The road may not seem easy. The road may not seem short. But when we walk it with God, everything will be ok. Be it called into leadership and then having to run for your life. Be it setup in a position of leadership at a young age and the only thing you have is God. Be it attacks from all sides as you try to reclaim the territory that was supposed to be yours. When God is the only thing you have, you have everything that you need!
Today as we continue to read through 2 Samuel, we see how because David was living for God and realizing that the battle belongs to the Lord, we see how he was victorious, not because of who David was, but because of who God was. We see it repeated in 2 Samuel 8 “The Lord made David victorious everywhere.” And with the victory being God’s David gave much of the spoil to the Lord!
We also see how David had a heart for his promises and his friends. As he reflected on Jonathan is dear friend, he started to look and see if there was anyone left from that family for he and Jonathan had made a packed of friends forever and that their families would be too. David asks “Is there anyone left of Saul’s family? If there is, I would like to show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake.” The interesting thing about this story is that back in those days, when a new king came into power, they tended to kill the previous king’s family to ensure there wouldn’t be any resurrections or attacks on the throne. David’s heart was for his friend and to God. Jonathan’s son was crippled because of that fear and David’s heart was to show him kindness and take care of him. He wasn’t sure what was going to happen and David surprised him with a royal welcome…
6When Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan and grandson of Saul, arrived, he bowed down before David in respect. David said, “Mephibosheth,” and he answered, “At your service, sir.” 7“Don’t be afraid,” David replied. “I will be kind to you for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will give you back all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always be welcome at my table.” 8Mephibosheth bowed again and said, “I am no better than a dead dog, sir! Why should you be so good to me?” 9Then the king called Ziba, Saul’s servant, and said, “I am giving Mephibosheth, your master’s grandson, everything that belonged to Saul and his family. 10You, your sons, and your servants will farm the land for your master Saul’s family and bring in the harvest, to provide food for them. But Mephibosheth himself will always be a guest at my table.” (Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.) 11Ziba answered, “I will do everything Your Majesty commands.”So Mephibosheth ate at the king’s table, just like one of the king’s sons. 12Mephibosheth had a young son named Mica. All the members of Ziba’s family became servants of Mephibosheth. 13So Mephibosheth, who was crippled in both feet, lived in Jerusalem, eating all his meals at the king’s table. — 2 Samuel 9
Some times even when your heart is in the right place, people who are jaded may not see it that way and may think you are up to something. We see this happen in 2 Samuel 10 as David wants to give his condolences to an old ally and friend who has passed but his son and his son’s advisors don’t provide wise counsel leading to a battle and their demise. They even decided to insult the messengers who came to give the kings condolences to make it even worse. So don’t overreact but rather check with God for wisdom, it’s so much better than the wisdom of man!
David wasn’t perfect and none of us are. One thing he did do though, was turn back to God and repent when it was brought to his attention that he has gone off track. It’s something that we should consider as we walk through life. Life isn’t always easy and God’s Word tells us “In this world you will have trouble” but Jesus doesn’t stop there, he concludes with “but take heart, for I have overcome the world“. An example of such a trip up was in the story of Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11-12). He didn’t go with the troops, didn’t just look, but he looked again, he then sent for her, he then got her pregnant, he then sent for her husband so that they could cover it up, that didn’t work so then he sent a message that would cause her husband to be killed, and then he married her. There may only have been a few people who knew what really happened, but God knew and wasn’t pleased at all. So God sent a prophet to talk to David. Nathan speaks of it as a story to get David to realize what really happened and to show how David would respond. We see how when David realized the mistake , how he responds and we see how God reconciles with David.
