If he curses, and if the LORD has told him, “Curse David,” then who shall say, “why have you done so?” 2 Samuel 16:10
When King David was fleeing Jerusalem and his son Absalom, and was passing through Bahurim, one of Saul’s relatives by the name of Shimei came along cursing David continually and throwing stones at him. Now David was still the official king of Israel, one would expect this great act of insult and aggression to be seriously punished. Indeed, David’s companions enraged by Shimei’s bold act of aggression were ready to murder him and put an end to his filthy mouth. But David stopped them! Why?
This is when David declares today’s text. David, the man after God’s heart, knows that nothing can hurt him without going through the hands of his sovereign LORD. If Shimei is cursing him, though that is quite wicked, David knows that Shimei would not have the ability, the opportunity, and the boldness to do it unless the LORD had allowed him to. David knows that he has to pay attention to what Shimei is doing, because the “LORD has told him” to do it (v.11).
Many times in life we hear things from other people that we may find insulting, challenging, or provoking. Instead of returning that anger with anger, perhaps this text can help us to follow David’s lead and remember that the LORD wants us to hear those words. Instead of attempting to return insult with insult, we can humble ourselves by remembering that the person’s mouth could not have been opened if the LORD had not allowed it. Maybe there is some truth in what the person is saying and we need to hear that. Maybe the LORD is breaking our pride and is humbling us. Maybe the LORD is teaching us how to love the unlovable. Maybe the LORD is teaching us patience. Maybe He is testing us against the claims that we boastfully make. Maybe he is teaching us forgiveness. Maybe he is letting us learn how slander feels so that we never slander others. The key is to know the source of it is from the LORD, and everything coming from the LORD is meant to give life, grant repentance, and transform us into the image of Christ. Ask Him to reveal the purpose of it for us. Pray for peace and discernment. Never return evil for evil, or insult for insult, but give a blessing instead! (1 Pet. 3:9)