SALVATION (Lesson 5)
This will be another lesson on salvation. Again we will look at why you need salvation (or why you need to be saved). We will talk about God's forgiveness and mercy. We will look at how God wants you to live. And we will end by showing what happens if you take God's mercy for granted and continue to be disobedient.
And to help us understand these things, we will look at an account in the bible involving a man named Shimei. We will relate our need for salvation with his need for salvation, and we will follow his life to see how he turned out. The only difference is that Shimei was interacting with a king named king David. You and I are dealing with a more important King -- The King of all creation, God Himself. But Shimei's encounters with king David are very similar to our encounters with God, and we can learn a lot from Shimei's mistakes.
Before we get to the bible, let me ask you guys a question: Have any of you ever been rebellious before your King, God? Have you ever behaved in such a way (lying, cheating, stealing, disobedience, blaspheming, idolatry) that showed dishonor to King God? Well, that's the first way that we are similar to Shimei. Now let's read and see where he showed dishonor to his king.
2 Samuel 16:5-8, "And when king David came to Bahurim, behold, thence came out a man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera: he came forth, and cursed still as he came. And he cast stones at David, and at all the servants of king David: and all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left. And thus said Shimei when he cursed, Come out, come out, thou bloody man, and thou man of Belial. The Lord hath returned upon thee all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose stead thou hast reigned; and the Lord hath delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom thy son: and, behold, thou art taken in thy mischief, because thou art a bloody man."
2 Samuel 16:13, And as David and his men went by the way, Shimei went along on the hill's side over against him, and cursed as he went, and threw stones at him, and cast dust."
Shimei was mad at king David because Shimei felt that king David should not have been king. Shimei wanted this man named Saul to be king instead. So as king David passed by, Shimei is throwing rocks and dust at him and calling him names and cursing at him. Shimei is being so disrespectful and rebellious, that king David could have had him killed on the spot, but king David showed Shimei mercy and did not punish him for his disrespectful acts.
Now what does this have to do with you? How many times have you been rebellious and disrespectful before your King, God? What about those times when you act as though YOU should be king and make up your own rules instead of humbling yourself and obeying God's rules? And then instead of honoring God as King of your life and being obedient to His Word and His command, you've "thrown rocks" at Him by breaking His laws and living any old sinful way you've pleased. Whenever we lie, cheat, steal, fornicate, curse, hurt God's other children, disobey our parents, whatever the sin, we are basically saying, "Take that, King God." (do rock throwing motion). "I don't care about you, King God" (rock throwing motion). We are being just like Shimei! And, no, God doesn't strike you dead on the spot, just like king David didn't have Shimei instantly killed, but believe me, there will come a day when you will pay for every sin you've ever committed against the King if you do not repent!
And that's why you need salvation. Because if you are honest with yourself, you will admit that right now you stand guilty before God. Can you even remember or count all of the sins you've committed? Of course not. And believe me, there is no way that you on your own could make right all of the wrongs you've done against the King. All you can do is admit your guilt, be sincerely sorry and ready to repent, plead for the King's mercy, and then do what the King asks you to do. But the question is will you ever do that, or will you keep throwing rocks at the King until you die, and then have to pay for that rebellious behavior for all of eternity?
Well, let's see what happened next to Shimei. After some time passed, Shimei finally came to his senses. Shimei finally is ready to turn from his rebelliousness and honor king David as the true and deserving king! Let's read about it. 2 Samuel 19:16-20, "And Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjamite, which was of Bahurim, hasted and came down with the men of Judah to meet king David. And there were a thousand men of Benjamin with him, and Ziba the servant of the house of Saul, and his fifteen sons and his twenty servants with him; and they went over Jordan before the king. And there went over a ferry boat to carry over the king's household, and to do what he thought good. And Shimei the son of Gera fell down before the king, as he was come over Jordan; And said unto the king, Let not my lord impute iniquity unto me, neither do thou remember that which thy servant did perversely the day that my lord the king went out of Jerusalem, that the king should take it to his heart. For thy servant doth know that I have sinned: therefore, behold, I am come the first this day of all the house of Joseph to go down to meet my lord the king."
