2 Samuel chapter 16 is where we are. And we’re going to look at a powerful passage that David, the way he chooses to respond in chapter 16 to me is one of those moments where I even got to question myself here and think, is this how I would respond? I mean, there’s such temperance and self control in how David interacts in one of the most difficult circumstances. I think any of us in his shoes we would face would be like, “This is a hard moment to follow Jesus in.” Right? But David, he responds in a very challenging moment with incredible self control and leaving us to ask the question, how do we find self control when we feel out of control?
And I know some of us, we talk about the term self control or the word self control we might start off with just asking the question, “Okay, why do I even want to do that? When I get to that moment where I just feel like, you know what, self control needs to go out the window.” There’s a few other solutions that feel much better than self control like kicking you or saying words. Those things feel better than self control. So why in the world should I have self control when there are times in life where I just don’t think I want to have self control.” Right. And the answer for that is pretty simple. It’s because it’s a fruit of the Spirit, right? The Bible tells us the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians chapter 5, verse 22 and 23, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness. And then that one word, self control. Some translations use the word temperance, which I like that actually a little bit better. I’ll explain why in a minute, but it’s a fruit of the Spirit God calls us to walk in, right?
God doesn’t want us to quench the Spirit, 1 Thessalonians 5:19. He doesn’t want us to grieve the Spirit, Ephesians chapter 4, verse 30, but rather we’re called to walk in the Spirit. Such a wonderful encouragement Paul gives us in that passage of scripture in Galatians 5, because what he’s acknowledging by encouraging us to walk in the spirit is that there is a war that happens in all of us. And there’s this idea of walking in the flesh, which wars against our soul or walking in the Spirit. And this idea of walking in the Spirit is carrying this self control in the way that we compose ourselves, because there’s a greater control in which we have in Jesus. In a moment where we find no peace and would rather attack, how do you find self control?
I know sometimes if I start off with today with a message like, “Hey guys, we’re going to talk about self control.” And five minutes before you got to church, your toddler was going crazy. And there were some things that were happening on the way that’s like, “Well, we don’t feel quite as close to Jesus as we did 10 minutes before getting here today and I don’t want to talk about self control.” I know how it goes. Sometimes you talk about a subject and it’s like, “Ah, let’s talk about it when it’s on my good day, not my bad day,” but I just want to say in terms of self control, if you feel like you’ve blown it recently, that is the most opportune time to talk about it because it’s in the place of maybe a little humility or a place where we’ve got the spotlight on an area of life that we know, “Man, I need to change here” that we’re more susceptible to just listen to what God says about it, right?
Like in terms of self control when you struggle with that, if you’re the type of person that gets to this place of utter despair, or just all this anger and vengeance, like a subject of self control becomes important, maybe most important when we know that we struggle in those areas. And so we’re looking in 2 Samuel chapter 16, what we’re going to see here is a story of David start to unfold in a powerful way, in the way he composes himself. And so I’m going to look at the context, then we’re going to talk about the content and we’re going to answer the question how did he find the power to contain himself and have this kind of self control? Okay.
So 2 Samuel chapter 16, verse 5, “When King David came to Bahurim, behold a man was coming out from there, from the family of the house of Saul. And his name was Shimei the son of Gera. He was coming out cursing as he came. He also threw stones at David and all of the servants of King David and all the people and all the warriors were on his right and on his left. This is what Shimei said when he cursed. ‘Go away. Go away, you man of bloodshed and worthless man, the Lord has brought back upon you, all the bloodshed of the house of Saul in whose place you have become King. And the Lord has handed the kingdom over to your son, Absalom and behold, you are caught in your own evil for you are a man of bloodshed.'”
Let me just give you a real quick snapshot, very broad snapshot down to the detail of what’s happening here. In Israel’s history, if you just follow along in the Old Testament and the Old Testament’s, kind of a new thing to you and how everything plays out, we’re finding ourselves in 2 Samuel when King David has just become the second King of Israel. And so the way Israel’s history has worked to this point as God calls one man, Abraham, Abraham leads this small family that is to eventually become a large tribe, Genesis chapter 12. Eventually this man comes up named Moses when the tribe from Abraham has grown to a significant portion and they find themselves as slaves of Egypt. And Moses has that famous statement in Egypt with Abraham’s household or the Jewish people, we call them to let them free from slavery. Moses leads them out of Egypt, this group of people into a promised land. When they get into this promised land, there’s sort of this dispersed group of 12 tribes.
