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and to make Christ known
for the glory of God

22 July 2020

Proverbs 12:6

The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood,
    but the speech of the upright rescues them.

The intent of the wicked is to harm. Out of anger they may try to ruin another’s reputation, perhaps to coax the other to anger and sin. That is what Jesus’ enemies tried to do with their questions and slander. The wicked use words to draw blood. Sometimes, though, the wicked are acting merely out of their own desire for advancement. You happen to be a competitor for promotion, to get a sale, to earn the academic award, to buy the house. The wicked will lie, cheat, do whatever to get the advantage, not concerned about the blood that is drawn from you.

How, then, do you respond? Play by the same rules so that you are on the same playing field? Use the eye-for-an-eye principle? The best course of action is to speak and act righteously; not self-righteously with arrogance, but in biblical righteousness in which you speak and act in the spirit of Christ. You are called of God to live as a citizen of his kingdom, following the standard Jesus lay forth in his teachings and lived out for us as an example. Your true words spoken in love and in integrity will time and again deliver you.

But more to the point is that God hears the prayers of the upright who cry out to him. He is your deliverer. Put your trust in him to meet your daily needs and protect you. His guarantee is that he will always do what is good for you and allows you to glorify him. The mouth of the upright delivers them for they put their confidence, not in man, but in God.

 

2 Samuel 16

16 When David had gone a short distance beyond the summit, there was Ziba, the steward of Mephibosheth, waiting to meet him. 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.

The king asked Ziba, ‘Why have you brought these?’

Ziba answered, ‘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 wilderness.’

The king then asked, ‘Where is your master’s grandson?’

Ziba said to him, ‘He is staying in Jerusalem, because he thinks, “Today the Israelites will restore to me my grandfather’s kingdom.”’

Then the king said to Ziba, ‘All that belonged to Mephibosheth is now yours.’

‘I humbly bow,’ Ziba said. ‘May I find favour in your eyes, my lord the king.’

 

Shimei curses David

As King David approached Bahurim, a man from the same clan as Saul’s family came out from there. His name was Shimei son of Gera, and he cursed as he came out. He pelted David and all the king’s officials with stones, though all the troops and the special guard were on David’s right and left. As he cursed, Shimei said, ‘Get out, get out, you murderer, you scoundrel! The Lord has repaid you for all the blood you shed in the household of Saul, in whose place you have reigned. The Lord has given the kingdom into the hands of your son Absalom. You have come to ruin because you are a murderer!’

Then Abishai son of Zeruiah said to the king, ‘Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and cut off his head.’

10 But the king said, ‘What does this have to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? If he is cursing because the Lord said to him, “Curse David,” who can ask, “Why do you do this?”’

11 David then said to Abishai and all his officials, ‘My son, my own flesh and blood, is trying to kill me. How much more, then, this Benjaminite! Leave him alone; let him curse, for the Lord has told him to. 12 It may be that the Lord will look upon my misery and restore to me his covenant blessing instead of his curse today.’

13 So David and his men continued along the road while Shimei was going along the hillside opposite him, cursing as he went and throwing stones at him and showering him with dirt. 14 The king and all the people with him arrived at their destination exhausted. And there he refreshed himself.

 

The advice of Hushai and Ahithophel

15 Meanwhile, Absalom and all the men of Israel came to Jerusalem, and Ahithophel was with him. 16 Then Hushai the Arkite, David’s confidant, went to Absalom and said to him, ‘Long live the king! Long live the king!’

17 Absalom said to Hushai, ‘So this is the love you show your friend? If he’s your friend, why didn’t you go with him?’

18 Hushai said to Absalom, ‘No, the one chosen by the Lord, by these people and by all the men of Israel – his I will be, and I will remain with him. 19 Furthermore, whom should I serve? Should I not serve the son? Just as I served your father, so I will serve you.’

20 Absalom said to Ahithophel, ‘Give us your advice. What should we do?’

21 Ahithophel answered, ‘Sleep with your father’s concubines whom he left to take care of the palace. Then all Israel will hear that you have made yourself obnoxious to your father, and the hands of everyone with you will be more resolute.’ 22 So they pitched a tent for Absalom on the roof, and he slept with his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel.

23 Now in those days the advice Ahithophel gave was like that of one who enquires of God. That was how both David and Absalom regarded all of Ahithophel’s advice.