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David: A Man After God’s Own Heart – Sermon #20


2 Samuel 19:16-23


Intro: Our journey through David’s life has carried us across the high mountain peaks of success and through the horrible valleys of failure.  We have seen David when he was walking the power of God and when he was wallowing in the depths of sin.  We have rejoiced with him in his victories and we have wept with him in his defeats.  But, through all the times of David’s life, one thing has remained constant: David has proven time and time again why God called him “a man after Mine Own heart.”

      How can we say that David was a man after God’s Own heart when he was guilty of adultery, deceit and murder?  What we fail to remember is that David was a good man and he was a godly man, but he was still human.  When he excelled, he rose to the top.  When he failed, he plummeted to the very bottom.  But, through it all, David was quick to get things straightened out with God.  Yes, he failed and he failed big.  But, when he was confronted with His sin, confession was quickly offered and repentance was swift.  David was a man after God’s Own heart because David was a man who kept short accounts with God.

      The passage we are considering to day is one that reveals David’s heart.  He is returning to Jerusalem after the rebellion and death of his son Absalom.  As David nears the city, he is met by a man named Shimei.  Shimei had wronged David and if anybody deserved David’s hatred and wrath it was Shimei.  But, when David came face to face with Shimei; David did not react in anger or malice.  David reached out to Shimei with compassion and forgiveness.

      Today, I would like for us to examine this meeting between David and Shimei.  I would like for us to get a glimpse of David’s heart on this occasion.  David’s reaction in these verses gives us A Portrait Of A Forgiving Heart.  He teaches us all a lesson that we desperately need to learn.  Let’s observe some of the elements of David’s relationship with Shimei.  These elements teach us how to respond when we are injured by others and they teach us how to develop a forgiving heart.  Today, I want to preach on the subject: A Portrait Of A Forgiving Heart.


  I.                            THE ATTACK DAVID SUFFERED - 2 Sam. 16:5-23

(Ill. To understand what is happening in 2 Sam. 19, we must first look at some events that occurred several months earlier.  On that occasion, David was attacked by this man named Shimei.  Shimei had some harsh words for the broken king as he fled the city of Jerusalem during the rebellion of Absalom.  Let’s examine Shimei’s attack.)

A.  It Involved Caustic Words – As David is leaving the city of Jerusalem and his home, Shimei comes toward David and his men. As he approaches, Shimei is said to be “cursing,” verse 5.  This word was used to refer to things that were “worthless and vile; disgraced; or brought low.”  It seems that Shimei is reveling in the fact that David has been disgraced and brought low.

            But, that’s not all Shimei had to say to David that day.  He calls him a “bloody man” and a “son of Belial.”  The phrase “bloody man” means “murderer”.  The phrase “son of Belial” means “a vain, worthless man.”  So as he approaches, Shimei keeps on saying. “Get out here you murderer.  Get out of here you fool, you nobody!”

            The words of Shimei must have cut the heart of David like a knife.  We have all had people say hurtful things to us and about us.  When it happens, it hurts and it makes us angry.  So, David is attacked by caustic words.

B.  It Involved Cruel Works – Not only did Shimei use words to attack David, but he also used stones.  While he hurled invectives against David, Shimei also threw rocks at David.  He wanted to hurt David’s heart with his words and his flesh with his stones.  Another thing to consider is the fact that Shimei is trying his best to publicly humiliate David.

            It hurts when we are attacked by others.  When people hurl words in our direction, or when they attack us publicly, or even behind our backs.  It rips us open to bone when we are humiliated by the words and deeds of others.  Ever been there?

C.  It Involved Calloused Ways – Some of what Shimei said was true.  David was guilty of murder, though I am not certain how many people knew about it.  Regardless, David surely did!  While the “bloody man” part was true, the rest of Shimei’s words were lies.  David was not a “vain, worthless man.”  He was God’s chosen King of Israel.  In spite of his failures and his foolishness, he was God’s anointed and was to be respected for that fact alone, 1 Chron. 16:22.  In fact, David had more integrity that Shimei.  When given the opportunity to kill Saul, David had refused to lay His hand on God’s man, 1 Sam. 24:6; 26:11.

            The words of Shimei in verse 8 are nothing but blatant lies.  In fact, there are three lies in this verse.

1.     God is getting revenge against David for murdering Saul and his family.  That is a lie!  Saul committed suicide and his sons were killed in battle.

