King David continues to be reacquainted with the people of the land. Just a few chapters ago (Chapter 16), we read of encounters with Ziba and Shimei. You may recall that Shimei was previously harassing David as he left Jerusalem, jeering and throwing rocks at him. Now the same man is welcoming David home.
It appears David did not hold a grudge against this man. Shimei had to believe that David would be seeking revenge for his past disrespectful behavior. We see Shimei bowing down, crying out, “My lord the king, please forgive me.”
The same God who destroyed the Egyptians so his people could flee from their enslavement promises to cause the Babylonians to flee! This will allow a new generation to return home. It’s highly likely that even though the Israelites had been in captivity, the story of the exodus from Egypt would have been retold often. Just as likely the celebration of Passover would have continued in some fashion, probably in secret. When hearing these words then, the people would surely take note of Isaiah’s message from God!
And what does God say now? “But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.” I don’t think God meant for them to truly “forget.” His point was, “you haven’t seen anything yet!” We can all think of examples of where we have seen God at work in our lives. We simply need to think of Jesus. John 3:16 says, “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” God came to earth as one of us!
What is happening here? I feel like I jumped into the second
season of a show and I have no idea what all the references mean. Let’s not let
ourselves get stuck on that. When we remember that this is a letter from Paul
to his friends in Corinth that he has had an ongoing relationship with, there
are bound to be situations we are just not privy to. It doesn’t matter. We can glean
a lot from what is unsaid as well.
We can gather there was a person in their midst wreaking havoc and causing all sorts of problems. Paul had counseled them previously on how to handle his, and it appears they listened. When we are being tossed around by someone who is harming us or influencing us in a negative way, we need to rid ourselves of that temptation to sin lest we fall into the hands of the evil one, too. But what is Paul saying to do now? Forgive.
When we keep our sins inside, they can fester and we can feel stuck in the muck, so to speak. When we confess those sins, we find freedom. Verse 13 reveals a little of this promise as it says, “People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.” Mercy, that sounds good. We all want relief from suffering provided by our loving, compassionate God. Not to mention, who doesn’t want to be prosperous?
We were just on a webinar today about those beliefs and
fears that hold us back from our success. Those fears are often feelings we
have allowed ourselves to feel for years based on lies the evil one has placed
in our heads. When we act on them, we sin. For instance, the fear of failure may
come from our feelings of insecurity or unworthiness, our self-doubt. God
certainly didn’t put that inside us. But it’s there. It’s keeping us from
loving God, too, feeling like we aren’t even good enough for his love. When we
are separated from God, we are sinning.
Have you ever been wronged by someone? I think all of us
have at some point in life. It never feels good to be hurt by a friend or even
a stranger. What happens next will define us. Do we rush to get even? Or, do we
only dream of sweet revenge? How do you react when you are the target of slander
For me, I always want to set the record straight. I’m so afraid of what people think of me. Yet Solomon’s wise counsel is this, “Don’t say, “I will get even for this wrong.” Wait for the Lord to handle the matter.” Are you kidding me? How can I do that? We might think we look weak if we don’t fight back. But on the contrary, we are much stronger when we are able to bite our tongue and just take the lashing, trust that God has our backs.