Nathan’s Message and David’s Repentance
1The Lord sent the prophet Nathan to David. Nathan went to him and said, “There were two men who lived in the same town; one was rich and the other poor. 2The rich man had many cattle and sheep, 3while the poor man had only one lamb, which he had bought. He took care of it, and it grew up in his home with his children. He would feed it some of his own food, let it drink from his cup, and hold it in his lap. The lamb was like a daughter to him. 4One day a visitor arrived at the rich man’s home. The rich man didn’t want to kill one of his own animals to fix a meal for him; instead, he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared a meal for his guest.” 5David became very angry at the rich man and said, “I swear by the living Lord that the man who did this ought to die! 6For having done such a cruel thing, he must pay back four times as much as he took.” 7“You are that man,” Nathan said to David. “And this is what the Lord God of Israel says: ‘I made you king of Israel and rescued you from Saul. 8I gave you his kingdom and his wives; I made you king over Israel and Judah. If this had not been enough, I would have given you twice as much. 9Why, then, have you disobeyed my commands? Why did you do this evil thing? You had Uriah killed in battle; you let the Ammonites kill him, and then you took his wife! 10Now, in every generation some of your descendants will die a violent death because you have disobeyed me and have taken Uriah’s wife. 11I swear to you that I will cause someone from your own family to bring trouble on you. You will see it when I take your wives from you and give them to another man; and he will have intercourse with them in broad daylight. 12You sinned in secret, but I will make this happen in broad daylight for all Israel to see.’” 13“I have sinned against the Lord,” David said.Nathan replied, “The Lord forgives you; you will not die. 14But because you have shown such contempt for the Lord in doing this, your child will die.” 15Then Nathan went home.
David’s Son Dies
The Lord caused the child that Uriah’s wife had borne to David to become very sick. 16David prayed to God that the child would get well. He refused to eat anything, and every night he went into his room and spent the night lying on the floor. 17His court officials went to him and tried to make him get up, but he refused and would not eat anything with them. 18A week later the child died, and David’s officials were afraid to tell him the news. They said, “While the child was living, David wouldn’t answer us when we spoke to him. How can we tell him that his child is dead? He might do himself some harm!” 19When David noticed them whispering to each other, he realized that the child had died. So he asked them, “Is the child dead?”“Yes, he is,” they answered. 20David got up from the floor, took a bath, combed his hair, and changed his clothes. Then he went and worshiped in the house of the Lord. When he returned to the palace, he asked for food and ate it as soon as it was served. 21“We don’t understand this,” his officials said to him. “While the child was alive, you wept for him and would not eat; but as soon as he died, you got up and ate!” 22“Yes,” David answered, “I did fast and weep while he was still alive. I thought that the Lord might be merciful to me and not let the child die. 23But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Could I bring the child back to life? I will some day go to where he is, but he can never come back to me.”
Solomon Is Born
24Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba. He had intercourse with her, and she bore a son, whom David named Solomon. The Lord loved the boy 25and commanded the prophet Nathan to name the boy Jedidiah, because the Lord loved him.
— from 2 Samuel 12
And just because He was following after God, didn’t mean there weren’t other challenges and problems that cropped up. 2 Samuel 13 speaks of just such a challenges. sibling rivalry, rape, murder… wow. As the story continues into 2 Samuel 14, we see how the spirit of reconciliation covered David’s family too. It’s interesting how if you don’t pay close attention, you miss the number of lost sons that come home throughout the Bible. We see it here, and we see it in Jesus’ prodigal son story too. Different reasons for the separation, however, in both cases we see the spirit of love and reconciliation between father and son.
Just because we do the right thing doesn’t guarantee the outcome. We just need to keep our hope and trust in God, because if we have God then we have all that we need! As we continue reading in 2 Samuel 15, we see that even after the reconciliation and bring Absalom back, it seems to go off track.
