The troubles for David: the terrible situation with Amnon and Tamar and Absalom’s killing of
Amnon; Joab’s connivings; usurpation of David’s throne by his own son Absalom; continued opposition to his rule; Shimei’s cursing of David; and the pursuit of David ending in the death of his son Absalom. Troubles, troubles, troubles. But the man David truly was is seen in his treatment of Shimei, who had previously cursed him. Abishai counseled David: “Shall not Shimei be put to death for this, because he cursed the Lord's anointed? . . . the king said to Shimei, ‘You shall not die.’ And the king gave him his oath” (19:21-23). And what of David’s longing for Absalom? And his kindness to Mephibosheth, Saul’s son, and to Barzillai? Remember the instruction of Jesus? “I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).
In the Bible, God has told us how to live. But he has also set before us faithful men and women as examples. The writer of Hebrews has given us that amazing lineup of people in chapter 11, and he begins chapter 12 thusly, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1,2). Many examples, but Jesus as our ultimate example, who prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). Mary Rose Jensen, in a contemporary hymn, gives us this verse:
God, bless our enemies; though they’ve done wrong,
Forgive their transgressions and give them Your song.
Teach us to be merciful as You have been,
Forgiving as You have forgiven our sin.