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Bible Pathways 04/17/2002

April 17

Read 2 Samuel 17 -- 18

In Today's Reading:

In answer to David's prayer, the Lord causes Absalom to follow the bad advice of some of his choice advisers l Under the command of Joab, David's troops battle Absalom and his followers l In his love for his son, David says: Deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom (2 Samuel 18:5) l But, Absalom is caught by his long flowing hair in a tree and is killed by Joab l David weeps in bitter grief.

Verse for Today:

O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son! (2 Samuel 18:33).

Ahithophel was far from being the person David believed him to be. But it often takes a crisis to reveal who our true friends really are. When Ahithophel received an invitation from Absalom to join his conspiracy, he knew that the people increased continually with Absalom (2 Samuel 15:12). Since David was old, and apparently weakening physically and politically, Ahithophel deserted him and joined Absalom. He revealed his true character five times in his brief proposal to murder David, with the words "me" and "I." Let "me" now choose . . . 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 [kill] the king only: And "I" will bring back all the people . . . so all the people shall be in peace (17:1-3). Ahithophel asked Absalom to assign 12,000 men to be placed under his command. Thus, he would make himself the new national hero. At first, the saying pleased Absalom well, and all the elders of Israel (17:4). But afterwards, Absalom, Amasa, and the other commanders 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). David had also sent his friend Hushai to join Absalom. Undoubtedly, his coming appealed to Absalom's ego, since he thought he had now gained his father's two most valued advisers.

Ahithophel was convinced that Absalom would accept his plan. But instead, the advice of Hushai was accepted; he reminded Absalom that all Israel [knows] that [your] father is a mighty man, and they [who are] with him are valiant men (heroes) (17:10).

As Absalom considered the possibility of losing his first battle, he realized that this could produce panic and the loss of his followers' loyalty. Hushai also advised Absalom that he should be the commander in chief himself, leading his own army. Absalom would gain added prestige by becoming the conquering king of all Israel. In taking command, the prince would lead the way and keep the power in his own hands. Therefore I counsel that all Israel be gathered [to you], from Dan even to Beer-sheba (17:8-11). This advice appealed to Absalom's pride, and it gave David sufficient time to prepare for the battle that ultimately led to Absalom's death. The Bible warns that pride [goes] before destruction, and [a] haughty spirit before a fall (Proverbs 16:18). For a few days, the rebellion by all Israel seemed to be successful. But Hushai's advice had been guided by the Lord in answer to David's prayer.

How wonderful to know that the "Unseen Presence" of God never fails to come to the defense of those who put their trust in Him (Psalms 46:1).

Promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: He putteth down one, and setteth up another (Psalms 75:6-7).

Christ Revealed:

Through Mahanaim, a city of refuge where David went when he was fleeing from Absalom (2 Samuel 17:27). Christ is our refuge. We . . . have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us (Hebrews 6:18).

Word Studies:

17:8 chafed = angered; 17:11 generally = fully; 17:17 wench = maidservant; 17:25 host = army; 18:3 succor = assist by providing reinforcements from the city; 18:9 taken up = left hanging.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for one another · Country: Botswana (1 million) in southern Africa · Major languages: English and Setswana · Limited religious freedom because of local chiefs · 49% animist; 21% Protestant; 4% Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Let your prayers be praise to the Lord (Psalms 150:6).

Optional Reading: Acts 18

Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 10:17

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