‘…encourage one another and build each other up’ ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:11
2 Samuel chapter 16 brings out the stark contrast between two people who reacted in opposite ways to a similar predicament. David was fleeing away from Jerusalem, fearing Absalom’s wrath and fury. His own son was after his life. But his entire household and a faithful few stilled followed him as he left Jerusalem. On his way he met Ziba who was the servant of Mephibosheth, Saul’s grandson. Ziba had come well prepared to meet David. He had a string of donkeys saddled and loaded with two hundred loaves of bread, a hundred cakes of raisins, a hundred cakes of figs and a skin of wine. David was so surprised to see this and asked, ‘Why have you brought these?” So Ziba replied, ” The donkeys are for the king’s household to ride on, the bread and fruit are for the men to eat, and the wine is to refresh those who become exhausted in the desert.”
Further down the journey, as David approached Bahurim, a man named Shemei, of the same clan as Saul’s family, came out of his place and stared cursing David, pelting him and his people with stones and showering dirt on him. What a contrast in the way both men reacted to what was happening to David. While one tried to refresh, encourage and meet the needs of David, the other did more to add to his suffering and shame. While one offered practical help, the other heaped insults.
Our world is no different from theirs. Ups and downs in our christian walk is to be accepted. Acting out of pride and arrogance, we too can find ourselves in the place of Shemei when we are so quick to pull down a fellow believer who is undergoing a trial, be it as a result of his own wrongdoing or just a test from the Lord. Slander and gossip make their rounds in every conversation. Do we behave like Ziba – see what can be done – atleast we can pray and intercede for that believer that God’s grace and mercy would sustain him; that he would not lose faith in God; that he would accept the discipline of God. We can seek other ways to offer comfort and show mercy, for mercy triumphs over judgment.
Prayer – “Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me when I act out of pride and arrogance and be so quick to pull down another brother who is going through a difficult time. Open my eyes and help me see ways how I can offer encouragement and comfort for the glory of your name. Amen.”
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