April 16

Read II Samuel 15 -- 16

After Absalom had been in exile three years (II Samuel 13:34-38), Joab, commander-in-chief of David's army, engineered a clever plan which brought about Absalom's return.

About two years after Absalom had returned from exile (14:28), he began an ambitious and wicked scheme to take over his father's throne: Absalom prepared chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him. And Absalom rose up early, and stood beside the way of the gate -- which was an entrance into the city and often a place for court cases to be decided (15:1-2). His personal army made him appear as the obvious heir to the throne. It wasn't long that in all Israel there was none to be so much praised as Absalom (14:25). He pretended a deep concern for any man that had a controversy (that had) come to the king for judgment. . . . And Absalom (intercepted him), and said to him . . . your matters are good and right; but there is no one appointed by the king to hear you. . . . Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man which has . . . cause might come to me, and I would do him justice! (15:2-4).

The despicable treachery of Absalom was exposed after he asked permission of his father King David to "worship" in Hebron, the city of Absalom's birth. He deceived his father by saying he had made a vow while in Syria that, if the Lord will bring me again to Jerusalem, then I will serve the Lord (by offering a sacrifice) (15:8). No doubt David was delighted to hear that Absalom had a desire to worship the Lord. However, Absalom's real purpose for going to Hebron was to organize a revolution to destroy his own father. Soon it was known throughout the tribes that Absalom reigns (is king) in Hebron (15:10). Even Ahithophel, David's trusted counselor, was among the deserters who joined with Absalom.

Soon the news reached David that the hearts of the men of Israel are after Absalom (15:13). During this crisis time, he said to Zadok the priest: If I shall find favor in the eyes of the Lord, He will bring me (back) again. . . . Let Him do to me what seems good to Him (15:25-26). There was no demand for his rights, no thought of self-pity, bitterness or revenge. David was confident that his life and the destiny of Jerusalem were in the sovereign control of God.

It is sad to see David, the brokenhearted old king, running barefoot down the rocky, rugged hills to the Brook Kidron and up the Mount of Olives, weeping, fleeing Jerusalem in fear of his own beloved son (15:30).

Committing himself to God, David prayed: Turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness (15:31). Then, he sent Hushai his longtime friend (15:37; I Chronicles 27:33) back to Jerusalem with instructions as to how he could become Absaloms advisor, and thus refute Ahithophel's counsel (II Samuel 15:33-35).

Wicked men are often used by God to correct those whom He loves. David later confessed: Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy Word (Psalms 119:67).

Christ Revealed: Through David as he rebuked his followers when they wanted to execute his enemies (II Samuel 16:10-11; compare I Sam. 26:8-9; Luke 9:54-56).

Word Studies: 15:3 deputed means appointed judge; 15:11 in their simplicity means innocently; 15:20 go up and down with us means wander with us; 15:27 seer means prophet; 15:28 certify me means to inform; 16:5 still means continuously.

Prayer:

Government Officials: Rep. Thomas Allen (ME) and Rep. Clifford Stearns (FL) · BPM Staff: Karen Hawkins · Pray for Barbara Waddell, Chair Emeritus, Ohio National Day of Prayer · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio broadcast in honor of Bonnie Wilhite · Country: Czech Republic (10 million) in central Europe · Major languages: Czech and Slovak · Religious freedom · 63% Catholic; 7% Protestant; 4% Eastern Orthodox · Prayer Suggestion: Remember that one of the purposes of prayer is to glorify God (Psalms 115:1).

Optional Reading: Acts 17

Memory Verse for the Week: I John 1:9