King David sent this message to Zadok and Abiathar, the priests: “Ask the elders of Judah, ‘Why should you be the last to bring the king back to his palace, since what is being said throughout Israel has reached the king at his quarters? You are my relatives, my own flesh and blood. So why should you be the last to bring back the king?’ And say to Amasa, ‘Are you not my own flesh and blood? May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if you are not the commander of my army for life in place of Joab.’ ” He won over the hearts of the men of Judah so that they were all of one mind. They sent word to the king, “Return, you and all your men.” Then the king returned and went as far as the Jordan. Now the men of Judah had come to Gilgal to go out and meet the king and bring him across the Jordan. Shimei son of Gera, the Benjamite from Bahurim, hurried down with the men of Judah to meet King David. With him were a thousand Benjamites, along with Ziba, the steward of Saul’s household, and his fifteen sons and twenty servants. They rushed to the Jordan, where the king was. They crossed at the ford to take the king’s household over and to do whatever he wished. When Shimei son of Gera crossed the Jordan, he fell prostrate before the king and said to him, “May my lord not hold me guilty. Do not remember how your servant did wrong on the day my lord the king left Jerusalem. May the king put it out of his mind. For I your servant know that I have sinned, but today I have come here as the first from the tribes of Joseph to come down and meet my lord the king.” Then Abishai son of Zeruiah said, “Shouldn’t Shimei be put to death for this? He cursed the Lord ’s anointed.” – 2 Samuel 19:11-21
Quite a lot has happened since the last passage. Absalom is dead and his followers and allies are trying to rebuild a relationship with David and his followers. There are some interesting parallels between the reconciliation that occurs on the banks of the Jordan and the reconciliation that God accomplished on the cross.
The contrast between the original crossing of the Jordan River and this crossing is striking. God’s anointed king, David, is essentially granted permission to reenter his own kingdom. On the face of it this seems ridiculous, but it just occurred to me this is what God did when He sent His son Jesus. I am reluctant, given David’s track record, to compare David to God, but God did it first when He chose David to be king. God chooses us flawed followers too. He believes in us even when we do not believe in Him.
The Israelites on the west side of of the Jordan, some of whom sided with Saul, and the late Absalom, have come to the Jordan with a Mea Culpa..they admit they were wrong to follow Absalom and reject David. They took responsibility for their previous poor choices by getting on their knees. They changed their posture and perspective.
I think God wants us to do what the Israelites did with David. He wants us to approach the river, admit we were wrong, take responsibility for our choices (mea culpa), and accept that we have rejected him as King.
David had every right, from an earthly perspective, to exact revenge and retribution, but he chose reconciliation. God also chose to reconcile with us through Jesus. This move was not “logical” from an earthly perspective, but it makes perfect sense for a God who serves.
Prayer: God thank You for choosing to reconcile with us even when we choose to rebel against you.SDG