Absalom Plans Rebellion
1After this, Absalom provided a chariot and horses for himself, and an escort of fifty men. 2He would get up early and go and stand by the road at the city gate. Whenever someone came there with a dispute that he wanted the king to settle, Absalom would call him over and ask him where he was from. And after the man had told him what tribe he was from, 3Absalom would say, “Look, the law is on your side, but there is no representative of the king to hear your case.” 4And he would add, “How I wish I were a judge! Then anyone who had a dispute or a claim could come to me, and I would give him justice.” 5When the man would approach Absalom to bow down before him, Absalom would reach out, take hold of him, and kiss him. 6Absalom did this with every Israelite who came to the king for judgment, and so he won their loyalty. 7After four years Absalom said to King David, “Sir, let me go to Hebron and keep a promise I made to the Lord. 8While I was living in Geshur in Syria, I promised the Lord that if he would take me back to Jerusalem, I would worship him in Hebron.” 9“Go in peace,” the king said. So Absalom went to Hebron. 10But he sent messengers to all the tribes of Israel to say, “When you hear the sound of trumpets, shout, ‘Absalom has become king at Hebron!’” 11There were two hundred men who at Absalom’s invitation had gone from Jerusalem with him; they knew nothing of the plot and went in all good faith. 12And while he was offering sacrifices, Absalom also sent to the town of Gilo for Ahithophel, who was one of King David’s advisers. The plot against the king gained strength, and Absalom’s followers grew in number.
David Flees from Jerusalem
13A messenger reported to David, “The Israelites are pledging their loyalty to Absalom.” 14So David said to all his officials who were with him in Jerusalem, “We must get away at once if we want to escape from Absalom! Hurry! Or else he will soon be here and defeat us and kill everyone in the city!” 15“Yes, Your Majesty,” they answered. “We are ready to do whatever you say.” 16So the king left, accompanied by all his family and officials, except for ten concubines, whom he left behind to take care of the palace. 17As the king and all his men were leaving the city, they stopped at the last house. 18All his officials stood next to him as the royal bodyguards passed by in front of him. The six hundred soldiers who had followed him from Gath also passed by, 19and the king said to Ittai, their leader, “Why are you going with us? Go back and stay with the new king. You are a foreigner, a refugee away from your own country. 20You have lived here only a short time, so why should I make you wander around with me? I don’t even know where I’m going. Go back and take all your people with you—and may the Lord be kind and faithful to you.” 21But Ittai answered, “Your Majesty, I swear to you in the Lord’s name that I will always go with you wherever you go, even if it means death.” 22“Fine!” David answered. “March on!” So Ittai went on with all his men and their dependents. 23The people cried loudly as David’s followers left. The king crossed Kidron Brook, followed by his men, and together they went out toward the wilderness. 24Zadok the priest was there, and with him were the Levites, carrying the sacred Covenant Box. They set it down and didn’t pick it up again until all the people had left the city. The priest Abiathar was there too. 25Then the king said to Zadok, “Take the Covenant Box back to the city. If the Lord is pleased with me, some day he will let me come back to see it and the place where it stays. 26But if he isn’t pleased with me—well, then, let him do to me what he wishes.” 27And he went on to say to Zadok, “Look, take your son Ahimaaz and Abiathar’s son Jonathan and go back to the city in peace. 28Meanwhile, I will wait at the river crossings in the wilderness until I receive news from you.” 29So Zadok and Abiathar took the Covenant Box back into Jerusalem and stayed there. 30David went on up the Mount of Olives crying; he was barefoot and had his head covered as a sign of grief. All who followed him covered their heads and cried also. 31When David was told that Ahithophel had joined Absalom’s rebellion, he prayed, “Please, Lord, turn Ahithophel’s advice into nonsense!” 32When David reached the top of the hill, where there was a place of worship, his trusted friend Hushai the Archite met him with his clothes torn and with dirt on his head. 33David said to him, “You will be of no help to me if you come with me, 34but you can help me by returning to the city and telling Absalom that you will now serve him as faithfully as you served his father. And do all you can to oppose any advice that Ahithophel gives. 35The priests Zadok and Abiathar will be there; tell them everything you hear in the king’s palace. 36They have their sons Ahimaaz and Jonathan with them, and you can send them to me with all the information you gather.” 37So Hushai, David’s friend, returned to the city just as Absalom was arriving.
— from 2 Samuel 15
Oh the insults. Oh the escapes. Oh the trust in God. Through think and thin, David trusted in God even though he was back on the run. God’s got a plan and a purpose. God’s plans are good. His ways are better than our ways. We may not understand it when we are going through it, but there is a lesson that will help us into the future. It doesn’t always end pain free, however, God knows what He is doing.
We see a great heart in David in his response not only to the victory, but also during his return as King to the people of Israel.