Read: 2 Samuel 15:1-30; 2 Samuel 16:1-14; 2 Samuel 17:25-27
The weather report that we saw Monday evening didn't seem too foreboding, but that prediction proved to be wrong. We didn't think there would be much of a storm until we heard a loud plunk as an evidently substantially large piece of hail hit the house. It wasn't long before we heard other large plunks striking the roof. I remember thinking. Oh no! It was just last fall that we had a new roof put on. Necessary because of last spring's hailstorm. The loud plunks continued intermittently, and when the storm passed by, my husband checked for damage. Thankfully, most everything, including the new roof, flowers, and garden plants appeared to have escaped serious damage. The wiring that covers the strawberry raised bed needed work, but thankfully, my husband was able to do the repairs. As I considered how he worked to shore up what had been damaged, I thought about what he didn't say to the "wounded covering".
1. There are other wire coverings in town that held up better than you did. What good are you now?
2. You probably brought this damage on yourself because of something you have done to deserve it.
3. I'm going to leave you like you are so you can think about why this happened to you.
4. Let someone else help you. I have better things to do.
I know no one would say silly things like that to an object. After all, it has a purpose. The cover needed to be repaired to keep the birds from swooping down and devouring the strawberries. It still has work to do. I wonder how many people who cross our paths could be blessed by a bit of shoring up too? How many have been wounded and might be encouraged by something we can say or do? They are precious ones who also still have work to do.
In today's scripture readings from 2 Samuel, we meet David in a vulnerable place. Let's go back for a bit to remind ourselves of what happened prior to these incidents. Most everyone remembers the sad story of David's descent into adultery, murder and lying, 2 Samuel 11. Thankfully, after David was confronted by the prophet concerning his sins, David repented. It was then that the king was told that there would be painful consequences because of his sin. Even though God cleansed and forgave David, Nathan told David that the baby born to him and Bathsheba would die. In addition to this, there would be great strife in David's family. The prophet said that the sword would not depart from the king's house, 2 Samuel 12:1-14. In 2 Samuel 13-14, we can read of the brokenness David's family endured. Terrible and painful circumstances continued to occur. Then in 2 Samuel 15, we read about David's son Absalom's conspiracy. He stole the hearts of the people from David and declared that he was king, 2 Samuel 15:1-13. It was time for David and those who were with him to flee. How painful was it for the king to have to run for his life, knowing that his own son as well as a trusted counselor stood against him, 2 Samuel 15:14, 30-31. Surely, David felt the sting of these wounds, and there was other hard pelting to come.
In 2 Samuel 16:5-14, we meet Shimei, an angry man from King Saul's family. God had given David Saul's throne, having taken it from Saul and his descendants. Enter Shimei. A man who was ready to pelt a man both literally and figuratively, when he was down. He said David was receiving pay back for his actions against Saul's descendants. Shimei even brought the Lord into the picture by saying that God was punishing him.
In truth, David wasn't certain if Shimei was speaking for God or not; so, he left the results of Shimei's cruel words and actions in the Lord's hands. One thing seems very evident. David needed shoring up. Whether what he was enduring was partly his fault or not, the King had real needs, and God had an interesting way to meet some of them. In 2 Samuel 16:1-4, we are reintroduced to Ziba. He was a servant who was mentioned earlier in 2 Samuel 9. David, because he wanted to bless someone in Saul's family had Ziba come to him in Jerusalem. He asked him if any of Saul's family remained alive so that he could shower kindness upon him? To make a sweet story short, Ziba told David about Mephibosheth, Saul's grandson. Ziba ended up with very little compared to Mephibosheth, who was lame in his feet. That was wonderful for Mephibosheth, but Ziba wasn't happy with the arrangement. Now Ziba had his chance; so he lied about Saul's grandson's loyalty so he could have what David had given him, 2 Samuel 9. However, there was a blessing for David in Ziba's duplicity. To make himself look Good, Ziba brought provisions. Good things for David and those with him. Food and drink to sustain them. Even though Ziba's motives and actions were wrong, the king and those with him were shored up. God truly does work in mysterious ways, but that wasn't the end of God's help for David.
In 2 Samuel 17:25-27, we meet three other helpers whose names we most likely don't know. The important thing is that God placed them in David's life to once again, lift him up. They brought the practical things that those on the run would need. Helpful things for them such as beds, basins, earthen vessels and more food and drink. I love the fact that God never abandoned David in this time of great wounding. Even if some of David's adversity came because of his sin, God continued to provide the resources his king needed. The plunks fell hard on David, but God was right there with him. He used the hands and words of many people. Several more than there was time to look into today. Each one who shored up David is a reminder of the sweet grace of God being poured out. Right when David needed it.
Lord, Please show us how to extend grace to help shore up a life today. You know the ones who need it and what form Your grace should take. As the song says:
‘Make Me a Blessing to Someone Today’.