“And there happened to be there a man of Belial, whose name was Sheba, the son of Bichri, a Benjamite: and he blew a trumpet, and said, We have no part in David, neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: every man to his tents, O Israel. So every man of Israel went up from after David, and followed Sheba the son of Bichri:” (2 Samuel 20:1-2).
Just when it seemed that things couldn’t get any worse for David, he was faced with a rebellion led by Sheba. It seemed as though things would never go right for David. On the heels of one uprising, Sheba caused another, and quickly new allegiances were formed.
Upon reading through 2 Samuel, Sheba doesn’t appear to be a significant character in the life of David. He’s mentioned a few times near the beginning of chapter 20, and then disappears until the end of the chapter, when his head gets cut off and thrown out of the city to Joab (vv. 21-22). Why should such a minor character matter at all? There’s a greater lesson here. Rather than follow David and submit to his leadership, Sheba opted to go his own way, and he took others with him. Maybe that doesn’t seem like a big deal, but upon understanding that David was God’s anointed, Sheba was really rebelling against God.
David wrote in Psalm 2, “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed…” (vv. 1-2). Whether in ancient times or present day, there’s no denying the damage and discouragement that result when people rage, and when they live only for themselves.
Some people even rage on other people because they have a different opinion. Though we’re in a different time than when David wrote those words, rage and vanity continue today.
While we deal with all kinds of rage here on earth, Psalm 2 continues, “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision.” (v. 4). The things that work us up here, that make us question God’s purpose, or how or why things are going the way they are, are really no question at all to Him. Matthew Henry wrote that “Sinners’ follies are the just sport of God’s infinite wisdom and power; and those attempts of the kingdom of Satan which in our eyes are formidable in his are despicable.”
Remember what the Lord said, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways… For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9). We may not always understand why people rage, or why bad things happen, but we can always rest assured that God has a plan and a purpose. No pain is wasted, and no hurt is worthless. The key when we don’t understand the plan is to keep following after God rather than turning to our own devices.
Sheba’s rebellion, while it was worrisome for David, was of no matter to God. Sheba met a tragic end, hunted by David’s army and having his head cut off (2 Samuel 20:21-22). We may think that we know better than God or that we have a better way than His, but in the end, it will only lead to our demise.
“There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Proverbs 14:12).