David was barefoot on the rough mountainside. His head was covered with his cloak and his face was filled with his grief (2 Sam 15:30). His own son Absalom had turned the hearts of the people away from him and cleverly usurped the throne (2 Sam 15:6). Surrounded by his wives, children, and loyal friends, he was on the run from his son. He could hear his own ragged breathing, taste the salt of his tears, and the whimpering of his little ones surrounded him. They made painful progress.
The road had been hard and full of betrayal. David had just received news of his trusted counselor, Ahithophel joining his son’s rebellion (2 Sam 15:31). Then, after this gauntlet of grief, he met Shimei. Shimei was hurling dust, stones and curses and accusations of judgment from God.
And he threw stones at David and at all the servants of King David, and all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left. And Shimei said as he cursed, “Get out, get out, you man of blood, you worthless man! The Lord has avenged on you all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned, and the Lord has given the kingdom into the hand of your son Absalom. See, your evil is on you, for you are a man of blood”. (2 Samuel 16:6–8)
It was Shimei’s taunts that hit home. David knew he had sinned with Bathsheba. But as a result, God promised that the sword would never, ever, leave his household (2 Sam 12:10). David knew this was the bitter fruit of his own desire (Ps 51:3). But what was David’s response? Would he stand for this insult? Such an insult to the rightful king could be silenced. Enough is enough, right? One of David’s men, Abishai, offered to do just that. But David stayed Abishai’s sword.
But the king said… “If he is cursing because the Lord has said to him, ‘Curse David,’ who then shall say, ‘Why have you done so?’… Behold, my own son seeks my life; how much more now may this Benjaminite! Leave him alone, and let him curse, for the Lord has told him to. It may be that the Lord will look on the wrong done to me, and that the Lord will repay me with good for his cursing today” (2 Samuel 16:11–12).
All through David’s life, he let the accusations come. He didn’t defend himself. He instead entrusted himself to his God without wavering. When David could have killed Saul and taken the throne, he refused, choosing to wait instead on the Lord’s timing (1 Sam 24:6, 26:32). Even after Saul was dead, he waited seven years in Hebron (2 Sam 2:11) for the throne in Jerusalem that was rightfully his. When he was faced with his own awful sin (adultery and murder), he acknowledged and submitted to the justice of God (1 Sam 12:13). When his infant son was going to die, he pleaded for his life. But when his little boy had breathed his last, David rose and washed his face, ready to live with his grief and serve God despite the consequences of his sin (2 Sam 12:22-23).
David was the “sweet psalmist of Israel” (2 Sam 23:1) and yet the actual events of his life seem full of bitterness and trial. How then, was he so sweet? How did his life so please the Lord that he was called a man after God’s own heart? (Act 13:22)
David was a man after God’s own heart because he submitted over and over to God’s will (Acts 13:22). Over and over again, he strengthened himself in the Lord. He waited on God. He submitted to God.
Waiting and submitting are so contrary to my soul. I want to silence the accusations of Satan that he hurls at me like the dust and stones of Shimei. I want to vindicate myself. I am not patient in my trials. But God calls me, and God calls you, sister, to be patient in trial. Is life bitter now? Yes. It can be bitter and lonely and difficult. Is it hard? Yes. We all live under the weight of sin and brokenness that seem too heavy to bear. Too much to handle. Too confusing to actually be God’s will. And yet, here we are. Waiting.
But you know what? God knows we will faint in this fight. God knows we will stumble under a load that is too heavy to bear. He knows that the youths will faint and grow weary, He knows that even the young man will fall exhausted (Is 40:30). Our strength alone cannot carry us through this. The burden, without Him, is impossible to bear. But those that wait on Him will mount up on wings as eagles. We can soar on the very wind that would beat us down. The one that waits on Him alone will run and not be weary, (can I insert some mama encouragement here?) — she, with her little ones will walk and not faint. David was not superhuman and neither are we. He was a red-blooded, sinful man and reaped the bitter consequences of his adultery and murder. But he learned. When time and time again there were opportunities to lash out and take what was his, he didn’t. He waited. He watched. He left it to God. And with God’s help, so can I.
So, if there is a sister reading that is struggling with waiting — maybe under quarantine, maybe in engagement, maybe waiting to gather with the believers again, maybe to get your application back, maybe waiting to cross the border again, maybe waiting for that loved one to return or forgive you, maybe waiting for things to just be normal again — take heart, because He is here. He knows the struggle of waiting. He’s waited over 2,000 years, betrothed, for the completion and presentation of his glorious bride (2 Cor 11:2). All the many years of His waiting, He is gathering, pruning and preparing us for that future wedding day. He has purpose for our pain and He is honored in our patience. Take comfort, this is not wasted.
Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
~ Isaiah 40:28