2.     David, you stole the throne.  That is a lie!  The throne was given to David by a sovereign act of God.

3.     God has given your throne to Absalom.  That is a lie!  Absalom took the throne of his father by rebellion.

            Here is the bottom line.  Shimei was the “son of Belial”.  He was the kind of person who would kick another man when he was down.  At this moment in time David is at the lowest point of his life.  His kingdom and his family are in shambles.  He is an outcast and is own the run from his own son.  In the midst of this here comes Shimei.  He finds David at a vulnerable moment and he attacks him.  It doesn’t get any lower than that!

            You ever been there?  Have you ever been kicked when you were down?  It hurts doesn’t it?


(Ill. David’s reaction to Shimei and his attack is worthy of noticing.  David’s nephew Abishai offers to kill Shimei.  By the way, he deserved to die!  But, instead of allowing Shimei to be put to death, David responds in an amazing fashion.  He just says, “Let him alone.  Maybe the Lord has told him to do this.  Maybe he is right!  If he is, so be it.  But, if he is wrong, the Lord will work it out in His time and in His way.”  Friends, that takes grace, love and mercy.  David may have been at one of the lowest points in his life, but this is the high water mark of self-control.  It teaches us a few lessons as well.

      What are we supposed to do when we are attacked?  Are we supposed to get even?  Are we supposed to go after our “pound of flesh?”  When someone hurts us, we want to hurt them back twice as bad as they hurt us. Isn’t that what we are supposed to do?

      No, we are supposed to do just what David did.  We are supposed to place the matter in the hands of the Lord and leave it with Him.  He knows what was said and what was done.  He knows the motive behind the attack.  He knows how to settle the score if it needs to be settled, Rom. 12:14-21; Lev. 19:18; Pro. 24:29. He knows how to give you grace to get past the hurt.  God’s design for His children is that we become like Jesus, 1 Pet. 2:23; Isa. 53:7.

      So, the next time you are cursed, attacked, threatened, lied about, etc, what are you going to do?  Well, you can step outside of God’s will and handle it yourself.  Or, you can take the high road and leave it in the hand of God.  By the way, if you determine that you are going to be like Jesus, you had better keep a tender heart ready to forgive, and you had better a skin as thick as that of a rhinoceros because you are going to be attacked.

      Learn like David did to deal with these kinds of matters at the very moment of offense.  If you don’t, that hurt will fester into something for worse and far more dangerous.  If we are not diligent in handling these matters the right way, that offense will grow into resentment.  From there, it is just a short step into hatred.  That hatred will produce bitterness; and bitterness will find a way to seek revenge. 

      It is wise to learn to place our hurts in the hands of the Lord and walk away from them.  He can handle the matter far better than we can!)


 II.                          THE ADMISSION DAVID SECURED - 2 Sam. 19:16-20

(Ill. Well, months have passed.  The rebellion of Absalom has been quashed.  David is returning home.  As he is his men cross the Jordan, several people are gathering to meet the returning king.  Among them are old Shimei and one thousand of his men.  Let’s examine what happened the second time these men met.)

A.  v. 18  There Was A Humble Confession – When Shimei comes before David, he falls at his feet in humility.  This is a far different attitude than he displayed the last time his path crossed that of David.  Perhaps Shimei has had time to contemplate his mistakes.

B.  v. 19-20  There Was An Honest Confession – Shimei said the three hardest words known to man: “I have sinned.”  He made a full and complete confession of his wrong in his attack on David.

C.  v. 19-20  There Was A Hopeful Confession – Shimei hopes that David won’t hold the past against him.  He seems genuinely sorry for what he has done and is hopeful that David will offer him forgiveness.


(Ill. It took a real man to do what Shimei did!  There is some debate among scholars as to whether his confession was sincere, or whether it was just an attempt to save his hide.  We cannot know his heart or his motives, but it seems to me that we should just take the account at face value.  After all, the Holy Spirit does not call his confession into question.

      Now, before we look at David’s response to Shimei, I think we should take a moment to find something that speaks to our own hearts.  The truth is, we have all been hurt.  But, the sadder truth is that we have all been on the other side too.  We are all guilty of saying things out of turn; talking about someone else; doing hurtful things; and even of telling lies on another person.  When life finds us in this position, what are we supposed to do?  We are to do exactly what Shimei did.  We are to go to the person we have offended and we are to confess to them what we have done and we are to seek their forgiveness.  That is the clear teaching of the Bible, Matt. 5:23-24; James 5:16.)


III.                            THE AMNESTY DAVID SUPPLIED - 2 Sam. 19:21-23

(Ill. When David hears this, he responds to Shimei in grace and not in retaliation.  Notice what David at this moment in time.  What he did is a lesson to those of us who get hurt from time to time.)

