“So David and his men continued along the road while Shimei was going along the hillside opposite him, cursing as he went and throwing stones at him and showering him in dirt. The king and all the people with him arrived at their destination exhausted. And there he refreshed himself.” | 2 Samuel 16: 13-14 |
King David and his men had set off away from Jerusalem, aware that his son, Absalom, was in pursuit of his throne. Along the way they encounter Shimei, a member of Saul’s (his predecessor) family, who curses and abuses them. Rather than respond to or engage with Shimei, David instructs his men to leave him alone and continue walking. You see, David was able to recognise Shimei as a distraction and nothing more. If David had chosen to respond, it may have delayed them from reaching their destination at the required time and left David and his men vulnerable to Absalom and his men who were ready to attack.
Whatever the outcome may have been, David knew that Shimei wasn’t worth his time or energy. If ignoring this distraction left David feeling exhausted once he had reached his destination, he would imagine the dire state he would have been in, had he engaged with the distraction! Like David, we need to recognise what we should engage with and what we need to simply ignore.
Too often, we tend to confuse a distraction with a challenge we believe we need to overcome rather than walk away from. As a result, instead of ignoring the distraction and focusing on moving forward, we get caught up trying to fight something God never intended for us to fight in the first place. We end up:
Using our time, energy and emotions on what we should surrender to God
Staying where we are rather than seeing progress
Having nothing left in us for the things God asks us to partner with Him on, to build His Kingdom
What's worse, we miss out on seeing what God is doing right now because of misplaced focus.
Instead of engaging with the enemy, David trusted that God would work on his behalf and do what David couldn’t do in the situation. All David had to do was continue to move forward toward his destiny. Because he wasn’t delayed by the distraction, David was refreshed and prepared when the real battle came, positioned for victory.
I could certainly take a leaf out of David’s book and chose to trust God more, rather than allowing distractions to arrest my attention away from what really matters!