. 16:5-8)
2. We met several of David’s sheltering trees last week, and Shimei is no sheltering tree.
3. He’s a real scoundrel.
4. One man called Shimei “a reptile of the royal house of Saul.” (Alexander Whyte)
5. Shimei is the kind of person who kicks you when you are down.
6. He hits you below the belt, and when you moan he comes back with another blow.
D. While David was considering his response, one of his supporters stepped forward to give counsel.
1. The Bible says: Then Abishai son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and cut off his head.” (2 Sam. 16:9)