David: How to Respond When Attacked,
Slandered and Painfully Abused
2 Samuel 16:1-14
One of the oldest and meanest tricks in the book is to hit someone when they’re down. Just sneak up on them when they are distracted by something else and hit them with a knockout blow. That is one of Satan’s tactics.
He used it on Joseph after his being sold into slavery by his brothers, before he could get over that--Potiphar’s wife lands him in prison. But by God’s grace, it didn’t work, and Joseph keeps following the Lord!
For Job is was one wave after another of bad news, each wave higher, deeper and more devastating—and then his wife turns on him. But by God’s grace, it didn’t work, and Job keeps following the Lord!
We can trace the same pattern in Abraham’s life, Elijah’s life, Daniel’s life, and many other Old Testament heroes.
In our lives it may be when we are in the midst of recovering from being sick and we lose our job. Or just when we finally find a job our wife can’t go on and wants to move back to her family. Or just after we weather the loss of a parent through death we get a report that one of our children is secretly leading an alternate lifestyle.
It is sudden, it is unexpected—and it is always at our weakest moments when it is the worst time possible.
As we open to 2 Samuel 15:14 we are watching David while he is down. It is the saddest day of his life. And that day while he is at the bottom, when he is really down and driven out of town—he gets an unexpected hit. He is attacked, slandered, and painfully abused from a totally unexpected person. In that moment—we see the real David.
What you and I are at our most desperate moments is a glimpse into what we really are. Where we decide to turn, when we face what we never wanted, never dreamed of happening to us—that is when what is really on the inside comes out.
The good news is that what comes out of David at that most painful moment of his life is a song.
And it was a song that was so good, God captured it and made it forever recorded in Heaven. That is better than the top of the charts, better that the top of the billboard, better than gold or platinum—because it pleased God. What ever you and I can do in this life that pleases God; that is what will last from our life eternally.
Watch David show us how to live even in pain, even through tears, even while slandered, and even when living through painful abuse.
David shows us how to live pleasing God. We can gain eternal rewards from every part of our life that is lived in a way that pleases God.
Barefoot, crying, and fleeing for his life. Could it get any worse? That must have been on David’s mind as the saddest day of his life unfolded.
To face the hatred of pagan Philistines was one thing—but the hatred of your own son is quite another. To have a murderous father-in-law is devastating, but to have a murderous child is beyond words.
So David was speechless as his tears ran and the wailing sobs of his friends rose about him.
That was how life became for a nearly 60 year old King David in the fall of 980 BC. I think that a modern song writer once felt a bit of what David may have felt. Those feelings were captured by Bill Gaither 35 years ago. Listen to Gaither’s testimony in a song called--SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL
If there ever were dreams that were lofty and noble--
They were my dreams at the start.
And the hopes for life's best were the hopes that I harbored--
Down deep in my heart.
But my dreams turned to ashes,
My castles all crumbled,
My fortune turned to loss.
So I wrapped it all in the rags of my life--And laid it at the cross
Something beautiful, something good;
All my confusion, He understood.
All I had to offer Him
Was brokenness and strife,
But He made something beautiful of my life.
Just as we saw last time, this was the darkest day yet in David’s life. Remember how Satan often attacks us when we are at our weakest point? David was down—and life was about to get much worse.
So much happened to David all at once, and God catches each detail for His purposes of doctrine (teaching us what is right); for reproof (teaching us what is wrong); for correction (teaching us how to get right); and instruction in righteousness (teaching us how to stay right). That is why God has preserved these pages of Scriptures that lay open before us.
Just to help you understand this day, God's Word gives us a step by step account. Follow along in your Bibles as we trace the events of that fateful day.
- In 2 Samuel 15:14 David has left the City of David on Mount Zion (where it still sits today now excavated after centuries beneath the dust of time); he walks down Zion to the Kidron ravine, passes over a small brook of flowing water (15:23), follows the pathway up the mountain called Olives (15:30).
