WHY HAVE YOU BROUGHT THESE

Today's devotion from 2 Samuel 16.

As David flees the city, there are those who would seek to take advantage of his situation. Absalom attempts to imbed himself in the throne and Shimei unleashes bottled-up rage. When you're down, you kind of expect your enemies to gloat and advance. Isn't that the norm? Yet, when Zika meets him with hands full of gifts, one might be tempted to believe that he is faithful to David. As this account continues, we will see that nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact, Zika is making a play. His gesture of goodwill and generosity have nothing to do with David, and everything to do with Ziba advancing his favorite cause...himself. All of his gifts and all of his thoughtfulness were offered because that is what Ziba thought the price of advancement was. He had been a servant to Saul's family (like Shimei), and now he saw an opportunity to betray Mephibosheth and to become his own man.

His plan actually worked. David believed him, and gave him everything that had been Saul's and, later, Mephibosheth's. All it cost him was some bread, donkey's, wine, and his integrity, but each of these he was willing to pay to climb the ladder. After everything David had done for Mephibosheth and the love he felt for his family, to be led to believe that he was treacherous was just another twist of the knife.

As we watch the weasel slink, we should all be reminded of the fact that so many are opportunistic. Like scavengers, they seek to gain from the losses of others. Because your pain could lead to their pleasure, they relish it. They delight in it. They seek it and twist it and use it. These people will be in your life, too. You may not have a kingdom to give, but there are still those who will use your pain in accordance with their amusement.

In this, you have a choice to make. You can either be a part of their game, or you can refuse to play. As David describes his feelings toward Shimei, we gain an insight into how to suffer well. Even in the cursing of fools, David found a way to see the sovereign hand of God. Look at your situation today. What is your struggle? Where do you feel weak? Now, repeat after me, "God's got this." Look for His sovereign hand, trust in His grace, and be very careful about who's advice you heed.