They find their identity in 12 family members that have created these 12 tribes in Israel. And there’s sort of this discombobulated group of tribes in this land that God promised them. And they go through this period of judges, which there’s whole lot of chaos there, and they spiral down into just even personal destruction. They start attacking one another in this promised land and God appoints a king named Saul. Saul sort of leads the people of Israel, but they’re still not completely united. And eventually God, I think I just snorted, God removes Saul from the position of king and puts in King David and David unites all of Israel. And when you get to 2 Samuel starting in 11 and 12, we saw this in the last few weeks where David starts to have this decline in his ruling as king. Some difficult things happen in chapter 11, chapter 12 and on into really 13, 14, and 15, to the point when you get to chapter 15, his son Absalom tries to take the kingdom away from his father.
Now David is at a low point and his son is assuming the throne in Jerusalem and David is running for his life. He’s moving out of the capital into a place to find protection from his son who might try to take his life. And while this is going on, this man named Shimei comes out and is cursing at David while he’s moving away from Jerusalem as his son assumes that position.
A few things I’ll say about this. One, in terms of Absalom, chapter 15, the interesting thing Absalom in this story is very much a wolf. It tells us that he sits outside of the king’s gate and he would act on behalf of the King and he started to win the hearts of people and turn the people against David. Something I always think about in this kind of moment, is that in our lives we’re going to encounter wolves, right? And the interesting thing about wolves, Jesus described the wolves this way, is that wolves come to you in sheep’s clothing. I mean, they may have a bark on the inside, but on the outside, they try to live with everyone else as if they were a sheep. And wolves never think that they’re wolves. If you knew a wolf, when you saw a Wolf, you wouldn’t get near the wolf, right? But wools never think they’re wolves. Wolves always assume they’re just misunderstood sheep. And if you could just hear a little bit more about what they have to say, then obviously you would agree with them. They feel justified in whatever their behavior is. And that’s what Absalom was to David.
Shimei comes in and starts to attack David. And he comes from the house out of Saul, which should say something to us. He was a defender of Saul. He aligned himself with Saul and he was from the family of Saul, right? And when Shimei starts throwing these insults at David and kicking rocks towards him, literally, that’s what he does. He throws these insults at David. None of what he says is true. David’s not responsible for the death of Saul. Saul was responsible for the death of Saul. We read some passages on that last week.
Saul is the one that went into battle and Saul was the one that was killed in battle. David had nothing to do with that, but that’s not the way Shimei sees it. Right? And so he starts hurling these insults with David. And let me just say this. This is a reminder in the New Testament 1 Peter chapter three, verse 17, at the end of the day, if someone’s going to curse you and yell at you, let it be for something you’re not guilty of. Right? You can’t control what people do, but you can control that at night when you lay your head down on the pillow that you’ve got no guilt or shame for the way that you compose yourself in this world.
And I know we’re not perfect, but if you’re going to face adversity in life from other people, let it not be because you’re guilty. And if you are, reconcile, right, but this is where David’s at. His son has assumed the throne. And this man is attacking him as he leaves. He’s wounded. He’s hurt. How do you respond when you’re hurt? I know how I respond. I might become a little self-absorbed. I know sometimes that that’s okay. In fact, it can be even helpful. Right? I can remember a few times in my life I have actually blown out my knee and had to get some operations and when that has happened and I’m on the ground, you know something I failed to do, I didn’t stop in the middle of that moment. I look at everyone around me as I’m writhing in pain, saying, “Oh, excuse me guys. Does anyone need anything? Are you guys okay? I’m sorry. I couldn’t hear you over my screaming. Let me serve you.”
In the middle of pain, you become a little bit self absorbed, right? And sometimes it’s necessary to get through that moment. And thank God I got better. Right? I could get back up and walk again. Right? But you have to pay a little bit of attention to yourself to address what’s taking place in order to be able to move forward in life. Same thing’s true with your soul. What happens when your soul’s wounded? And what happens in that wounding when you can’t figure out how to move forward? What do you do when you focus on the hurt and you can’t move forward from the pain of the past? When we get stuck there, we tend to react in our pain in two ways. One, we act in despair because we have no hope or we react in vengeance because we see ourselves as the only hope. But rather than those two responses, how can we respond in this temperance or self control?
