Read 2 Samuel 17

Highlights:

Important life-lesson: Always compare your desires with the Word of God; Absalom didn't, and his rebellion against God destroyed him (II Sam. 18:9).

And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept: and as he went, thus he said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son! (II Sam. 18:33).

Absalom had done great wrongs to his father, David. He even went as far as to try to steal his throne. He raised up an army large enough that David had to flee. This dishonor which he did to his father was the sin that cost him his life. Absalom died in the battle against his father's men.

None of this made David love his son any less. David was so deeply grieved over Absalom's death that he even wished he had died instead. His sorrow was so heavy that Joab eventually challenged David. He accused of David of preferring that his own men had died instead of Absalom (19:6), even though they were defending David and his throne.

David had to pull himself together. If he did not, the people might have turned against him. It was evidently not an easy thing to celebrate this victory when the price was the life of his son.

Dealing with the loss of a loved one is never an easy thing. As a matter of fact, it is one of the most difficult situations we can go through in life. It is all the harder to deal with if there was some argument or disconnection with that person. This is probably one of the reasons that the Word of God teaches us to daily try to resolve issues with others. IBe ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath (Eph. 4:26).

It is also more difficult to handle a loved one dying if there is concern over where they will be spending eternity. The most comforting thought at a time of loss is to know that they have gone to a far better place. If they were a believer, they are now with Christ and will be so for all eternity. We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord (II Cor. 5:8). That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:15)

However, always hold on to hope. It is easy to look at a person's life and say they are in heaven or they are in hell, but no person can truly know another person's heart. It can be a mystery as to what might happen in the last moments of a person's life. In their last second the Holy Spirit may have dealt with their heart and they repented. It is not the best way to turn your life to Christ, but it happens.

A good lesson in this is to do our best early on to direct people to Christ. In helping lead someone to eternal life through Christ Jesus there is no need to speculate on their eternal destination. Preaching the Lord Jesus .... a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord (Acts 11:20-21). Your witness can help bring a soul into God's kingdom.

The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe (John 1:7).

Thought for Today:

The great Shepherd of the sheep always takes care of His own.

Christ Revealed:

Through Mahanaim, a city of refuge where David went when he was fleeing from Absalom (Josh. 21:38; II Sam. 17:27). Christ is our Refuge. We . . . have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the Hope set before us . . . even Jesus (Heb. 6:18,20).

Word Studies:

17:8 chafed, angered; 17:17 wench, maidservant; 17:25 host, army; 18:3 succour us out of the city, remain in the city and assist by providing reinforcements; 18:9 taken up, left hanging, suspended.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for Staff: Rick Hash • Government Officials: Rep. George Holding (NC) • Country: : Belize (236,000) on the eastern coast of Central America • Major languages: English and Spanish • Religious Freedom •• 64% Roman Catholic; 26% Protestant; 2% spiritist/animist; 1% Hindu; 1% Muslim; 1% Baha'i • Prayer Suggestion: Draw near to God in prayer with a clean and pure heart (James 4:8).

Optional Reading: Acts 18

Memory Verse for the Week: John 11:26