April 17

Read II Samuel 17 -- 18

In Today's Reading:

Absalom follows advice of Hushai; David's troops battle Absalom and his followers; Absalom killed by Joab; David grieves bitterly

David's adviser Ahithophel was far from being the person David believed him to be. It often takes a crisis to reveal who our true friends are. Ahithophel was invited by Absalom to join his conspiracy. The conspiracy grew strong, and the number ofpeople supporting Absalom continued to increase (II Samuel 15:12). David was old and feeble and it appeared that Absalom had successfully won the confidence of most of the key leaders in the nation. Ahithophel also decided to desert him and join Absalom. He revealed his true character with the words "me" and "I." Let me choose 12,000 men, and I'll set out in pursuit of David . . . . I'll hit his camp. . . . I'll strike down only the king,and I'll bring all the people back to you. . . . Then allthe people will be at peace (17:1-3). At first, to Absalom and all the elders of Israel, this proposal seemed good (17:4). Apparently, then Absalom realized that he would be in a secondary position to Ahithophel. God did not forget David's prayer: O LORD . . . turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness! (15:31).

David had sent his friend Hushai to join Absalom. Undoubtedly, his coming appealed to Absalom's ego, for he now had gained his father's two top advisers. Ahithophel assumed Absalom would accept his plan. But it offended Absalom as well as Amasa. This led them to consider the counsel of Hushai, who reminded Absalom that all Israel knows that your father and the valiant men with him are warriors (17:10).

As Absalom considered the possibility of losing his first battle, he realized this could produce panic and the loss of his followers. Hushai advised that all Israel, from Dan to Beer-sheba . . . be wholly gathered to you (Absalom) and that you personally go into battle (17:8-11). This appealed to Absalom's ego, and gave David and his men time to prepare for the battle that would lead to Absalom's death. The Bible clearly warns that pride comes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall (Proverbs 16:18). Undoubtedly, Hushai's advice was an answer to David's prayer.

Pity the ignorant who are unaware of the "Unseen Presence" of God, who defends those who trust in Him (Hebrews 4:13; Psalms 40:17).

Exaltation does not come from the east, the west, or the desert, for God is the judge: He brings down one and exalts another (Psalms 75:6-7).

Christ Revealed:

Through Mahanaim, a city of refuge where David went when he was fleeing from Absalom (II Samuel 17:27). Christ is our refuge. We . . . have fled for refuge . . . to seize the hope set before us. We have this hope . . . that enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain. Jesus has entered there on our behalf (Hebrews 6:18-20).

Prayer Needs:

Country: Zimbabwe (11 million) in south-central Africa · Major languages: English and Shona · Limited religious freedom · 43% Protestant; 38% animism, mediums, and spirit-possession cults; 16% Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: When you sincerely seek to live according to God's word, you can be sure that He will hear and answer your prayers (Isaiah 26:2).

Optional Reading: Acts 18

Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 10:17