Introduction

In our previous post, we read about the 3rd will of King David. That is to show kindness to the sons of Barzillai. We had explored the character Barzillai and the help he gave to King David during the rebellion of Absalom.

We have learnt the importance of giving help that is timely and necessary.

Now let us continue learning from the grace that Barzillai showed to David

Pt 2: Barzillai Choose To Stand By David When He Is The Weakest

2 Sam 15 describes the dangerous position David was in

“While Absalom was offering sacrifices,
  he also sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite,
  David’s counselor, to come from Giloh,
  his hometown. And so the conspiracy
  gained strength, and Absalom’s following
  kept on increasing.

  A messenger came and told David,
  “The hearts of the people of Israel are with Absalom.”
 
Then David said to all his officials who
  were with him in Jerusalem, “Come! We
  must flee, or none of us will escape from
  Absalom. We must leave immediately,
  or he will move quickly to overtake us and
  bring ruin on us and put the city to the sword.” (2 Sam 15:12-14)

King David was in a very difficult and dangerous situation, for the powers of Absalom had grown tremendously, he had attained fame and there were many who would follow him. Even Ahithophel, the counsellor of David had chosen to follow Absalom.

His power grew to the extent that David knew he is unable to resist him, so he fled from Jerusalem. If David did not do so, he would have been killed. That is the time where it will be dangerous to support David. For it will incur the wrath of Absalom and make you his enemy.

But Barzillai chose to support David openly, he is willing to go through the hardship together with him. He is well aware of the danger he put himself in, he is well aware of the fact that David had lost his power as King. He knew that David was too weak to resist Absalom.

If we are in Barzillais shoes, who will we choose to support? If we consider the facts, we would not dare to support King David, the odds are not to his favor and his enemy was too strong for him to resist. But yet Barzillai chose to show his loyalty by standing at David’s side. His action left a deep impression in David and he would not forget it.

True Friends Remains In Times Of Trouble  

It is easy for one to have a lot of acquaintances in times of peace. But the question remains that how many of these friends will stand by us in times of trouble. The Chinese had a saying which reads

“有酒有肉多兄弟。
  急难何曾见一人”
(yǒu​ jiǔ​ yǒu​ ròu​ duō​ xiōng​ dì​。
  jí​ nàn​ hé ​céng​ jiàn​ yī​ rén​)

Translated it reads “With Wine And Meat Comes Many Brothers, But How Many Will We Find In times Of Crisis”

Let us not be fair weather friends who appears only during parties. Let us be true friends that remains even in times of trouble. For a true friend will remain loyal even in times of trouble

Suffering Together With Christ

Likewise today. true Christians have to suffer together with Christ. Just like what Elder Peter exhorts us

“Dear friends, do not be surprised
  at the fiery ordeal that has come
  on you to test you, as though
  something strange were happening
  to you.  But rejoice inasmuch as you
  participate in the sufferings of Christ,
  so that you may be overjoyed when
  his glory is revealed. 

  If you are insulted because of the name
  of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit
  of glory and of God rests on you.  If you
  suffer, it should not be as a murderer or
  thief or any other kind of criminal, or
  even as a meddler. However, if you suffer
  as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but
  praise God that you bear that name.” – Peter (1 Pet 4:12-16)

There are many who claims to be suffering from the Lord, but sometimes we need to ask ourselves if we are suffering for the Lord or for our mistake? Peter here reminds us not to suffer for the wrong reason. For that is not suffering for the Lord

Only if one suffer for the sake of being Christian, that is true suffering for the Lord. Peter tells us that those who are reproached for Christ sake are blessed. Even if our family turn against us as enemies, and our best friends choose to be stranger to us. As long as we are suffering because of our effort to keep the word of God. Then we would be blessed

Even though people change, and there are many who comes and go in our lives, God will never change and he will know if we are keeping the words of God. Therefore let us not be afraid of being ridiculed for keeping the commandments of the Lord.

For those who keep his words will sometimes end up on a lonely path. Many will comment that we are being too extreme, and too difficult. Especially when it comes to the matter of right and wrong. But still we must let our yes be yes and our no, no. When we are made to choose between standing on the side of God or to suffer wrong. Let us make the right decision.

To do so require courage, for sometimes we may need to pay the cost for standing at the side of God. For we may need to suffer for that decision and have our feeling hurt by the comments of others.

Jesus once said

“Blessed are those who are persecuted
  for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is
  the kingdom of heaven.

