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The beheading of Shimei
How often have you been aggressively attacked for simply trying to hold to the plain reading of the bible? And how often have you seen someone else being attacked and wanted to take off the head of their attacker?2 Samuel 16:5-14 (NIV)
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 man of blood, 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 handed the kingdom over to your son Absalom. You have come to ruin because you are a man of blood!"
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."
But the king said, "What do you and I have in common, you sons of Zeruiah? If he is cursing because the LORD said to him, 'Curse David,' who can ask, 'Why do you do this?' "
David then said to Abishai and all his officials, "My son, who is of my own flesh, is trying to take my life. How much more, then, this Benjamite! Leave him alone; let him curse, for the LORD has told him to. It may be that the LORD will see my distress and repay me with good for the cursing I am receiving today."
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. The king and all the people with him arrived at their destination exhausted. And there he refreshed himself.
Perhaps we should count it all joy when a simple and plain reading of the bible enrages people. It is almost as if they know what we are saying is true but they speak louder so that they don’t have to acknowledge it. Or perhaps it is like when children put their fingers in their ears so as not to hear some comment.
Remember what happened to Stephen?
Acts 7:56-58 (NIV)
"Look," he [Stephen] said, "I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God."
At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him…
I don’t want people to get a “woe is me” martyr complex but what more can we do but continue to state the bible plainly? Nor do I think we should project a know-it-all attitude. Are we wrong sometimes? Yes. But the problem is that we often can’t even get people to discuss the bible in a plain reading because they want to inject the latest “end times” senario into the discussion. (How Iraq is Babylon. How the “revived Roman Empire” of Europe will oppose America in this latest war, setting off Armageddon.)
So next time you feel like “beheading” the Shimei’s of this world, remember that all we can do is keep pointing back to the scriptures. It may be God's plan to bring about this Reformation through great testing. I for my part am trying to be gentler in my delivery of the New Covenant.