I think about when you get to that place of pain, it’s common. There’s a phrase typically said about people is hurt people, hurt people, right? And you gets to that place of pain, what comes out is that frustration just boils over. This act of vengeance. You have to be a hero. No one’s defending yourself. Where is my hope? My hope is me. Attack. And that’s exactly what happens in verse 9. Look what it says. Abishai steps in for David here while all this is going on. And he wants to respond with vengeance in verse 9, “Then Abishai the son of Zeruiah said to the King, ‘Why should this dead dog curse my Lord the king? Now let me go over and cut off his head.;” Reasonable solution. There’s this situation that’s adverse to us and let’s kill him.
Now, I know you read that and you’re like, “Whoa, whoa, whoa. We got to [inaudible 00:12:43] a bit.” But listen, I was thinking more like slap him or something. Or yell back at him. How about we just yell. How do we get right to cut off his head? But we got to remember, we’re talking about David, warrior king with some of the greatest warriors beside him. And one of the leaders in his army is Abishai. And so the response is, “Come against my King, I come against you,” I mean, if we just want to modernize it today, this is, we don’t go that far, but we can we’ll social media shame, right? How about that kind of vengeance will just drag your reputation through the mud. That’s the way we want to respond.
So if we’re going to read in this text, and this was kind of like, one of those where Abishai’d be like, “Do you want me to post something about it?” Maybe a little #byeFelicia or we just make some kind of YouTube video that shames Karen, right? She’s gone off again. And here we are just wanting to publicly humiliate her. Abishai is wanting to respond in vengeance on behalf of David. And that’s what vengeance … Vengeance is taking revenge, right? And you consider in these moments, the toxicity of what it would be to carry that kind of vengeance. And if there’s one lesson David had taught to him for several years is the toxicity of vengeance to the soul. He had a front row seat to the life of David or excuse me, the life of Saul and David had as a front row illustration of how vengeance destroys a person. That’s what Saul’s life became in the end. That’s what led to Saul’s death and removal as king.
David learned with vengeance, vengeance perpetuates the behavior that initially started the whole thing. Meaning if you respond in vengeance, you become the very thing that you despise about the other. That’s why when you read the life of David, when Saul’s attacking David, why David just doesn’t respond and attack Saul back. He knows if he were to kill Saul though, he had several opportunities to do so that when he assumed the throne as the next King of Israel, he would be putting himself on the throne as just another Saul.
And so vengeance perpetuates the behavior. And not only that, when vengeance becomes up to you or carrying out that behavior, you become a prisoner to the past. You’re constantly seeking the ways to execute the return of your pain. I’ve heard it said, he who controls your emotions, controls you. And when you allow your heart to go to that place, that’s exactly what’s happening. And in the end, what you find is really no place of healing. Your wounds fester out of frustration, you become like a broken record saying it over and over, reliving it over and over again. And you start to take your past experiences because they become such a big picture of all that you think about. And you begin to project that on your future expectations because your heart is rooted in that bitterness.
However, the way David responds is incredible. Put yourself in these shoes in this moment, you’re thinking about all the adversity you just faced with your son as you’re leaving Jerusalem. And this place of really heartbreak because your own son has turned against you. And now to top it all off, as you’re exiting and leaving and coming to this new place for your own safety and protection, Shimei comes out and just starts cursing you. You see David’s response in verse 10. “But the King said, ‘What business of mine is yours, you son of Zeruiah? If he curses and if the Lord has told him curse David, then who should say, why have you done so?’ Then David said to Abishai and all to all of his servants, ‘Behold, my son who came out of my own body, seeks my life. How much more now this Benjamite? Leave him alone and let him curse. For the Lord has told him. Perhaps the Lord will look on my misery and return good to me instead of the cursing this day.’ So David and his men went on the road and Shimei kept going on the hillside, close beside him. And as he went, he cursed and threw stones and dirt at him.”
