Whoever wants to save his life will lose it. But whoever loses his life for my sake, will find it. -Jesus, Matthew 16:25
He’s been there all along, but we often look past him with David taking up most of our attention. In some ways, this story is as much about Joab as it is David and Absalom. Joab is David’s nephew. Rising among the ranks, he eventually became David’s right hand general and political advisor. Joab also knew how to play the game, with his own political future being the most important objective. He is impulsive, often taking matters in his own hands. Joab, is not a man to be messed with.
While mostly loyal to David, we find him, in this account, disregarding a clear request from David, “spare my son’s life.” Years later, Joab would eventually die by the sword (Solomon’s order, and David’s final request) as a traitor and murderer.
Joab was stagnant; he never moved (towards God). He lived by the sword and died by the sword. He died like he lived, looking out for himself.
As we read of the death of Absalom, we see the flawed love of king David.Only after Absalom is killed, does David refer to him as “my son”. David’s life is a picture of an imperfect king.This picture should serve to point us to the Gospel that proclaims a perfect King who offers forgiveness and restoration. Jesus teaches us about the perfect love of a father in the parable of the prodigal son.How different was David’s example. (Absalom returns to Jerusalem after rebelling and David won’t even meet with him- 2 Samuel 14). In Jesus’ parable, the father runs to meet and restore his son. Absalom, the prodigal, and we all deserve death for the rebellion and public humiliation we have committed against a Holy God.But the perfect King offers forgiveness thru His own death.A reality of the gospel and only a sentiment of an imperfect king.Let us celebrate the perfect love of our Father and King in heaven!!
When King David fled Jerusalem to escape Absalom, he left out through the Kidron Valley. (15:23) He would have traveled past the Monument of Absalom. Absalom had erected this structure as a remembrance of himself, since he had no sons to preserve his name. The monument, or at least what scholars believe is the authentic edifice, still stands today. Absalom desired to have history remember him. Sadly, the legacy of Absalom is a picture of deceit, rebellion and greed.
Absalom’s father, King David, is remembered as the greatest king ever. Absalom could have been a part of that legacy, but as a result of his rebellion, did not even get to be buried in his ‘King’s tomb.’ In Jeremiah 2, the prophet judges Israel for trading living waters for broken cisterns. They had forsaken God.
We often settle for much less than God intends for our lives. We may find that we have given up God’s best—living water…family legacy—and traded for broken cisterns or a rebel’s death. Consider your paths that you are not missing what God has ordained for you!
“Be gentle with the young man Absalom for my sake.”
Absalom has committed an act of sedition and now leads a coup against the throne. David, though, speaks as if his son has committed a social faux pas: “You know these kids today.” David loved the idea of Absalom. That’s a problem, because the actual Absalom could barely even get an audience with the king. And now the actual Absalom was poised to kill them all. To say that’s David’s fault is to ignore the complexities of human families in a corrupted world. But can we all please learn to invite a little more clear-eyed and courageous realism into our lives?
Re:Verse passage – 2 Samuel 18 (day two) The king was deeply moved and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. And thus he said as he walked, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!” vs. 33
This story has moved me since I first read it years ago, and now as a father even more so. This grief is as real and transparent as we could imagine. I believe that David would have, even after all Absalom had done, given his life in his place…sound familiar? There is something so moving in this scene where David receives the news of his son’s death. In this tragedy there is no hope for reconciliation. This is the end of this story.
Jesus is different. We often draw parallel’s between leaders, especially David, and Jesus, but they will always fall short. Jesus did die in our place…in order that we might live. That grief is replaced with unimaginable joy. I pray that no of us ever have to experience what David did, but that all of us experience Jesus.
Perhaps the Lord will look on my affliction and return good to me instead of his cursing this day.” So David and his men went on the way; and Shimei went along on the hillside parallel with him and as he went he cursed and cast stones and threw dust at him. (v.12-13)
All along the way out of Jerusalem David submits his will to the Lord. We saw last week that David was prepared to go wherever God led him, even if it was off the throne. This week, David gives us a similar example. David is not going to make the mistake of reaching out and grabbing a future that God did not orchestrate. He is ready to allow God to shape all that is ahead of them, even if it means some man from Saul’s family hurling insults at David and his men. May we, like David, surrender our futures unto the Lord even if it’s painful.
So David and his men went on the road, while Shimei went along on the hillside opposite him and cursed as he went and threw stones at him and flung dust. 2 Samuel 16:13
The progressive stories, as David flees Jerusalem, serve as a powerful reminder: sin separates. Shimei stood on the hillside, with a ravine separating he and David. Isn’t this truly symbolic of David’s condition? His son was trying to kill him and take his throne, his country was splitting in two, even servants were betraying their masters. It’s hard to imagine how things could get any worse.
Sin is a wedge; it always splits things in two. David’s sin created a fault line that would ripple through his family and kingdom. Whether hidden or public, sin will always lead to painful separation. This is why forgiveness is not an end in itself; it is always intended to make a way for reconciliation, to make that which is separate, whole again. Like husbands and wives, old friends,… or God and man.
Who is the most effective preacher you’ve ever heard? May I suggest that the most effective preacher is the one who can speak directly to the heart and address the greatest needs in life.May I also suggest that often times the we could/should be an effective preacher to ourselves.
I read a statement this week that summarizes David’s condition in chapter 16. “The truth of God’s promises carries less weight than the guilt complex he continues to nurse as he plods away from the city, the throne, and the kingdom God had promised him.”
I also read these statements in other devotionals this week, “Learn to preach to yourself rather than listen to yourself.” “What truths do you need to preach to yourself to realign your heart with that intended design?”
Seems we can and should be speaking into our own lives as God gives grace and insight.We need to be constantly reminded of God’s promises, sovereignty, holiness, and grace. What would our hearts and lives look like if we were faithful to preach God’s truths to ourselves?
Honestly, Shimei did not use very good judgment. Here he was shouting curses at King David and throwing dirt and rocks at him and his followers. Abishai said it well…”just let me go cut off his head, that’ll shut him up!” Sounds like an effective solution to the problem. David saw it otherwise.
David understood the sovereignty of God. He understood that God could turn the hearts of people to accomplish whatever He desired. [We’ll see later that God thwarted the counsel of Ahithophel in order to bring calamity on Absalom.] If God had used Shimei to put a curse on David, who was he (David) to go against God? Learning to see life through the filter of God’s eyes makes everything look different. Can you imagine the stress and anger that could be eliminated, simply by yielding to God’s control?
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, declares the Lord, for as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”Isaiah 55:8-9.