In 2 Samuel chapters 15 and 16 David is facing an impossible situation. His son Absolom is conspiring against him. He loves his son and the people of Jerusalem and decides that a strategic retreat is the best option (see 2 Samuel 15:14).
This is a kobayashi maru scenario for David. It is a no win situation that reveals the man's character.
On his way out he meets different people with different motives. The way he deals with each of them is very interesting and educational for us but what caught my eye was how he dealt with Shimei. Here was a man with 'opposing ideas'...
"When King David came to Bahurim, there came out a man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera, and as he came he cursed continually. And he threw 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 Shimei said as he cursed, 'Get out, get out, you man of blood, you worthless man! The LORD has avenged on you all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned, and the LORD has given the kingdom into the hand of your son Absalom. See, your evil is on you, for you are a man of blood.' Then Abishai the son of Zeruiah said to the king, 'Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and take off his head.' But the king said, 'What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? If he is cursing because the LORD has said to him, 'Curse David,' who then shall say, 'Why have you done so?' And David said to Abishai and to all his servants, 'Behold, my own son seeks my life; how much more now may this Benjaminite! Leave him alone, and let him curse, for the LORD has told him to. It may be that the LORD will look on the wrong done to me, and that the LORD will repay me with good for his cursing today.' So David and his men went on the road, while Shimei went along on the hillside opposite him and cursed as he went and threw stones at him and flung dust. And the king, and all the people who were with him, arrived weary at the Jordan. And there he refreshed himself." - 2 Samuel 16:5-14 ESV
Was Shimei right? No. He wasn't but David was available to hear from God. He wasn't insecure. His men felt helpless and wanted to act. His men felt protective of their 'anointed one' and wanted to smash the opposition but David had ears to hear and knew God loved him in spite of the situation. David saw a future blessing. He didn't internalize the negative accusations but He also didn't shut down the opposing point of view. Interesting and instructive.
"Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny." - Matthew 5:25-26 NKJV
The adversary here is the Holy Spirit. Wow. Here is an alternate translation.
"Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny." - Matthew 5:25-26 ESV
The prison there is a mental one. Our divine adversary is thinking grace thoughts... pure grace thoughts. The natural mind has earthy dusty thinking but God has wisdom from above. His view is often in opposition to ours. We won't arrive at grace by a natural means. God must impart it to us.
Some teach this passage as a 'conviction of sin' but I don't see that at all. It is not in the context of the passage. God convicts us of grace to restore relationships.
When David's back was against the wall he was available to hear from God. We will find ourselves in those places as well. Our own thinking can become a prison unless we receive the grace of God.
David could have declared Shimei an enemy. It would have been easy to do. Instead, David gave grace to an angry man. What a lesson that is for us.