Apr19WedApril 19, 2017
Recently, our Daily Scripture reading has been taking us through the life of David as a middle-aged king. Although David is remembered as ‘a man after God’s own heart,’ he was not immune from horrible mistakes (like a murderous affair) and violent chaos within his own family. This week, the Scriptures introduce us to Absalom, David’s son, as he was cleverly scheming to divide the kingdom and take the throne away from his father. First, he won the hearts of the people by staging himself as a smooth talking politician by the city gate. Then, after moving to a smaller city, he threw a big party and suddenly changed agenda to be one in which he was anointed as king.
Upon hearing this, King David, probably in his late 50’s, fled Jerusalem with his household and supporters. Unfortunately, the Scriptures don’t tell us why. The likely reasons are that he had 1) no desire to give up the throne and 2) no desire to go to war against his son. So a trip into the countryside was what he set his heart upon. He had tended sheep as a teenager, lived as a refugee during King Saul's tirade, so why not go camping again?
Have you encountered situations where hostility was growing at such a rate that reconciliation seemed impossible? Or perhaps felt like a physical disease or depressive set of events have become such a fierce enemy that withdrawing feels like the only alternative? Many of us probably don’t know how we would respond until such a scenario is placed before us.
Honestly, I don’t know if David did the right thing in this story. I can’t imagine having my own son plotting to destroy me! However, I do see three positive steps that David took in order to keep his eyes focused on the Lord. These lessons may also be helpful for us when such moments occur.
First, he encouraged the Levites to take the ark of God back to the city and continue worship as normal (2 Samuel 15:25). Even though the king was absent and disheartened, he was encouraging the nation to keep worshipping the Lord, their God.
Second, David prayed fervently. Verse 30 tells us that David traveled to the Mount of Olives and wept in prayer.
Finally, he continue to trust in the sovereignty of God over the situation. Prior to his journey, he confessed, “I will return to see the ark of God in Jerusalem, but only if the Lord wills” (2 Sam 15:25a). And Psalm 3, which was written during this season, declares, “I will not be afraid of thousands of people…Salvation belongs to the Lord” (Psalm 3:6, 8).
When we find ourselves in situations which feel insurmountable, I believe it’s important for us to take these lessons from David to heart. We should continue regular habits of worship, take time to pray fervently, and trust that God is in control. Perhaps, at times, that is all we can do!
As you take time to pray this week, I invite you to pray for those who may be encountering relational isolation or physical oppression of some kind. At times, it can be very hard to see how it will all work out in the end. But David was right, the Lord was…and still is…in control. Salvation does belong to the Lord!