April 18

Read II Samuel 19 -- 20

Absalom was a despicable traitor who was determined to destroy his own father, the anointed man of God, so that he could be king. The battle ended when Joab killed Absalom, and all Israel fled (II Samuel 18:17). A short time later, the Cushite came running to David with the news, saying: Tidings, my lord the king: for the Lord has avenged you this day of all who rose up against you (18:31). But, David had only one concern: Is the young man Absalom safe? (18:32).

David's soldiers returned from battle expecting to be welcomed by a victory celebration; instead they could hear the king weeping loudly over Absalom's death: O my son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son! (19:4). In deep sorrow, David ignored his loyal followers who, in their great love, had protected and defended him. The victory that day was turned into mourning and the soldiers slipped away as people being ashamed steal away when they flee in battle (19:3).

David had faced many sorrows, which now included the deaths of two of his children. When Bathsheba's first child became sick, David had prayed and fasted for seven days in seclusion; but when he received word that the child had died, David confidently said: Now he is dead . . . I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me (12:23). David knew that Heaven would be all the more precious because his child had gone to be with the Lord. But David expressed no hope that he would ever see Absalom in Heaven. David knew that the wicked shall be turned into hell (Psalms 9:17).

David probably felt that, if Joab had only given Absalom just one more chance, perhaps he would have turned from his wicked ways.

Tragic events do happen to godly believers, but they are never unfortunate "accidents." We are not mere pawns in the hands of men or of unfortunate circumstances. As Christians who have acknowledged our sin, received Christ as Savior, and sincerely desire to be obedient to His Word, we can be sure that our lives are in the care of our Heavenly Father at all times without exception. However, all of us, at times, are responsible for the adverse circumstances and sorrows that we experience -- and we know it. It may seem natural to condemn ourselves for our faults and failures, or even to blame others for the things that "happen" to us.

All of us go through experiences beyond our control, such as a tragic death, an automobile crash, an illness, a physical handicap, or a financial loss. Like David, we also can grieve too long over what might have been. If we have been out of the will of God, we need to repent of our sins, ask God to forgive us, and as the Apostle Paul said, forgetting those things which are behind . . . I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14).

We all need friends to remind us that we still have the Lord. We need to be a friend who can share comforting words of healing and restoration with the despondent sufferer. By God's grace, we should encourage them to become actively involved in a local church where there are others who can deepen their faith in the love of God. We are members of His body. . . . I speak concerning Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5:30,32).

Christ Portrayed: By David, who wished to be invited back as king (II Samuel 19:11). Our Lord Jesus wants to be invited into the hearts of all mankind. He won't force His will on us; He only comes by our invitation (Revelation 3:20).

Word Studies: 19:3 by stealth means quietly; 19:13 room means place; 19:14 bowed means swayed; 19:19 perversely means rebelliously; 19:32 of sustenance means with provisions; 20:3 ward means guarded house; 20:18 wont to speak means used to say.

Prayer:

Government Officials: Rep. Joel Hefley (CO), Rep. Henry Hyde (IL), and Gov. Pedro Tenorio (Northern Mariana Islands) · Pray for Rick Hash and the Bible Pathway Radio Broadcasts on KCHC-AM, Conroe, TX · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio broadcast sponsored by two of the Lord's Disciples · Country: Djibouti (447,000) in eastern Africa · Major languages: French and Arabic · Limited religious freedom · 91% Muslim; 7% Roman Catholic; .75% Eastern Orthodox; about 300 Protestants · Prayer Suggestion: Know that God answers prayer (Psalms 118:5).

Optional Reading: Acts 19

Memory Verse for the Week: I John 1:9