- At the very top he pauses (15:32) and offers worship to the Lord. Then he runs into Ziba the servant of Mephibosheth (the crippled son of David’s friend Jonathan, son of Saul) who brings food to help David (16:1-4)
David has been joined by his faithful soldiers and mighty men. He has been sought out by the good and godly priests. He has been fed by the humble servants of others. So this next visitor was so unexpected. But so was everything else happening on this fateful day.
David is just reeling from it all. The whole insurrection or coup d’etat
was so unexpected. The speed at which a loved and trusted son was able to draw
the entire nation away from David was staggering. David’s thoughts raced back
and forth from all the battles he had fought to save these people of
Then he thought of how he had rescued his own son Absalom so many times.
Before he was old enough to even realize it David had kept young Absalom from
Saul’s hand. Later David had risked his life to attack the raiding bands of the
desert peoples and rescue Absalom from their grasp. Then David remembered
bringing young and handsome Absalom up to
Back and forth flew his thoughts, his painful questions—why do the people turn away from me so quickly? Why does my own son hate me? Why does God allow all this?
And then as David looks around at his mighty men marching like a wall of strength around him, that space once occupied by the bravest of the brave, is empty. The same Uriah that went to his death at David’s deceitful bidding and murderous plot did so because he was loyal to the death for David—and always had been.
David’s thoughts raced back over the years and again smote him with contrition. Yes, again he knew that against the Lord all this had been done. And now David was suffering the consequences.
Somewhere in the midst of thoughts like these, mingled with tears, a
barefoot David hears trouble coming. Before he saw him, he heard the hatred of
his curses. Coming up from Bahurim, the first village on the downward slope of
Isn’t that how temptations often come?
The devil in alliance with our flesh, the world around us, and the demons—tries to always get us at our weakest moment.
It was perfect timing—David was physically, emotionally, mentally, and humanly at his weakest and lowest point. But much to Satan’s disappointment I’m sure, David was not at his lowest point spiritually.
David’s responses, in the verses of our text this morning are the most beautiful example of how to respond “When Attacked, Slandered and Painfully Abused”!
Please read 2 Samuel 16:1-14.
Now let’s examine this passage capturing the saddest of all moments in David’s life as he fled from his son Absalom. We know that this was part of the inevitable consequences. But even as David faced those consequences—God was still watching to see what choices he would make. Either he would respond in a selfish and thus sinful way, or he would respond in a godly or glorifying way.
The good news is what we just read. David responds consistently for God—before Bathsheba and after Bathsheba. He was truly God’s man—that slipped into sin, repented and walked the walk from there on out.
We are in part two of a three part examination of the final era David’s life. The first era starts when David seems from the biblical chronology to be about 50 years old. And in that era, David’s unguarded moments lead to sin—Uriah and Bathsheba.
Part two is the sobering reminder that the--
- Inevitable Consequences of David’s sin led to PAIN—Absalom and Shimei.
Chapters 15 and 16 where we stop today are two of the eleven chapters from 2nd Samuel 12-21, and 24 recording the many years of painful consequences because of David’s sin. This inspired record of that period that I call “David’s Inevitable Consequences that led to Pain” explains the Psalms that flow from David’s PAIN. These are Psalms are 3; 31; 55; 63.
Of course the good news from the God of New Beginnings is that the 3rd and final chapter of David’s life records David’s Humble Obedience leads to JOY—Solomon, and the Temple.
It is here we see that despite the failures of Bathsheba incident—David truly was after God’s own heart. We see him end well, using his final days for God’s glory. Four chapters capture these years in 2nd Samuel 22-23 and I Kings 1-2. The Psalms that flows from this final era I call “David’s Humble Obedience that leads to JOY” are Psalms 18; 71.
But here is the summary of what God has captured for us in this text.
- Even when we face the consequences of our sin,
- even when they are so painful—it is even then that we can praise our God, glorify our Savior, and experience even more than ever His grace that is always enough.
This sermon will conclude tomorrow July 15th.
 David’s scouts hid in a well where grain was spread to cover their hideout means fall; David reigned from 1010-970 BC and this tragic scene with Absolom was approximately 9-10 years before his death in 970 BC.
 © 1971 by William J. Gaither. All rights reserved.
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