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The introductory post of the series is HERE, part two is HERE, and part three HERE.

Where were we? King David has retreated to gather with his friends, family, soldiers, and bodyguards. A man by the name of Shimei comes out of nowhere to throw rocks, and yell curses and accusations at David. Shimei declares King David is a murderer and the one to blame for Saul’s demise. King David’s fellow warrior, Abishai, practically demands to cut off Shimei’s head on David’s behalf. Shockingly, David replies: “He curses me this way because the Lord told him, ‘Curse David!’…. Leave him alone and let him curse me; the Lord has told him to” (2 Samuel 16:10-11).

David kept an eternal perspective even toward that which wounded him, embarrassed him, and enraged him. He not only did not defend himself, but embraced the curses. How? How can you and I? By seeing our Shimeis and their antics as sent from the Lord Himself to drive us into deeper humility, trust, and dependence upon Him.

King David went on to say,“Perhaps the Lord will see my affliction and restore goodness to me instead of Shimei’s curses today” (16:12). That’s David’s hope—restored goodness by the Lord. But what if King David falters and takes matters into his own hands?

Know this: If you take matters into your own hands, you will experience your own consequences. But, if you wait upon the Lord and entrust yourself to Him to defend, care for, and vindicate you in His way and time, then you can hope and trust that every outright cursing or passive-aggressive innuendo that comes out of the mouth or off the keyboard from a God-appointed Shimei in your life will land as God’s goodness and blessing.

May God give us grace to pray these matters out of our hands and into His hands so that we can hope and trust for His outcome.

Read part five HERE.

 

dark_street_lamp_painting_by_androidworkshopG.K. Chesterton fascinatingly writes about the doctrine of conditional joy. He was convinced that fairy tales were written as echoes of another world, like echoes from a home we have never seen but have never once stopped yearning for.

He writes: “In the fairy tale an incomprehensible happiness rests upon an incomprehensible condition. The note of the fairy utterance always is, ‘You may live in a palace of gold and sapphire, if you do not say the word, “cow”; or ‘You may live happily with the kings daughter, if you do not show her an onion.’ The vision [of joy and happiness] always hangs on a veto. All the dizzy and colossal things [enjoyed] depend upon one small thing withheld. All the wild and whirling things that are let loose depend upon one thing that is forbidden. …  A box is opened, and all evil flys out. A word is forgotten, and cities perish.  A lamp is lit, and love flies away.  A flower is plucked, and human lives are forfeited. An apple is eaten, and the hope of God is gone.”

God has woven this “doctrine” into the very fabric of all reality. Everything comes with a condition. The enjoyment of anything depends upon something forbidden. I can enjoy my iPhone if I don’t use it to hammer nails. I can enjoy my freedom if I don’t cheat on my taxes. I can enjoy my wife if I don’t lie to her. Reality dictates that this doctrine is no fairy tale.

With great hostility the culture declares just the opposite—that freedom, pleasure, and happiness comes with no boundaries, no conditions, and no restraint. But no person or society can break God’s conditions without those conditions ultimately breaking the person and society. Something must be withheld, something must be forbidden, for any pleasure to be enjoyed in “dizzy, colossal, wild, and whirling” ways.