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  • 2 Sam. 14:25-16:14
  • Psalm 3

Devotional

Two years after Absalom returned to Jerusalem he and David finally saw each other. Absalom bowed before David and David kissed him. However, it seems that Absalom developed contempt for the king over time. In time Absalom acquired a chariot and fifty men to run ahead of him. He would get up early in the morning and stand by the side of the road leading to the city gate. When someone would come to see the king with a complaint, Absalom would lie to them saying the king had no one to hear their complaint. He would say, "If only I were appointed judge in the land! Then everyone who has a complaint or case could come to me and I would see that he gets justice." Over time Absalom won over the hearts of the people of Israel.

After four years, Absalom left Jerusalem for Hebron. He sent secret messengers throughout the tribes of Israel to proclaim himself as king of Israel. Even David's counselor Ahithophel joined Absalom's conspiracy. Absalom's support grew strong, until eventually David and his officials fled Jerusalem in fear that they would be overthrown. The ark of the covenant was with David but he sent it back to Jerusalem, saying:

Carry the ark of God back into the city. If I find favor in the eyes of the LORD, He will bring me back and show me both it and His dwelling place. But if He says thus: ‘I have no delight in you,’ here I am, let Him do to me as seems good to Him.
(2 Sam. 15:25-26 NKJV)

David commissioned Zadok the priest and Ahimaaz and Abiathar to return to the city and be informants for him there.

So David went up by the Ascent of the Mount of Olives, and wept as he went up; and he had his head covered and went barefoot. And all the people who were with him covered their heads and went up, weeping as they went up.
(2 Sam. 15:30 NKJV)

Now when King David came to Bahurim, there was a man from the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei the son of Gera, coming from there. He came out, cursing continuously as he came. And he threw stones at David and at all the servants of King David. And all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left. Also Shimei said thus when he cursed: “Come out! Come out! You bloodthirsty man, you rogue! The LORD has brought upon you all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned; and the LORD has delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom your son. So now you are caught in your own evil, because you are a bloodthirsty man!”
(2 Sam. 16:5-8 NKJV)

Shimei thought David was getting what he deserved because he had somehow forcefully taken over Saul's palace and right as king of Israel. He professed that David's situation was because of his dealings with Saul. Shimei was obviously misinformed or deceived because, while this distress was a result of GOD's punishment of David, it was not because of any sin David had committed towards Saul or his household. Yet David did not retaliate against Shimei, assuming that this occurrence was of the LORD.

Shimei is a great example of how people can misread the events of life and falsely attribute things to GOD's doing. GOD allowed David to suffer, certainly, and in this case it was part of David's punishment for his sin with Bathsheba and murder of Uriah, but it had nothing to do with Saul. We must be extremely careful whenever we attribute happenings to GOD. GOD is certainly at work in our lives but we can't know exactly what He's up to.

David wrote the beautiful words of Psalm 3 during the time when he fled from Absalom. These were very dark days in David's life.

Tim Harris
Author: Tim Harris

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