Read – 2 Samuel 16
Focus on verse 9-10
I remember a story my father used to tell us of a plow horse that his father owned named Queen. I do not remember what breed of horse Queen was, I suspect it may have been a mix of several. What I do remember is the way dad described her. She was a huge, powerful animal, capable of pulling heavy wagons and farm equipment, and was also occasionally used for riding. The event my dad would often retell to us was of a time when he had been riding Queen as a young child, and the saddle had apparently not been sufficiently tightened, so it slipped around and dumped it’s contents—in this case my father—on the ground underneath the horse. Had she panicked and stepped on my father with one of those big hooves, it likely would have been fatal, but instead she just stopped and stood still until the saddled was replaced and tightened and the cargo was able to climb back up.
A plow horse such as Queen is often used to define the word “meekness” because it is a vivid picture of power under control.
Meekness sometimes comes across as weakness in our power driven western culture because it does not make sense in such a setting to not wield every strength available to get or keep oneself on the top of the heap. In today’s reading King David displays this characteristic in his response to an opportunistic, angry man named Shimei.
As David is fleeing the city of Jerusalem to avoid a direct conflict with Absalom and his rebels, Shimei follows along the procession for a time, cursing David and throwing stones at the procession. David had it in his power to make Shimei stop. All it would have taken was for David to give permission to Abishai, and Shimei would have been dead in short order. What David demonstrates instead is power under control. He recognizes that this is all part of what the Lord has in mind for the occasion and so he allows Shimei to continue.
Then Abishai son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and cut off his head.”
But the king said, “What do you and I have in common, you sons of Zeruiah? If he is cursing because the Lord said to him, ‘Curse David,’ who can ask, ‘Why do you do this?’ ” (v. 9-10)
Meekness is demonstrated when strength and power is wielded with grace, love and justice. When this is done effectively as David does here, men like Abishai—who understand and operate primarily by means of power and intimidation—often mistake meekness for weakness.