So I think similar things happening here, as we looked at last week at the death of David’s son, that David’s just recognizing, look, God doesn’t you to go into this world and do sinful things. God does not tell you, “Okay, go do bad things. And I’m just going to call it good,” right? That’s not how God’s working. That’s not what’s happening in this passage of scripture. But what I think David’s acknowledging here is that God has at least permitted or allowed this individual to behave this way. That God is completely capable of taking this person’s life any moment. God sees this person’s behavior. And for whatever reason, God has permitted this person could behave this way, though god doesn’t agree with that, right.
Does that make sense? God, doesn’t agree with the way that we do things as people sometimes. But God allows you to make your own mistakes. And I think this is true in this passage of scripture that David’s saying, “Look, God sees right where I’m at. God knows what he’s doing. God knows what we’re doing. Just let him keep doing his thing because God is completely aware of what’s happening here. And David exercises incredible self control.
When you think about self control, it’s just as helpful to understand what it isn’t as it is what it is. We ultimately want to land with what it is. We have clarity on that, but a few things about what it isn’t. Self control, I think one of the things we can draw from this passage doesn’t mean just sit there and endure abuse, right? It’s not like I’m going to show you how incredible I am at self control by putting myself in every sort of temptation that I can think of, right. Look how great I am at self control like, I’m like a master Tai-Chi of the fifth black belt. Punch me in the stomach and I’ll show you how well I can absorb the pain, right? That’s not what self control is about. That’s foolish. And David, in this moment, while this person is reacting towards him in a negative way, David just doesn’t sit there and take it, right? I mean, the passage, at least is saying to us and David is moving on because he realizes in just a few moments, they’ll be away from this individual. And so David moves away from the tack. He has nothing to prove here.
And self control, I would add to that knows healthy boundaries are needed. Healthy boundaries are needed. Not this idea of demonstrating how spiritual you’ve become by putting yourself in temptation. If someone sat there long enough with David’s camp, I’m sure somebody would have died before this ended. But healthy boundaries are needed. Martin Luther used to say it like this. He said, “You can’t stop a bird from flying over your head, but you can stop it from building a nest in your hair.” Be wise in understanding we as humans, we all have weaknesses. And when temptation arises in our weakness and we’re given opportunity, we can fail. So boundaries are important. Not enduring the abuse. God certainly wants us to move away from these things.
And I think it’s also important to recognize that self control permits justice. Romans 12 tells us vengeance is the Lord’s. So vengeance belongs to God, not us, but self control certainly permits the opportunity of justice. We, as human beings should have reasonable expectations of people, right? There’s accountability with things we do in life. And we’re okay to hold people accountable for things that are wrong. That’s why we have laws in this land and to have those expectations that are reasonable. That’s the difference between justice and vengeance. Vengeance has acted upon you for your behalf. And it gets very emotional and justice is intended to be objective towards the offense. Is it reasonable? So being in self control and exercise and justice can certainly go hand in hand.
And in fact, I think it’s wise and in many cases to do so. The laws of land are created to protect you. And to be reasonable in that justice is like this in my life if I were to go on an African safari and I were to see a lion, eating a deer like reasonable expectation here, I’m not mad at the lion for eating the deer. That’s what lions are made to do and I don’t need justice, but if I were to go on the same Safari and I were to watch a human jump on a deer and just start eating it, there needs to be some sort of justice. That’s not reasonable. Is this a zombie or a human? Either way, let’s do something about this, right? There’s reasonable expectation, the way that we live life and that person’s self control is out of control and justice, justice may be needed here. So there’s this reasonable expectation in the way that we have self control.
Self control, is about acting, not reacting. It means you do not react and emotion or simply be dictated by the circumstance, but act based on a predetermined decision as to what would dictate your response. Does that make sense? What I’m saying here is for David, he’s got a bigger goal than just Shimei. And you saw it in verses 10 to 13, because in his reference to the circumstance, he continues to interject the thoughts of the Lord. David’s thinking much bigger picture here and of the pursuit of his heart isn’t just simply to serve himself, but he’s seeking after God, “What do you want in that moment?” Because in adversity, if the desire of your soul is simply about you, then vengeance is yours, but if it’s about the Lord, self control becomes a part. Because you understand the moments where you may be out of control you exercise self control because you know that he is in control. Self control is the ability to say no to your fleshly desires. Why? Because you live for a greater purpose.
