Monday, September 12, 2011

the homecoming

Then all the people went over the Jordan, and the king went over. And the king kissed Barzillai and blessed him, and he returned to his own home. The king went on to Gilgal, and Chimham went on with him. All the people of Judah, and also half the people of Israel, brought the king on his way.
2 Samuel 19:39-40

David is on his way back to Jerusalem to have the kingdom restored to him. It has been a difficult moment. He has had to set aside his overwhelming grief over his son's death to get back to the business of the kingdom. He does not get the luxury of wallowing in his grief. Joab confronts him and calls him to walk once again among the people who are hurting from the civil war just like he was hurting at the death of Absalom.

David is filled with a thankful and gracious spirit. David expresses gratitude to the aged octogenerian Barzallai. The old man had taken David in and used his wealth and resources to take on the needs of David and his family as they fled to safety from Absalom's forces as they took Jerusalem. David offers the man who took him in a position at the palace. But Barzillai politely refuses. David expresses his gratitude and still repays Barzillai by taking Chinham at his suggestion.

David finds ways to show mercy and grace as well. He continues to be gracious to Mephibosheth, who explains to David that Ziba stole from him and lied to the king about his loyalty. David accepts the disabled son of Jonathan back into the royal household. Bigger grace is shown when Shimei greets David again, this time repentant over his actions at cursing David. The king is merciful, refusing to continue any punitive bloodshed against Shimei. Instead, David accepts the apology and actions, forgives Shimei in mercy, and refuses to allow violence to continue to tear Israel apart.

So this homecoming for David was a mixed bag of emotions. But he kept his head, having clearly been taught by God through these events. What comes out in David is the kind of character that only God can give a man. And that is instructive for all Christians who may find themselves in unthinkably difficult circumstances.

- Prepare your minds for action.
1 Peter 1:13

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