  Blessed are you when they revile and
  persecute you, and say all kinds of evil
  against you falsely for My sake.  Rejoice
  and be exceedingly glad, for great is your
  reward in heaven, for so they persecuted
  the prophets who were before you.” – Jesus (Matt 5:10-12)

Today as disciples of Christ we must be willing to suffer for the truth. Just like how Barzillai suffered alongside the King David. That event left a deep impression in the mind of David. Likewise if Christians were to stand with God even in the midst of trouble, he will receive the reward when Christ comes again.

 Pt 3: Barzillai Did Not Expect A Reward For His Love 

2 Sam 19:31-36 records the time when David was returning to Jerusalem to reclaim his throne. Barzillai was happy and he came to escort king David. He did not come to meet David for a reward, all he wanted to do is to send him off. He only accompanied King David a little way across the jordan.

Barzillai helped David without expecting anything in return. But I believe that this sent off would have been a memorable event in the life of Barzillai. For he wanted to see David one more time, and that would perhaps be the last time he meet King David face to face.  That was because he is an old man, and he knows his days are numbered.

David was happy to see him and he wanted to provide for Barzillai in his old age. It was a chance of a lifetime for it is an honour to stay with the king. But he declined and he gave his reason

“How long have I to live, that I should
  go up with the king to Jerusalem? 
  
I am today eighty years old. Can I discern
  between the good and bad? Can your servant
  taste what I eat or what I drink? Can I hear
  any longer the voice of singing men and
  singing women? Why then should your
  servant be a further burden to my lord the
  king?  Your servant will go a little way across
  the Jordan with the king. And why should the
  king repay me with such a reward? “Barzillai (2 Sam 13:34-36)

Barzillai told the king that he is old, and even if the king were to give him the best, he will never be able to enjoy it fully. Barzillai did not lust for the prestige of staying in the palace and he did not want to burden the King.

This is what that makes Barzillai so respectable. Even though David was willing to take care of him, but he is not willing to trouble the King. The King wanted very much to reward him, but he did not come to the king seeking a reward. This is what makes Barzillai a special person.

Understanding True Charity

Barzillai is a good example of what it means to help someone in need. We need to learn the art of giving from Barzillai

Assuming today if we were to help someone and he did not even thank us for the help. How would we react to it? Will we get angry and upset?

If we offer help with an expectation for a reward, then it is not called a giving, a sacrifice. That form of Charity is more like a form of investment. We all know that there is a huge difference between investment and charity.

Christians are suppose to be charitable without expecting any for of reward. If one were to offer help with an expectation to be treated well, they will regret if they did not receive what they desire. That regret will also be a testimony that their charity is merely a form of investment

Jesus once taught about giving

“Therefore, when you do a charitable deed,
  do not sound a trumpet before you as the
  hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the
  streets, that they may have glory from men.
  Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 
  But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your
  left hand know what your right hand is doing,” – Jesus (Matt 6:2-3)

In this passage he talks about 2 forms of giving. The type of giving practiced by the Pharisees is done so that others could see it. They did it to get glory from man, they would even blow the trumpet so that everyone will know it. They had already received their reward.

True charity is given without expecting anything in return. A man who does that will never regret his action, nor will he even recall the incident. Is it possible for the left hand not to know what the right hand is doing? The only way is to forget the incident completely.

That is true charity, for the man had forgotten his act of kindness completely. He did not want any reward or anything in return. He did it for God for he knows that he is just sharing the grace God had given to him.  When God see his actions in secret, he will reward him in secret.

Conclusion

For these two post, we had  studied in details of the love Barzillai shown to King David. We had learnt about giving. We had also examined 3 reasons why the love of Barzillai left such a deep impression in King David. Let us recap the 3 reasons.

Reason 1: Barzillai showed grace to King David in his hour of need.

Barzillai sent help to King David at the time he needs it the most. We learnt the importance of providing gifts of significance. We learnt the importance of sharing the blessing of God with those in need.

Reason 2 : Barzillai choose to suffer together with David

Barzillai chose to support David at the point where he is the weakest. He chose to suffer alongside King David. Today if Christians were to suffer for the sake of Christ. He will be rewarded by God.

Reason 3 : Barzillai gave without expecting anything in return

Barzillai did not show kindness for the sake of receiving reward from King David. When King David wanted to return his kindness by allowing him to stay in Jerusalem. He declined his offer for he did not want to burden the King.

We learnt the difference between Charity and Investment. We know that God will bless those who give without expecting anything in return.

The grace Barzillai shown to David is something that David could never forget. He is a respectable man and someone we need to emulate.

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