David in these moments had a greater hope. And guys, so do we. Jesus. This is what makes the church different than the world. This is why, when things go crazy out there, we can walk in peace here. Because the desires of our heart look different than the things around us. And we live for more than just self in this world, but seek a desire to honor our King. So it’s not about serving me in my selfish ambition in the middle of a moment, though, there is a place in pain to find my heart mended in the Lord, but it’s to always ask Jesus, what do you desire in these moments?
The reason you don’t give into every temptation, it’s because you have something greater. And that greater prize is Christ. I think we lose control when we stopped walking in that belief. David finds his self control in these moments. And I think verse 14 for us becomes the key to all of it. If you look at this passage, even after these moments, when David is talking about the Lord here and seeking after the Lord here in verse 14, “And the King and all the people who are with him arrived exhausted,” and look at this. So it’s honest about where he is at in his soul. “And he refreshed himself there.” So when the King and his people arrived exhausted, what do they do? They refresh themselves. This idea of David being refreshed in the Lord is important because it’s showing us that his heart desire, the reason the secret to his control is found in this verse. And specifically this word refreshed.
David is seeking after the Lord. David, in the New Testament, we would say symbolizes walking in the spirit. How do we know this? Well, this word refreshed is only used two other times in the Bible. It’s in Exodus 23:12 and 31:17. And every time it’s used, it’s used in connection to the Sabbath when God says to Israel, in those two passages is to make sure that they observed the Sabbath so that their souls are refreshed in him. David, in these moments, while he’s going through this adversity, his mind continues to be on the Lord, he’s seeking after God’s direction. He has this self control in this moment because he’s walking with a bigger picture to where he’s at and knows that he’s not out of control. So therefore he can exercise self control because God is in control and he continues to rest his soul in that moment to find himself refreshed.
Another reason we know David was seeking after the Lord in all of this is David wrote a dozen Psalms during this time period. David’s heart continued to honor God and to proclaim his name, even in this adversity. So we think about self control or this idea of temperance. I like temperance a little bit better, but self control is not simply saying no to sin. It’s not about, “Look, I’m going to show you how self controlled I am by not giving into the temptation.” But rather it’s to acknowledge that the reason you’re able to have the control is because your life is given to something else. And that carries more weight and value for you. I have a greater purpose because I serve a bigger God.
So David gives into this, and here’s the irony. The irony of self control as a fruit of the Spirit is when you think about it, it’s a bit of a paradox. Like what does it mean to have self control? Well, it means that you actually aren’t in control because you’ve given yourself to the Spirit, right? It’s like, wait, why are we calling this self anything? Because this word self has to do with me. But in order to have self control, it’s about me dying to myself so the Spirit has control of my life, right? It’s not really self anything, right? That’s why I think temperance might be a little bit better word here, because it’s about losing yourself in order to honor what God calls me to do in him and through him.
A little bit of a paradox, but here’s what it’s acknowledging. In Romans chapter 6 it says this, “Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with him in order that our body of sin might be done away with so that we would no longer be slaves to sin for the one who has died is freed from sin.” So here’s what the word self control is acknowledging. It’s saying before Jesus, what you live for, what you were owned by was sin. And sin is destructive. And the reason we sin in because we live for self. When we live for self, we look at this world as our playground and all of its pleasures simply for our purposes. And God certainly didn’t make things in life pleasurable to enjoy, but that enjoyment is for delight in him and his glory.
And so what happens within us as there’s this warring within our soul and all it’s given into his self and this pleasure for self. And that’s why we can’t control ourselves because when someone comes after us or attacks us, because we’re the king of our own world, we take it personal. And we just want to bring vengeance back because life is about me and on my throne and how dare you lower me to any position beneath my throne. And I’m going to show you, right? But then there comes a moment as a believer, when you die to self and you embrace Christ, and you realize that throne was never your throne to sit on, but it belongs to him. And now when you give your life for that, and you die to self, as Romans 6 says, now you have a completely different purpose to live for. And there is this warring that happens within us, walk in the flesh or in the spirit.
And now you have a choice. And the self control is this choosing within yourself to either live for your own glory or to live for his. That’s what this passage is acknowledging. Self control says, “I trust God to work things out in a much greater way,” and I think God can blow us away in what’s possible. Even if you took the vengeance road, isn’t it worth considering that anything that you might do in your limited power pales in comparison to what God can do, who is for you? Why waste the energy? I love that in Romans chapter 12, “‘Vengeance is mine. I will repay,’ saith the Lord.” It belongs to him.
