During the winter of 1776, the Continental Army faced its most difficult test—survival. They were running out of food and clothing. Local merchants often refused to sell to them because they could get much higher prices from the British. While historians often focus on the war’s major battles, an important factor was keeping the army clothed and fed.
David had fled Jerusalem in a hurry. There is no indication that he had time to organize provisions for his followers. But once he came over the crest of the Mount of Olives, he met an unexpected source of support. Mephibosheth’s steward, Ziba, provided David with hundreds of loaves of bread, raisin cakes, and wine (v. 1). On the one hand, this can be viewed as a cynical manipulation on Ziba’s part. He made the calculation that he could use this crisis to his own advantage. He claimed that Mephibosheth was hoping for David’s defeat (v. 8). David believed this report and granted Ziba all of Mephibosheth’s possessions (v. 4). David would later change his mind when he heard the other side of the story (2 Sam. 19).
On the other hand, Ziba was one of the ways God provided for David and his men through this crisis. It is possible for God to use people to accomplish His purpose despite their intentions. David was also met by Shimei, a member of Saul’s family. Shimei cursed David and pelted him and his men with stones as a symbolic act of judgment. Rather than retaliating against Shimei, David took a humble approach. Some of what Shimei said was true, David had murdered and acted as a scoundrel (v. 7). David was willing to face the truth about himself and rely on God’s mercy for protection (v. 12).
>> God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. As Peter would later put it, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time” (1 Peter 5:6).
“Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours” (1 Chron. 29:11). We are humble because we know and worship You!