Shimei is humbling himself before king David, admitting that he sinned by his actions, and is asking king David to forgive him! Shimei can't undo his wrong. He can't take the words back or erase the rocks and dust that he threw at the king, but he could sincerely ask for forgiveness and then do what the king would ask him to do. Let's see what king David said to him. 2 Samuel:19:21-23, "But Abishai the son of Zeruiah answered and said, Shall not Shimei be put to death for this, because he cursed the Lord's anointed?" [One of king David's men suggested that Shimei be killed for his disrespectful past attitude] "And David said, What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah, that ye should this day be adversaries unto me? shall there any man be put to death this day in Israel? for do not I know that I am this day king over Israel? Therefore the king said unto Shimei, Thou shalt not die. And the king sware unto him."
It is not up to me or you to say who King God should forgive or who should go to hell, just like king David's servant shouldn't have been suggesting what the king should do to Shimei. And as we just read, king David forgave Shimei and swore to him that he would not kill him. And just like Shimei came to king David and humbled himself, God wants us to admit our sins and be willing to turn from them, and then He will forgive us. Let's read a verse real quick that tells us this: 2 Chronicles 7:14, "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." God is willing to offer you His mercy and forgiveness if you come to Him with a sincere heart. But like we've said in the other lessons, this means more than just saying some meaningless words and then continuing to sin. What do you think would have happened to Shimei if a week after asking for king David's forgiveness, he would have come up to the palace and started cursing the king out and being disrespectful and throwing rocks at him? King David's servant probably would have killed him on the spot. Those kinds of actions would have shown that Shimei was not sincere. The point here is when we ask for God's forgiveness and then keep on "throwing rocks" (committing those same sins over and over), it shows that we are not sincere either. If you are TRULY sorry for your sin and recognize that God deserves your love and obedience, you will live the way King God wants you to live.
Now let's get back to Shimei. King David had some very specific instructions for Shimei, just like God always has specific instructions for us. Let's find out what king David wanted Shimei to do.
1 Kings 2:36-38, And the king sent and called for Shimei, and said unto him, Build thee an house in Jerusalem, and dwell there, and go not forth thence any whither. For it shall be, that on the day thou goest out, and passest over the brook Kidron, thou shalt know for certain that thou shalt surely die: thy blood shall be upon thine own head. And Shimei said unto the king, The saying is good: as my lord the king hath said, so will thy servant do. And Shimei dwelt in Jerusalem many days."
Yes, king David forgave Shimei, but he also instructed him how and where he wanted him to live. David wanted Shimei to stay in Jerusalem. He gave Shimei limitations on how far he wanted him to go. And if Shimei is TRULY thankful for David's mercy and if he is truly following David as a faithful servant, he will willingly obey what king David asked him to do. Shimei even said the words, "The saying is good. As my lord the king hath said, so will thy servant do." Shimei acknowledged that he understood what David wanted of him, and promised that he would obey.
This is similar to our relationship with King God because, yes, God will forgive you, but that doesn't mean you can still live buck-wild, sinning as you please. God's commandments and instructions in the bible are like our "house in Jerusalem." God wants us to stay in "Jerusalem" and not go back to our sinning ways, which we will call "the brook Kidron." God gives us a choice and instructions, just like king David gave Shimei a choice and instructions. King God doesn't lock you up as a prisoner, nor does He force you to obey. But He tells us if we truly love Him, that we will obey. And if you truly love King God, you will obey willingly. It won't be hard. You would look at that old sin, "the brook Kidron," as a place that almost caused you to go to hell. You would despise it as poison. You would hate that you even have a memory of it. And you would definitely have no desire to pass over that way. You would say, "King God, the saying is good!" God's commandments and instructions should not feel like something restricting you from "fun." They should be proof that He wants only the best for you.
No one is going to be in hell because God sent them there. Not one person. Hell is the ultimate "brook Kidron," and it is a place that was prepared for the devil and the devil's angels (Matt 25:41). If any of us choose to stay in our sin and disobey God and trample His mercy and grace by our actions, our blood will be on our own head. We will have no one to blame but ourselves for what ultimately happens to us after we die if we choose to be disobedient. God says in His Word, "if ye love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15). And He also promises to give us the strength to overcome the sins and temptations of this world. But you have to be willing to do your part.
