September 5, 2011 Devotion Sharing (2 Sam. 15)

Submitted by Sarah S. from Gracepoint Austin Church

2 Samuel 15:13-14

What can I learn from David’s response in these verses?

It’s a different kind of action that David takes than someone would who really wanted to hold onto their title or retain their position, who is really into retaining their own honor. Initially, I wasn’t sure whether David’s response was perhaps another manifestation of his passivity—he still had the ability to fight and try to keep his kingdom it from Absalom. However, in thinking about it more and reading the commentaries, I see that what David did was actually wise and selfless. It shows that he wasn’t someone who held onto this title or position as king so tightly like Saul…or placed his own ego or perhaps his own security as king ahead of anything else. A king like that would have reacted with retaliation, gathered his men and tried to fight to retain his kingship. However, instead, David’s response is that he knows Absalom and knows that for him to stay in Jerusalem would mean death for many of his officials and all out war within the city, and he didn’t want to see this kind of bloodshed happen. He backed down and didn’t immediately retaliate and react to the news, but in him choosing to flee the palace meant that he was sparing many innocent lives, preventing an all-out war but at the cost of looking like a coward in front of his men, appearing weak and already defeated. But his ego was not the most important thing but what would be the best for his people.

How can I apply this to myself? I think that the picture of David as someone who wasn’t into this position or ego is a lesson that I need to take away from this text. He could have fought back to protect his kingship and ego. But he didn’t. I think it’s a lesson for me to see that when criticism or attacks come towards me that hurts my ego or words that may come as threats against my reputation and I’m in a position to fight back, to retaliate and engage in battle of words or tear down the person who is negative towards me, it’s so tempting to just react. It’s so tempting to just fight back, take action. However, from David’s response I can learn that in such situations the wisest thing is not to fight back. David had to be humble; Running away would be opposite of the world’s values, which is to show your strength, crush the enemy, don’t be weak but get even. You’re being a coward if you don’t fight for your own honor. Here, David doesn’t fight for his own honor…it seems cowardly of him to run away, but his concern wasn’t about his own honor but about the well-being of his people. In the same way, if I am someone who is committed to my own ego and reputation and honor, if anyone comes and attacks me or criticizes me, then my reaction will probably be to ramp up and show off my skills, to fight back with words or to have an “I’ll show them” attitude, or to lash out. But what would be consequences of that? I would probably do something really stupid and foolish in my anger or in wanting to get back at that person. I would probably hurt a lot of people, innocent by-standers who could be my children, my husband, friends, and others as I try to prove myself and just solely focused on proving my worth and ability and neglecting the needs of the people around me or using them as some kind of project or instrument to boost my ego or image or prove myself.

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