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Bible Pathways 04/16/2002

April 16

Read 2 Samuel 15 -- 16

In Today's Reading:

Absalom cunningly wins the confidence of national leaders and leads them in a revolt and overthrow of David's reign l David flees barefoot and weeping in fear of his son l Absalom's untimely death l Learn a very important lesson from David's experience during this turbulent time in his life.

Verses for Today:

There came a messenger to David, saying, The hearts of the men of Israel are after Absalom. And David said unto all his servants that were with him at Jerusalem, Arise, and let us flee; for we shall not else escape from Absalom: make speed to depart, lest he . . . smite the city with the edge of the sword (2 Samuel 15:13-14).

After Absalom had been in exile three years following his murder of his older brother (2 Samuel 13:34-38), David's nephew Joab engineered a shrewd plan which brought about Absalom's return.

About two years after Absalom had returned from exile (14:28), he began an ambitious, 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 to be the obvious heir to the throne. 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 treachery of Absalom was eventually exposed after he asked permission of his father David to "worship" by offering a sacrifice 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 (15:8). No doubt David was delighted to hear that Absalom desired to serve the Lord. However, Absalom's only purpose for going to Hebron was to organize a revolution to destroy his own father, who had an intense love for him. 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 Absalom.

When it became known to David that the hearts of the men of Israel are after Absalom. . . . David said . . . let us flee . . . lest he . . . smite the city with the edge of the sword (15:13-14). During this time of crisis, David 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 or revenge, only a concern for the City of God.

It is sad to see David, the brokenhearted old king, running barefoot down the rocky hills to the Brook Kidron and up the Mount of Olives, weeping as he fled 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). He then sent Hushai, his longtime friend (15:37; 1 Chronicles 27:33), to Jerusalem with instructions as to how he could become Absalom's adviser, and thus refute Ahithophel's counsel (2 Samuel 15:33-35).

Not only did God answer David's prayer, but He spared his life and restored him to the throne in Jerusalem, the City of God. This is a reminder that our lives are in the sovereign control of God.

Wicked men are often used by God to correct those whom He loves. As David 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 (2 Samuel 16:10-11; compare 1 Samuel 26:8-9). When Jesus' disciples wanted to do the same, He rebuked them saying: [You] know not what manner of spirit [you] are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them (Luke 9:54-56).

Word Studies:

15:13 after = committed to; 15:27 seer = prophet; 15:28 certify me = to inform; 16:5 still = continuously.

Prayer Needs:

Government Officials: Rep. Thomas Allen (ME) and Rep. Clifford Stearns (FL) · Pray for the missionary ministries · Country: Bosnia and Hercegovina (4 million) on the Balkan Peninsula in southeastern Europe · Major language: Serbo-Croatian · Little evangelism being done · 40% Muslim; 28% Serbian Orthodox; 14% Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Praise the Lord for His wonderful blessings (Psalms 150:2).

Optional Reading: Acts 17

Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 10:17

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