2 Sam 16-18
Click here for today’s reading of 2 Samuel 16-18. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Samuel%2016-18&version=NIV;MSG
I have included my usual NIV version and also one from The Message. Today’s reading has A LOT going on in it and I pray you will allow The Lord to speak to you…deeply, in these chapters. They are challenging, they are heavy, and make us take a deep look into our own hearts. Soak up everything The Lord has in store for you and I’d love to hear anything that touched you. Please remember ~ I am NOT a bible scholar ~~~ or ANYthing close. I’m just a person like you with my own challenges in life who loves The Lord and wants to learn as much as I can from HIM. And… I would LOVE to do it together….by seeing what The Lord places on your heart so I encourage you to share either in an email to me or on the blog below where it allows you to enter messages.
Chapter 16– If you have a Bible that includes cross references, this is a time this tool can really help. Do you remember Mephibosheth? If not, 2 Samuel 9 will tell his story. The bottom line was David and Jonathan (Saul’s son) made a covenant to look after each other. Jonathan also asked David to look after anyone in his family. Jonathan and Saul died, David won some wars then wanted to honor the Lord for the victories and also honored his covenant to Jonathan by SEARCHING for any remaining relatives of Saul. Ziba was a servant to Saul’s family, came before David and told him about Jonathan’s surviving son, Mephibosheth who had become lame in both legs when he was 5 years old. His nurse had heard about Saul and Jonathan’s death and in her haste to protect Mephibosheth, he fell and became crippled. When David found Mephibosheth, he restored his estate, made sure Ziba and his family had all they needed to serve Mephibosheth, and Mephibosheth ate at David’s table daily.
Now David was on the run from his son and Ziba appeared out of NO WHERE? At first appearance, it seems like such a kind thing for Ziba to do; after all, he brought David and his men all the things they could have possibly needed. David asked where Mephibosheth was and Ziba told David “he is staying in Jerusalem, because he thinks, “today the house of Israel will give me back my grandfather’s kingdom.” Now BEFORE you get all upset with Mephibosheth, ask yourself COULD Ziba be lying? David amidst all else that was going on was probably grateful for the animals, food, and wine and felt since his OWN son betrayed him ….anything was possible so he didn’t question Ziba in his own heart and mind. OH YES ZIBA could be lying right to David’s face…… ummmmmm what a slick willy!!!! I was SO bothered that Mephibosheth would have done this that I HAD to skip ahead in the reading and discovered in 1 Samuel 19:24-30 that Ziba had BETRAYED Mephibosheth, slandered him, and made his way before David. However, David was not so sure and tells Mephibosheth and Ziba to divide all the property he had given Ziba. Mephibosheth’s response is beautiful and tells his true heart: “Mephibosheth said to the king, “let him take everything now that my lord the king has arrived home safely.” Mephibosheth was left behind, and worried about the king. He was just happy to see David alive and home again. Once again…. we can never tell a book by it’s cover. EVEN when people come to us bearing gifts for our benefit……they still may be coming for the wrong reasons!!
Next we see Shimei, a relative of Saul, cursing David, throwing rocks at him, then FOLLOWING David and his men to continue the cursing, throwing rocks, and sand at them from above them!! David’s loyal man, Abishai was ready to cut Shimei’s head off for insulting “his king!!” However, David responds with deep thought and great composure: My son, who is of my own flesh is trying to take my life. How much more, then, this Benjamite!! (Saul was a Benjamite.) Leave him alone; let him curse, for The Lord has told him to.” I was touched by Abishai wanting to defend his King as well as David’s well thought out response. We still are able to see great character and integrity in David…even after all the sin. David made his share of mistakes and we are reading the consequences of his sin in these very chapters. However, David STILL returned to The Lord, asked for forgiveness, and LOVED God, seeking HIM and praising HIM at every turn (as we have seen in the Psalms we have read along the way.)