I remember a very powerful lesson I had. Once I was in college, I went on this retreat as a, what do you call it? Like a supervisor or whatever for kids at this high school retreat, helping out with different things. And I remember watching this youth pastor get up and he got up in front of the kids. And he said, he explained this game. And it was very complicated. And he realized as they went through this game, that there were a lot of ways kids could cheat. And he said, “But if you cheat, I just want you to know I’m not going to do anything about it. The reason I’m not going to do anything about it is because what God’s going to do about it is worse than anything I’ll do anyway.” It was the best game we played all week. There was no cheating, oh Lord. The fear of the Lord. But this is what it comes down to, guys. What it comes down to is self control. Who do you want to trust in, yourself or the Lord?
When I think about this story of David, I think Jesus is the example of one cursed yet acts in self control. So much so that the night when Jesus was betrayed, in John chapter 13, Jesus is sitting with Judas and the rest of the disciples, and they’re breaking bread, they’re having their last supper together. And Jesus knows he’s about to be betrayed by Judas in chapter 13, verse 18, Jesus quotes, Psalm 41. What’s incredible about Psalm 41 is Psalm 41 is a Psalm that David wrote when Absalom was coming against him. Jesus in the final moments of his life, he reflects on David in this moment as the ultimate illustration of how he’s choosing to walk a path of self control and obedience to the Father so that in all things we can all find freedom. It’s incredible. When you think about Jesus in this moment, completely justified to act in his vengeance and justice because he is holy and righteous. But he knows in self control something greater awaits.
Psalm 41. You guys have that? Psalm 41. Psalm 41:9. You can even see this. David writes this, but you can even think about Jesus in the upper room just saying this. “Even my close friend in whom I have trusted who ate my bread has lifted up his heel against me.” Judas, right? They’re having the last supper together and Jesus walking in the self control, Isaiah 53:5 describing Jesus at his death. It says, “He was pierced for our offenses. He was crushed for our wrongdoings. The punishment for our wellbeing was laid upon him.” I think about Jesus in the moments when his cross. And I think about even the bystanders and what they shouted out to Christ. You just consider the description here, pierced, crushed, punished. How weak is he? That’s what they shouted out. “How weak are you, Jesus. Why don’t you save yourself, why don’t you do something about it? Great savior you are. What kind of King is this? Wimp.” But in Jesus, here’s what you find. Self control isn’t weakness.
In fact, self control only happens when you have incredible confidence. Vengeance is weakness. Self control is incredible trust and faith and confidence. It’s when you have no hope and you feel out of control, you get anger and despair, but Godly self control is incredibly powerful. When you see all these words that Jesus went through, he was pierced, he was crushed, he was punished. But then in the middle of all that, through his self control, you find this incredible reversal, the statement where it says, “And by his wounds, we are healed.” Walking in obedience, faithfulness. God does something incredible that we couldn’t even imagine.
You think about all the difficult things that you’ve gone through in life. Maybe sometimes you’ve lost self control and other times you’ve maintained self control, but you’re left with the question, but for what? And here in this verse, you see the importance of self control. Self control provides the platform for God to do incredible things in the life of his people. I’ve been in this Christian walk long enough to know, act like an idiot today and it may not bite you in the rear end tomorrow, but in 10 years from now, it has this way of just coming back around. But if you just walk in the self control, it’s incredible. See the opportunity that it provides for what God can do. And God can do more than we could even imagine. On a day like this in history, when they thought all hope was lost, Jesus uses this as a day of celebration for his people that the grave has been won and sin has been conquered. Self control was the way in which God’s Spirit moves through his people.
Don’t let vengeance cause you to stay in the place God already stands for you. We don’t have to react, but we can act in faith. Don’t mimic the behavior of your enemies, but rather bear the fruit of the Spirit. Do you believe God will work it out? Do you believe in Christ that nothing is wasted? Do you believe he sees every adversity you face? Do you believe God knows right where you are right now and all that you’re going through. Do you believe he is with you? Do you believe that he’s for you? Maybe I should ask is he with you? Is he for you? Do you trust in him? What God will do in his infinite strength is far better than what you can do in your limited capacity. When I feel out of control, I know I can have self control because of the trust I have in the one who is in control and he works all things together for good to those who love him.