DAVID’S HOMEMADE WAR
Lord, teach me how repugnant rebellion is to You.
Read 2 SAMUEL 15:13–26
13 A messenger came and told David, “The hearts of the people of Israel are with Absalom.”
14 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.”
15 The king’s officials answered him, “Your servants are ready to do whatever our lord the king chooses.”
16 The king set out, with his entire household following him; but he left ten concubines to take care of the palace. 17 So the king set out, with all the people following him, and they halted at the edge of the city. 18 All his men marched past him, along with all the Kerethites and Pelethites; and all the six hundred Gittites who had accompanied him from Gath marched before the king.
19 The king said to Ittai the Gittite, “Why should you come along with us? Go back and stay with King Absalom. You are a foreigner, an exile from your homeland. 20 You came only yesterday. And today shall I make you wander about with us, when I do not know where I am going? Go back, and take your people with you. May the Lord show you kindness and faithfulness.”
21 But Ittai replied to the king, “As surely as the Lord lives, and as my lord the king lives, wherever my lord the king may be, whether it means life or death, there will your servant be.”
22 David said to Ittai, “Go ahead, march on.” So Ittai the Gittite marched on with all his men and the families that were with him.
23 The whole countryside wept aloud as all the people passed by. The king also crossed the Kidron Valley, and all the people moved on toward the wilderness.
24 Zadok was there, too, and all the Levites who were with him were carrying the ark of the covenant of God. They set down the ark of God, and Abiathar offered sacrifices until all the people had finished leaving the city.
25 Then the king said to Zadok, “Take the ark of God back into the city. If I find favor in the Lord’s eyes, he will bring me back and let me see it and his dwelling place again. 26 But if he says, ‘I am not pleased with you,’ then I am ready; let him do to me whatever seems good to him.”
New International Version (NIV)
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Paul tells us to pray for those in authority over us (1 Tim. 2:1,2). Why should we do this?
With Absalom’s rebellion, David has not simply a family crisis but a full-blown coup d’état on his hands. Psalm 3, written to showcase this tragic event, captures his sense of helplessness and also highlights his trust in God. Here we see something of the workings of his heart and mind as the tragedy unfolds and he makes the best of a bad job of parenting.
First, we see the things that he most wants to preserve. He does not want his people or his city destroyed. This is why he flees the city, leaving only what he feels would not be considered as plunderable assets—his concubines (16). Sadly, his assumption is wrong and the women are victimized. Contemporary powers can learn a thing or two from David’s mistakes, as implacable forces often destroy cities and prevent access to refugees in need of help.
Also, David does not want to abuse the Ark of the Covenant. He does not see the Ark as a good luck charm. Rather, he recognizes and acknowledges his accountability to God as the judge and arbiter on whom success or failure depends.
Then David the military strategist demonstrates his acumen in battle, even in the depth of his sorrow. Initially, he is reluctant to accept the help of loyal foreign mercenaries who have served him so well in the past (19), but once he gets over these scruples he sends them ahead as his vanguard (22). He then plants a reliable fifth column at the heart of the rebellion, complete with secure communication channels (27,28). Absalom’s demise is only a matter of time!
“When elephants fight, the grass gets hurt”(Kiswahili proverb). Pray for the leaders of your country today, that their personal failings may not result in national tragedy.
Lord, give me the wisdom to manage my family in godly wisdom in accordance with Your ways.