We are ONLY in chapter 16 (our first chapter of the day) and David has been betrayed by Ziba (but he doesn’t know it yet), and another Benjamite has cursed him and tried to stone him. STILL in chapter 16 ….. “Meanwhile”……back at the castle… Absalom and all the men of Israel came to Jerusalem with Ahithophel (he WAS David’s couselor…but betrayed David and joined Absalom’s side.) Hushai (loyal to David) is now a spy for David living with Absalom. He is carefully making sure Absalom believes him but not without concern from Absalom and his men. Absalom asks for Ahithophel’s advice as to what they should do next!! OH MY HEAVENS!! Ahithiphel tells Absalom to sleep with ALL of David’s concubines whom he had left to care for the castle until his return. NOW… he doesn’t JUST tell him to sleep with all of them, but to do it ON THE ROOF FOR ALL TO SEE!!
To really grasp the full meaning of what Ahithophel is telling Absalom to do we need to look at a couple of previous scriptures:
First, GO back to 2 Sam 3:6-7: When someone slept with their father’s concubine they were MAKING A CLAIM TO THE THRONE AND COMMITTING TREASON!! (That is why Saul’s son got angry at Abner’s remark) In this case, Absalom was making a major game move sleeping with the concubines.
Second, look at Nathan’s prophecy after David slept with Bathsheba!! This is what the LORD says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity upon you. Before your very eyes I WILL TAKE YOUR WIVES AND GIVE THEM TO ONE WHO IS CLOSE TO YOU, AND HE WILL LIE WITH YOUR WIVES IN BROAD DAYLIGHT. You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.’ ” (2 Sam 12:11) OUCH!!!
Last, this advice from Apithophel for Absalom to sleep with the concubines…wise advice? No it was not, BUT Apithophel’s “advice” was actually an answer to David’s prayer: “Now David had been told, “Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom.” So David prayed, “O LORD, turn Ahithophel’s counsel into foolishness.” (2 Sam 15:31) GOD CAN AND WILL USE ANYONE AND ANYTHING TO ACCOMPLISH HIS WILL, TO ANSWER OUR PRAYERS, TO FURTHER HIS KINGDOM!!!
I can see God working in all of this…. but WHAT a RED HOT MESS!!!! Living with the consequences of our sin, although we KNOW we are forgiven, is never easy. But like David, we can still have the FAITH to press forward and TRUST that God will use all things for our good (Romans 8:28.)
Chapter 17 — Proverbs 16:18 tells us that “pride goes before destruction.” Absalom apparently didn’t like the advice Ahithophel gave him and brought Hushai in for his advice. Hushai appealed to Absalom through flattery. So Absalom took Hushai’s advice. Absalom’s vanity was his OWN trap!!! Ahithophel was highly insulted that Absalom did not follow his advice. Remember that Ahithophel was once David’s closest counselor and had CHOSEN to be on the opposing team….Absalom’s team. kept asking for advice until he liked the answer (ahem..we so do that don’t we). Did Ahithophel KNOW Hushai’s plan would lead to the destruction of Absalom? I don’t know, but it is apparent he felt Absalom no longer valued his advice. AND IF Absalom was defeated he did not want to have to face David as an enemy because of his betrayal. So…. Ahithophel hung himself!!!
Chapter 18 — In verse 2 David says: “I myself will surly march out with you.” David I am sure remembered the last time he CHOSE not to go and didn’t fight with his men…he became bored…he cruised the roof top in the middle of the night….saw Bathsheba…and his lust, affair, sin, murder, cover up….ended in THIS current disaster with/against his son Absalom!! OYE VEY!! and OUCH!!
In verse 3 David COMMANDS Joab. Abishai, and Ittai: “Be gentle with the young man Absalom for MY sake.” And all the troops HEARD the king giving orders concerning Absalom to each of the commanders.”
In verse 8 were are told: “The battle spread out over the whole countryside, and the forest claimed more lives that day than the sword.” This told me that God was at work in bringing David back into leadership….I mean the FOREST claimed more lives than the sword!!! THAT is amazing!!!
Do you remember 2 days ago when we were reading 2 Samuel 14:26 and I mentioned you might want to remember how lovely, thick, and heavy Absalom’s hair was? Well in verse 9 today we read that: “…Absalom’s head (his thick, heavy hair) got caught in the tree. The Lord used it.
