“Off with their heads!“— Or Not

2 Samuel 18:32 “The king said to the Cushite, “Is it well with the young man Absalom?” And the Cushite answered, “May the enemies of my lord the king and all who rise up against you for evil be like that young man.”

Good morning! Can you tell the coffee’s kicked in? I usually begin my blogs explaining the morning view from where I sit. Today, however, I’m on my way to work. Maybe I should ask you if you are enjoying the view from the passenger seat.

I love talk-to-text and the bonus alone time with God as I’m going about my daily duties. Driving along, I’m talking into a phone, like the old fashioned micro tape recorders from the 80s or 90s. Why? Because Heavenly Dad’s been whispering to me and I want to jot it down before I forget.

This morning‘s devotional opened my eyes to my reactions to those with whom I have to share difficult information. David was,”The man after God’s own heart,” so I know when he reacted to a situation in love, it’s best for me to sit up and take notice.

2 Samuel 17-18 was about David’s son, Absalom who was out to steal his kingdom. The extreme sad aspect is that David had to go to war against his OWN people because of his son’s tyranny and underhanded methods to steal his throne.

How did David respond to his son’s attempt to kill him and take his throne? He asked his men to take it easy on his son—the one who drove him out and was trying to steal his crown.

I was reading through this and in the end of my reading program there’s, “what did you get out of this,“ or something along those lines. My take away today was the response of the servant who had to tell David that his son had been killed.

Though David was THE man, he was a warrior nonetheless. I’ve read where men had come to him to tell him news about Saul, the previous king (who was trying to kill him out of jealousy). Though the news was technically in David‘s favor, he had the men (who thought they were being helpful) killed because they had dishonored Saul. Even though David was given the throne by God, and could have rightly overtaken Saul to claim kingship, he did not. He honored Saul by recognizing him as the first chosen one of God. So that’s a snippet in how David handled those who disobeyed orders.

Did I mention that David’s son was not alone in his conspiracy? Oh, no, he was in cahoots with people David considered friends! Can you imagine the trust issues David would have to work through at the conclusion of this affair? (that’s my butterfly side-thought)

The part that spoke to me was David’s response to being told his son was dead. Actually, it was more of THE WAY he was told.

When the messenger came to him about his son, he HAD to have been in fear. David had asked them to be merciful to his son and they had killed him. How? One man put three swords into his heart while 10 surrounded him and beat him to death! How the heck is that an example of mercy? In my mind I hear the queen of hearts screaming, “OFF with their heads!“ What would David do?

The way the messager spoke is what made me sit up and take notice:

2 Samuel 18:32 “The king said to the Cushite, “Is it well with the young man Absalom?” And the Cushite answered, “May the enemies of my lord the king and all who rise up against you for evil be like that young man.”

That was it. That was the verse that spoke to me out of the three chapters I read that day-weird, right?

I questioned myself: how do I talk to people about difficult situations? Do I share areas of concern or things they don’t want to hear but need to hear in a way that they need to hear it? This messenger has been running to David, probably for a veeeeeery long time. Cell phones or cars would’ve been amazing! He was probably hot, sweaty, exhausted, and scared for his life. I wonder what his self-talk consisted of? Was he saying “Crap, crap, crap, crap, I can’t believe I have to do this! Crap crap, crap, crap!”?

Of course, the smart thing to do would’ve been to pray, “Dear Heavenly Father, what words does David need to hear?” I probably would’ve huffed and puffed, “Just the facts, Jack,” along with, “this is so not my fault…“.

This messenger of wisdom shared painful information in a way, not only getting the point across, but almost saying a blessing for David. I would never have been able to come up with that.

That was the rub.

The javelin that went into David’s son’s heart was shared with mine. How often do I know facts, whether in every day conversation or in the heat of the moment, that are 100% right but the way I say them is 100% wrong: Accusatory, degrading, or whatever but in a way which is not sympathetic or empathetic. Sometimes my response is just as painful as the information I’m sharing. Shame on me.

It would be great to say I’d always have the opportunity to pray before I have to speak. Sometimes, in the heat of the moment, there’s no time for prayer. This was another self-check. Am I praying now for God to guard my tongue and my mind? Am I asking for His protection concerning the words that fly out of my mouth on a daily basis? Ouch!

David left and grieved deeply. I don’t know if this messenger is ever mentioned again in the Bible but his example spoke to me.

Sidenote: how many times do we do something that’s just “our job” and people that we are unaware of are watching and taking notice? There’s a freebie.

Anyway, I probably don’t get out of Bible reading what someone else would. I believe this verse was put in front of me, on this day, at this point in my life for this to be brought to my mind. I was ready for my Heavenly Dad to continue to refine me in this area. Will I get it 100% right? 100% no, but at least I’m aware and when I make mistakes I will trust that He will bring it to my mind more quickly and slowly but surely I will look a little more like Him.

Until next time, blessings!

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