A.  What David Prevented – Again, Abishai wants to kill Shimei, but David prevents his violent nephew from killing the humbled man. In other words, David stood as a protector of the very person who had wronged him.  That is grace!

B.  What David Perceived – David knew that this was a day of rejoicing and a day of forgiveness.  He also perceived that it was a day of grace in his own life.  He was returning to glory to reclaim his throne and it was only so because God has forgiven him and had given him grace and not what he deserved.

C.  What David Promised – David promised forgiveness and amnesty to Shimei.  Why?  It had not been many days since David himself had sinned against Uriah, Bathsheba, the nation of Israel and the God of Heaven.  When David had bowed before the Lord and confessed his sins, God had freely forgiven him. Now, David extends that same grace to one who had wronged him greatly.


(Ill. David’s response to Shimei demonstrates what our own response should be when we are faced with an opportunity to forgive.  First, we need to remember that even at our very best none of us are perfect.  We have all sinned against God and we have all against others.  Still, we have been forgiven many times.  We have a responsibility to forgive others when they sin against us, Matt. 18:15-35; Luke 17:1-5; Eph. 4:32.  Get the picture? 

      Second, just as we should be quick to forgive, we should learn to express that forgiveness.  In other words, don’t just think it, say it!  When something happens, we may pray about the matter and leave it with the Lord, but the offending party needs to know that they have been forgiven.  We need to reach out to those who reach out to us!

      What if someone hurts us and they don’t deal with it?  Can we hold a grudge then?  Is it all right to be angry with them until they come around begging our forgiveness?  No!  Regardless of what they do to us or say about us we should have the same spirit Jesus displayed when He was on the cross and he said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do,” Luke 23:34.)

(Ill. A good example of this kind of forgiveness is demonstrated in a story told by Stuart Briscoe.  He says, “Some years ago a fashionably dressed women came to my study, very distressed.  She had made a commitment to the Lord a few days earlier but had asked to see me because something was troubling her.  She poured out an unpleasant story concerning an affair she had been having with one of her husband’s friends.  Then she insisted that her husband should know, and that I should tell him!  That was a new experience for me!

      After some discussion with the women, I called the husband.  When he arrived at my study, I told him what had happened.  Turing to his tearful and fearful wife, he said, “I love you.  I forgive you.  Let’s make a new start.”

      Many things had to be straightened out and much hurt had to be healed, but his response of forgiveness, made possible by his own understanding of the forgiveness of God, became the basis of a new joy and a new life.”[1])


(Ill. Let me share this before I close.  David may have forgiven Shimei, but David never forgot what Shimei did.  I would submit to you that forgiveness like that is not forgiveness at all!  David’s last request before he dies is found in 1 Kings 2:8-9.  On his death bed, David commands Solomon to be sure that Shimei pays for the evil he had done.  Solomon eventually carries out this command and Shimei is executed, 1 Kings 2:36-46.  David’s forgiveness was not perfect, was it?

      Ill. Some people forgive like the man in this tale: A man lay dying in a hospital bed. But as he lay there, he suddenly remembered an old enemy he once held a grudge against. Calling a nurse to his bedside, he whispered, "Nurse, please summon my old enemy."

      The enemy arrived, and the man opened one eye, and said to him, "My enemy, I have called you here today to say I'm sorry for all the wrong I've done to you."

      Then he paused, and added, "But mind you, if I ever get BETTER, you be sure that the old grudge still holds good!"

      Aren’t you glad that God does not forgive like man does?  When God forgives, He also forgets, Jer. 31:34.  Thank God, that truth is sounded forth again and again in the Bible.  Ill. Psa. 103:12; Isa. 38:17; 43:25; Jer. 50:20; Micah 7:19; 1 John 1:7.

      It takes effort; it takes grace and it may take all that we have, but we should strive to give forgiveness to the same level that we have received forgiveness.  No wonder the disciples asked the Lord to increase their faith, Luke 17:5.)


Conc:  How are you doing in the arena of forgiveness?  Are you practicing the kind of forgiveness that pleases the Lord? Or, are you in the business of holding grudges and getting even?  If there is a hurt that needs to be forgiven, this would be a good time to deal with it.  If you are the offending party, it would be a good time to go to that other person and say, “I am sorry!”  We should seek to forgive to the same level that we have been forgiven.  And, we should strive to keep short accounts with our fellow man. 

      I can condense this message down into two statements.  When we are wrong we need to admit it.  When we have been wronged, we need to forget it.

[1] Stuart Briscoe, What Works When Life Doesn’t (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1976), 99.

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