Now, Joab asks him men why didn’t they kill Absalom when they say him hanging in the tree by his hair in verse 11. Joab listens to their reply and they tell him they couldn’t kill Absalom because King David had asked them to deal gently with him. In verse 14 Joab takes matters into his own hands (ummmmmm…I think we have seen this side of him before!!) and he stabs Absalom with THREE javelins. However, this does not kill Absalom…. Joab’s armor bearers killed him.
We are also told that during Absalom’s lifetime, he had erected a pillar in the King’s Valley as a monument TO HIMSELF!!! In this same verse we are told that part of Absalom’s reason for erecting the pillar for himself was that “he had no sons to carry on the memory of my name.” HOWEVER, in 14:27 we were told that Absalom had three sons and a daughter (Tamar who he named in honor of his sister who was raped). Did his three sons all die in battle?? I don’t know..we are only told there are no sons at this point to carry on his name!! SAD!!
David hears of people running to him and he knows they are bearers of what he believes is good news. His first question… Is Absalom safe? David is told of Absalom’s death…but neither “news reporter” could tell him that Joab had been responsible for his death!!
Verse 16….”they took Absalom, threw him into a big pit in the forest and piled up a large heap of rocks over him. Meanwhile all the Israelites fled to their homes.” They way that Joab had Absalom buried with the stones piled upon him was an action of total disrespect. This was considered a criminal’s burial!!! It is obvious Joab had little to no respect for David’s requests!!
The Lord had won this battle (as HE always does) but the ending was very sad because of Joab’s self-righteous, possibly rebellious, and jealous nature.
David’s last words today “O my son Absalom! My son, my son, Absalom! If only I had died instead of you — O Absalom, my son, my son.”
This last verse today reminded me of two other times in scripture. The first one had a positive ending. Do you remember when Jacob/Israel discovered that his son Joseph was still alive and how happy he was. His words were something like “Joseph, my son my son, I thought you were dead and now I can touch you. You are alive.”
The second scripture it reminded me of dealt with David’s mourning and made me think of the Scripture about the Prodigal Son in Luke 15. As devastating as this Father/son relationship became….it was still beautiful. It is a portrait of the love for our father/child relationship with the Lord. All the wrongs and sins the child committed, and the ONLY thing the father wanted was to hold his son. Love him. Forgive him. He wanted him back, safe, just as in the Prodigal Son. David had the heart of Christ and we are the Absaloms in life. We ALL tend to “look for love in all the wrong places….;” we look for rewarding advice, vanity, physical riches, financial gain, revenge, immoral sex, exciting TV shows, entertaining radio shows, illegal drugs, unhealthy foods, and SO much MORE…YET our Father ONLY wants us back in HIS arms so HE can LOVE us.
REMEMBER…no MATTER what you have done, or what you are doing….God DESIRES a DEEP, PERSONAL, ETERNAL relationship with each of us. HE will put people, places, and scenarios of your own life or yourself in your head WHILE reading today. This is HIM speaking. LISTEN….Discern it…..KNOW HE wants to grow closer to YOU!!
What came to your mind today? Is there something The Lord is asking you to let go of, someone you need to forgive, or an action you need to repent of (confess it to HIM as sin, and TURN AWAY from it and TO HIM)? Don’t let the enemy fill your mind with ….”but you don’t understand…or I’ve done something too big to be forgiven…or He doesn’t want that relationship with ME….or HE doesn’t want to hear from me…” THOSE are lies from the pit of hell and the enemy wants nothing more than for you to believe the lies and keep you from growing deeper, closer, and melting into the arms or our Abba Father. DON’T BE DECEIVED. Also…. Romans 8:1 says: “there is NO condemnation in Christ.” So… RUN… to Jesus. HE is waiting for you.
If you have a close relationship with HIM….KNOW that NO THING can separate us from the wonderful love of God… NO THING!!!! Romans 8:38-39.
Sharing HIS love,