May 17 (Daily reading: 2 Samuel 16-18) Many misfortunes followed David’s sin: the death of his child; his son Amnon’s actions and death by the hand of another son Absalom; Absalom’s insurrection and Ahithophel’s defection. Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth on whom David had shown mercy and welcomed as a member of his own family had apparently betrayed him. Ziba quoted Mephibosheth: “Today the house of Israel will restore the kingdom of my father to me” (16:3). Here was still another candidate to replace him as king! (We will read the conclusion of this story later).
Then, a man named Shimei cursed him, saying that it was God’s judgement that had made David lose the kingdom. David’s response shows that he was living under God’s grace and was trying to show grace to others. He refused to allow his men to punish Shimei, saying that perhaps his curse came from God. He showed great faith when he said, “Perhaps the LORD will look on my misery and return good to me instead of his cursing this day” (16:12). David had faith, even as Joseph before him, that God could turn bad into good!
Perhaps David’s response to Absalom and Ahithophel is the greatest indication of how much he had been humbled by his sin and God’s forgiveness. He asked his men to “deal gently with Absalom for my sake” (18:5). He was broken-hearted when the word came that he had died: “If only I had died instead of you, Absalom, my son, my son!” This was not the death of an enemy; this was his son! We see David’s heart laid bare, and we understand better how God could say that he was a man after His own heart (Ac. 13:22)!
– Al Gary