“Restraint or Retaliation”

This week’s Pastor to Person is written by Pastor Caleb Beller.

[2Sa 16:12 NKJV] 12 “It may be that the LORD will look on my affliction, and that the LORD will repay me with good for his cursing this day.”

For four verses the bible speaks about the curses Shimei calls down on David. David is in a vulnerable place, on the run, and publicly humiliated by his son Absalom’s attempt to take his throne. Abishai one of David’s most loyal and fierce commanders offers to take off Shimei’s head. In this story of David’s restraint and grace I see three things that help us choose restraint over retaliation.


First vs.11 David asks the question, what if the “Lord has ordered him,” to rebuke David. This posture of humility comes from David’s awareness of his own sinful nature. Jesus would teach his disciples (Matt 7:5) to “take the plank” out of their own eye first. As hard as it is, we must be willing to ask the question is there something God is showing me in this?


Second vs.12 tells us that David had faith that by choosing Grace God might use it for good someday. Having experienced God’s mercy in his own life David is conscious that his response mattered to God. Jesus tells a story in Matt 18:21-35 highlighting the importance that we are called to forgive because we have been forgiven.


Three chapters later In Ch 19, Absalom is dead, and those who betrayed the king would have expected the same fate. David receives the apology of Shimea and rejects the advice to kill this man who cursed him. Little did David know how these acts of grace would one day save the nation. The book of Esther tells the story of how God saved his people from annihilation. God uses Esther & Mordecai in powerful way.

In Esther ch 2:5 when the genealogy of Mordecai is given, we learn that he is a descendant of Shimei, the Benjaminite. David had no way of knowing that his choice to walk in grace would result generations later in the saving of all of his people. In a culture that is filled with revenge and retaliation may we like David choose restraint. May we be willing to look at the “plank in our own eye”, that God wants to honor a gracious response, and that someday in the future seeds of grace may produce an unexpected harvest.