Daily Thought for: 15th May

BARZILLAI

2 Samuel 17. 27-29; 19. 31-40; 1 Kings 2. 1, 7

When David was on his death-bed he charged his son Solomon to care for Barzillai’s family: ‘shew kindness unto the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite, and let them be of those that eat at thy table’, 1 Kgs. 2. 7. Barzillai was a man of considerable wealth who, with Shobi and Machir at the time of Absalom’s rebellion, provided ‘honey, and butter, and sheep, and cheese of kine, for David, and for the people that were with him, to eat: for they said, The people is hungry, and weary, and thirsty, in the wilderness’, 2 Sam. 17. 29. Later, when David returned after victory over Absalom, Barzillai, by then an aged man of eighty years, escorted David over the river Jordan. Touched by his kindness and faithfulness, David extended to Barzillai the offer of a home in his palace in Jerusalem, but Barzillai refused, not wanting to be ‘a burden’, and wishing to share the burial place of his parents. David, however, never forgot and, later, extended kindness to Barzillai’s family. 

Barzillai had engaged in careful examination of his circumstances and, once these were clear before him, would do what he knew to be right even though it entailed refusing the gracious patronage of the king. This brought him peace and his family were blessed. We do well to emulate the example of Barzillai and review our responsibilities and conduct in the presence of the Lord. 

Believers at Corinth conducted themselves improperly before gathering at the Lord’s Supper and were exhorted, ‘let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup’, 1 Cor. 11. 28. A sterner exhortation is given in 2 Corinthians 13. 5, ‘Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?’ We should ponder also the exhortation, ‘I say . . . to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith’, Rom. 12. 3. Self-examination reminds us that all we have is what we have received. It will make us humble before the Lord and increase our sensitivity to what He has to say to us. 

 

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