Well, let's see if Shimei did what the king asked him to do.
1 Kings 2:39-41, "And it came to pass at the end of three years, that two of the servants of Shimei ran away unto Achish son of Maachah king of Gath. And they told Shimei, saying, Behold, thy servants be in Gath. And Shimei arose, and saddled his ass, and went to Gath to Achish to seek his servants: and Shimei went, and brought his servants from Gath. And it was told Solomon that Shimei had gone from Jerusalem to Gath, and was come again."
At this point, king David had died and his son Solomon is king. But king David obviously told Solomon all about what went on between him and Shimei and of the instructions that Shimei were to follow. And where was Shimei told to stay? Remember, David told him to stay in Jerusalem. But we just read that Shimei disobeyed what king David asked him to do, and he left Jerusalem!! Maybe Shimei thought that it was okay because king David was no longer around. Maybe he thought he could do it and that no one would see him. Maybe he felt that he had a good reason. Whatever the case, he broke his promise to the king. He took the king's mercy and forgiveness for granted. And this is similar to you maybe. Do you have some hidden sins that you think no one saw you do and you believe that you got away with them? Maybe you made a promise to God or asked His forgiveness, and then did that very thing again that you swore not to do. Well, just like Shimei's king knew what was going on, King God sees everything you do. Is that sin that you know God doesn't want you to commit worth dying for? Is that temptation worth separating you from King God, who died for your sins? Is that worldly pleasure worth going to hell for? How do you think it makes God feel as He watches us return to those things? Let me tell you a quick story to illustrate what it is like when we continue to sin against the One who gave His life for us. (Click here to read story).
Now let's get back to Shimei. After Shimei's disobedience is found out, let's see what the king says to him.
1 Kings 2:42-46, "And the king sent and called for Shimei, and said unto him, Did I not make thee to swear by the Lord, and protested unto thee, saying, Know for a certain, on the day thou goest out, and walkest abroad any whither, that thou shalt surely die? and thou saidst unto me, The word that I have heard is good. Why then hast thou not kept the oath of the Lord and the commandment that I have charged thee with? The king said moreover to Shimei, Thou knowest all the wickedness which thine heart is privy to, that thou didst to David my father: therefore the Lord shall return thy wickedness upon thine own head; And king Solomon shall be blessed, and the throne of David shall be established before the Lord for ever. So the king commanded Benaiah the son of Jehoiada; which went out, and fell upon him, that he died. And the kingdom was established in the hand of Solomon."
Solomon reminded Shimei of the sin he had committed against king David, he reminded Shimei of the promise Shimei had made. And then king Solomon basically told Shimei that Shimei's disobedient actions spoke louder than his previous promises, and then Shimei was killed for his disobedience.
What can we learn from this? Does this mean that if I ask God to forgive me and then I try to live holy and righteous for 50 years, but then the day before I die, I tell a lie, that because of that lie, that one sin, I will go to hell? No. We're not saying one mistake is going to cancel everything out. But what we are trying to show you is that God knows your heart. God sees everything that you do. And if you continue to take God for granted, if you take His forgiveness for granted, if you INTENTIONALLY do those things that you know are opposite of what He wants you to do, that this shows that you are truly not one of God's followers at all. Your actions speak louder than your words.
There is no good reason to do anything that King God does not want you to do. His Word tells you how He wants you to live. If you keep going back to your sins, whether it be for love or money or fear or greed or lust or weakness, by that action you send a very clear message to God -- a message saying that He is not King in your life. One day you will stand before King God, just like Shimei stood before king Solomon. Will King God tell you, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant" and welcome you into heaven, or will He tell you, "I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity" and appoint you your portion with Satan and all of the other people who willingly disobeyed Him?
I hope that you guys learn from Shimei's mistake. Love King God more than you love this world, and cherish His gift of mercy, forgiveness, and salvation.