Highlights In Today's Reading:
Here's a life-lesson. Someone always offers us advice — some good, some bad. Always compare it with the Word of God before accepting it! Absalom didn't and his rebellion against the Word of God defeated him (18:9).
Since it appeared that the hearts of the men of Israel are after Absalom (15:13) and David was old, Ahithophel lost no time in joining Absalom's revolt (15:12). Ahithophel was far from being as godly as David had believed him to be. But it often takes a crisis to reveal who our true friends really are.
Ahithophel revealed his true character five times in his brief proposal to murder David, with the words "me" and "I." Let me now choose out twelve thousand men, and I will arise and pursue after David this night: And I will come upon him while he is weary . . . and all the people that are with him shall flee; and I will smite (kill) the king only: And I will bring back all the people . . . so all the people shall be in peace (17:1-3). He asked Absalom to assign 12,000 men to be placed under his command. Thus, Ahithophel would make himself the new national hero. At first, the saying pleased Absalom well (17:4). But Absalom, Amasa, and the other commanders probably realized that, at best, they would be in a secondary position to Ahithophel. Furthermore, Ahithophel was not known to be a military leader.
David had prayed: Turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness (15:31); then he also sent loyal Hushai to join Absalom. Undoubtedly, Hushai's presence appealed to Absalom's ego, for he now had his father's two best advisors.
Ahithophel assumed Absalom would acknowledge that no one's advice would so ensure success as his. But his plan seemed to offend the proud Absalom, as well as Amasa.
This made them willing to consider the counsel of Hushai, who spoke God-given wisdom by reminding Absalom that David had never lost a war: All Israel knoweth that thy father is a mighty man, and they which be with him are valiant men (heroes) (17:10).
As Absalom considered the possibility of losing his first battle, he realized that this might produce panic and the loss of his followers' loyalty. Hushai advised that all the forces of Israel be gathered and that Absalom, the commander-in-chief himself, be at the head of his great army. In this way, he would gain the prestige of being a conqueror and the rightful king of all Israel.
But, our Creator is Sovereign. The Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will, and setteth up over it the basest of men (Dan. 4:17).
Thought for Today:
Our most brilliant plans or boldest steps will not work unless they are ordered by the Lord (Ps. 37:23).
Through Mahanaim, a city of refuge where David went when he was fleeing from Absalom (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).
17:8 chafed =angered; 17:17 wench =maidservant; 17:25 host =army; 18:3 better that thou succour us =better for you to remain in the city and assist by providing reinforcements; 18:9 taken up =left hanging, suspended.
Pray for International Shortwave Broadcasts in honor of Linda Kennon • Staff: Al Joslyn • Country: India (986 million) in southern Asia • Major languages: Hindi and English • Religious freedom, but increasing harassment and persecution of Christians by religious radicals • 78% Hindu; 12% Muslim (mostly Sunni); 3% Christian; 2.5% Indigenous; 2% Sikh; .9% Buddhist; .5% Jain; .3% Parsi; .2% Baha'i; .1% Jewish; .5% non-Religious • Prayer Suggestion: Pray and lift up your prayers to God with the spirit of understanding (I Cor. 14:15).
Optional Reading: Acts 18
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 6:11-12