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Monday, May 9, 2016

Three Men and a Crisis (2 Samuel 16:1)

"When David had gone a short distance beyond the summit, there was Ziba . . ."

2 Samuel 16 described David's encounter with two men (Ziba and Shimei) while he fled from Absalom. They were all three men in a crisis. 
  • Ziba, an opportunist, misled David concerning Mephibosheth in order to steal Mephibosheth's property/inheritance.
  • David, assumed that his days of reigning were over and made a hasty decision regarding Ziba and Mephibosheth without hearing both sides of the story.
  • Shimei, a bitter Benjamite (Saul was from the tribe of Benjamin), verbally abused King David as he fled from Absalom.
All three men made faulty decisions based on their perception of their circumstances, proving that things/circumstances are rarely as they appear. Each thought that David's days of ruling were over and made decisions accordingly. Ziba took advantage of David's distress and manipulated him to make one final decision in his favor as he left office. The stress of leaving Jerusalem weaked David's ability to discern truth from error. Shimei thought that, because David was powerless and on the run, he could verbally abuse David without any consequence. All were wrong in their assessment of the situation. All three men lived to regret their hasty decision.
This incident teaches us a number of lessons:
  1. Things/Circumstances are rarely as they appear
  2. Hasty decisions are typically regretted later
  3. Crisis exposes people's true motives (Ziba's greed and Shimei's bitterness)
  4. It is always too soon to panic and always time to trust the Lord
One crisis revealed the hearts of three different men. How you respond to a crisis in your life reveals much about you and what you really believe about God.

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:

Psalm 3, 4, 11, 13, 26

  • As you read each of these Psalms make note of David's view of God, mental state, and how he views his enemies.

2 Samuel 16:1-14

  • How does Ziba use David's crisis to take advantage of his master Mephibosheth?
  • What does this crisis reveal about Ziba's heart?
  • How does David respond to Shimei's venomous words?
  • What enables David to respond in this way?

Psalm 12, 36
  • What does Psalm 12 reveal about those who verbally abuse others when they are down?
  • What sustained David during this time of verbal abuse?
  • How are the wicked described in Psalm 36?
  • Watch how David changes his focus in this Psalm. Where does he make that transition and what does this reveal about peace in the midst of heartache?
  • What sustains David during this period of his life?
Turning truth into prayer:
Verbalize your trust in the Lord. Ask Him to help you to develop a discerning heart so that when a crisis comes you'll respond with a clear mind and make wise decisions.