When pressure builds and seems to increase, there is often a lapse of judgment and wisdom. So we observe with David in his meeting of Ziba and Shimei. Ziba, as we read, misrepresented Mephibosheth and manipulated David with his contrived allegation against Jonathan’s son; which David swallowed. Was it the donkeys, cakes of bread, clusters of raisins, summer fruit or wine; all intended to sway David to buy the allegation he presented? When David asked what all these things were, Ziba responded they were a gift for the king. It was true David and all those with him were weary from the quick exodus from Jerusalem, and these gifts were seemingly just what they needed to be refreshed.
Ziba was asked where was Mephibosheth, the liar tells his story, for his own profit. David impetuously rewards Ziba and robs Mephibosheth. One had a personal agenda, the other had humility and gratefulness. One was a master of manipulation; the other was a recipient of mercy and grace.
There is little doubt that had David been presented this scenario earlier and under different circumstances, he would have been more judicious than impetuous. He would have had the matter investigated, before making such a rash decision. Yet, great people are susceptible making some really dumb decisions, when they are walking in the flesh, rather than the Spirit. Leaders we need to be Spirit led; especially in seasons of pressure, stress and physical exhaustion. Most poor choices occur during those experiences.
When the rogue Shimei curses David; we observe a total misperception David had of the Lord. The transgression with Bathsheba, still weighing in his heart and mind; laden with condemnation, David ascribes this encounter to be the Lord’s doing. Make no mistake, God doesn’t encourage or incite anyone to curse another person. Condemnation from the past will hold us captive to our future. Saint of God, don’t permit it! When taken to the cross coupled with genuine repentance, leave it there. Move on! Don’t wallow in the pig’s pen of self-guilt or condemnation.
As these things are happening with David, prior to crossing Jordan; Hushai is positioning himself to give protective counsel for David, while yet being in Absalom’s court. Absalom, being proud and vain, when hearing why Hushai is there, accepts his story without question. The first line of his response to Absalom is really a declaration of truth to his allegiance to David; “No, but whom the Lord and this people and all the men of Israel choose, his I will be, and with him I will remain.” Absalom’s pride clouds his understanding of what is truly being said, even the follow up statement; “Furthermore, whom should I serve? Should I not serve in the presence of his son?”
Absalom inquired of Ahithophel what should be done. His response was one that was totally contrary to the Law, which would have required death if a son “uncovered his father’s nakedness”. Also, Ahithophel knew that by committing such a terrible public act, it would forever break the relationship between David and Absalom.
It seemed that Ahithophel’s counsel was incredible, in that without a doubt was positioning Absalom to become king; had it been totally followed. But let’s read the rest of the story tomorrow.