Discover the Book - Feb. 26, 2009


David--How to Respond When Slandered and Abused

One of the oldest and meanest tricks in the book is to hit someone when they're down.  Just sneak up on them when they are distracted by something else and hit them with a knockout blow. That is one of Satan’s tactics.  

He used it on Joseph after his being sold into slavery by his brothers, before he could get over that--Potiphar’s wife lands him in prison. But by God’s grace, it didn’t work, and Joseph keeps following the Lord! 

For Job it was one wave after another of bad news, each wave higher, deeper and more devastating—and then his wife turns on him. But by God’s grace, it didn’t work, and Job keeps following the Lord! 

We can trace the same pattern in Abraham’s life, Elijah’s life, Daniel’s life, and many other Old Testament heroes. 

In our lives it may be when we are in the midst of recovering from being sick and we lose our job. Or just when we finally find a job our wife can’t go on and wants to move back to her family. Or just after we weather the loss of a parent through death we get a report that one of our children is secretly leading an alternate lifestyle. It is sudden, it is unexpected—and it is always at our weakest moments when it is the worst time possible. 

As we open to 2 Samuel 15:14 we are watching David while he is down. It is the saddest day of his life. And that day while he is at the bottom, when he is really down and driven out of town—he gets an unexpected hit. He is attacked, slandered, and painfully abused from a totally unexpected person. In that moment—we see the real David. 

What you and I are at our most desperate moments is a glimpse into what we really are. Where we decide to turn, when we face what we never wanted, never dreamed of happening to us—that is when what is really on the inside comes out.  

The good news is that what comes out of David at that most painful moment of his life is a song. And it was a song that was so good, God captured it and made it forever recorded in Heaven. That is better than the top of the charts, better than the top of the billboard, better than gold or platinum—because it pleased God. What ever you and I can do in this life that pleases God; that is what will last from our life eternally. 

Watch David show us how to live even in pain, even through tears, even while slandered, and even when living through painful abuse. David shows us how to live pleasing God. We can gain eternal rewards from every part of our life that is lived in a way that pleases God. 

Barefoot, crying, and fleeing for his life. Could it get any worse? That must have been on David’s mind as the saddest day of his life unfolded. To face the hatred of pagan Philistines was one thing—but the hatred of your own son is quite another. To have a murderous father-in-law is devastating, but to have a murderous child is beyond words. 

So David was speechless as his tears ran and the wailing sobs of his friends rose about him. That was how life became for a nearly 60 year old King David in the fall of 980 BC.

So much happened to David all at once, and God catches each detail for His purposes of doctrine (teaching us what is right); for reproof (teaching us what is wrong); for  correction (teaching us how to get right); and instruction in righteousness (teaching us how to stay right). That is why God has preserved these pages of Scriptures that lay open before us.  

Just to help you understand this day, God's Word gives us a step by step account. Follow along in your Bibles as we trace the events of that fateful day.

  • In 2 Samuel 15:14 David has left the City of David on Mount Zion (where it still sits today now excavated after centuries beneath the dust of time); he walks down Zion to the Kidron ravine, passes over a small brook of flowing water (15:23), follows the pathway up the mountain called Olives (15:30).
  • At the very top he pauses (15:32) and offers worship to the Lord. Then he runs into Ziba the servant of Mephibosheth (the crippled son of David’s friend Jonathan, son of Saul) who brings food to help David (16:1-4) 

David has been joined by his faithful soldiers and mighty men. He has been sought out by the good and godly priests. He has been fed by the humble servants of others. So this next visitor was so unexpected. But so was everything else happening on this fateful day.  

David is just reeling from it all. The whole insurrection or coup d’etat was so unexpected. The speed at which a loved and trusted son was able to draw the entire nation away from David was staggering. David’s thoughts raced back and forth from all the battles he had fought to save these people of Israel from their enemies. And now those very people’s children were the army that had joined his son to kill him. 

Then he thought of how he had rescued his own son Absalom so many times. Before he was old enough to even realize it David had kept young Absalom from Saul’s hand. Later David had risked his life to attack the raiding bands of the desert peoples and rescue Absalom from their grasp. Then David remembered bringing young and handsome Absalom up to Jerusalem, the City of David, Zion the City of God. How it had thrilled David’s heart to build a home and see his wives and children happy and secure in the home that God had provided. But nothing would ever be the same. Tamar was raped by Amnon. Absalom killed Amnon. Now Absalom was seeking to kill his own father David. Nothing was right; nothing would ever make this go away. 

Back and forth flew his thoughts, his painful questions—why do the people turn away from me so quickly? Why does my own son hate me? Why does God allow all this?  

And then as David looks around at his mighty men marching like a wall of strength around him, that space once occupied by the bravest of the brave, is empty. The same Uriah that went to his death at David’s deceitful bidding and murderous plot did so because he was loyal to the death for David—and always had been. 

David’s thoughts raced back over the years and again smote him with contrition. Yes, again he knew that against the Lord all this had been done. And now David was suffering the consequences. 

Somewhere in the midst of thoughts like these, mingled with tears, a barefoot David hears trouble coming. Before he saw him, he heard the hatred of his curses. Coming up from Bahurim, the first village on the downward slope of the Mt. of Olives is the figure of an angry man. Bitter to the point of blindness is this distant relative of Saul. With the poison of a venomous serpent on his tongue-curses, dust and rocks fly from the one man army named Shimei. With every means possible he tries to attack David while he is down. 

Isn’t that how temptations often come? The devil in alliance with our flesh, the world around us, and the demons—tries to always get us at our weakest moment. It was perfect timing—David was physically, emotionally, mentally, and humanly at his weakest and lowest point. But much to Satan’s disappointment I’m sure, David was not at his lowest point spiritually. 

David’s responses, in the verses of our text this morning are the most beautiful example of how to respond "When Attacked, Slandered and Painfully Abused”! 

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