Morning Light – July 6th, 2015
Today: [2 Samuel Chapter Eighteen]: David Mourns Absalom. The nation of Israel is in civil war and God fights for David at the wood of Ephraim. In the midst of the battle Absalom is snared by his own pride and killed by Joab. David is victorious but mourns because Absalom is dead. The Lord takes no pleasure in the destruction of the wicked and likewise David is grieved because of the death of the young man.
[2Sa 18:1-33 KJV] 1 And David numbered the people that [were] with him, and set captains of thousands and captains of hundreds over them. 2 And David sent forth a third part of the people under the hand of Joab, and a third part under the hand of Abishai the son of Zeruiah, Joab’s brother, and a third part under the hand of Ittai the Gittite. And the king said unto the people, I will surely go forth with you myself also. 3 But the people answered, Thou shalt not go forth: for if we flee away, they will not care for us; neither if half of us die, will they care for us: but now [thou art] worth ten thousand of us: therefore now [it is] better that thou succour us out of the city. 4 And the king said unto them, What seemeth you best I will do. And the king stood by the gate side, and all the people came out by hundreds and by thousands. 5 And the king commanded Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, [Deal] gently for my sake with the young man, [even] with Absalom. And all the people heard when the king gave all the captains charge concerning Absalom. 6 So the people went out into the field against Israel: and the battle was in the wood of Ephraim; 7 Where the people of Israel were slain before the servants of David, and there was there a great slaughter that day of twenty thousand [men]. 8 For the battle was there scattered over the face of all the country: and the wood devoured more people that day than the sword devoured. 9 And Absalom met the servants of David. And Absalom rode upon a mule, and the mule went under the thick boughs of a great oak, and his head caught hold of the oak, and he was taken up between the heaven and the earth; and the mule that [was] under him went away. 10 And a certain man saw [it], and told Joab, and said, Behold, I saw Absalom hanged in an oak.
In the previous chapter David’s friend Hushai overturns the counsel of Bathsheba’s grandfather Ahitophel before Absalom. In frustration Ahitophel commits suicide and Absalom in following Hushai’s counsel personally leads his army out against David. By this time the 600 men David left Jerusalem with are increased into a great army and the battle is set in array. David divides the host into three groups and intends to go into battle himself. The people refuse to allow David to go into battle for his life is precious to them. Instead Joab, Abishai and Ittai go forth with the army in the wood of Ephraim. There is a tremendous slaughter and in the confusion of the tumult more of Absalom’s men die by misadventure in the rough terrain in the wood of Ephraim than by the sword of David’s men. This is reminiscent of Josh. 10:11 when the Lord rained down great hailstones upon the five kings of the Amorites and more people died from the hailstones than by the hand of Joshua’s army.
When you are in the midst of conflict never forget the promise of God through the words of Moses:
[Deu 3:22 KJV] 22 Ye shall not fear them: for the LORD your God he shall fight for you.
No matter how sore the conflict in your life may be at any given time, God is undertaking for you as well. Remember that David was continually in this circumstance humbling himself and not taking matters into his own hands. He was very reluctant to defend himself because he knew that the Father was his defender. You are never alone in battle when you commit your way to the Lord.
Absalom himself is a casualty of misadventure in the wood of Ephraim and is caught by his hair in an oak tree as he is fleeing from Joab. Absalom’s hair is a symbol of his pride. You may find yourself in situations where it seems that your enemies are prevailing against you – but be patient. The truth always outlives the lie. Sooner or later God will undertake for you and things will change if you will stay faithful. As Pharaoh’s chariots were destroyed and Hamon was hung on the scaffold he prepared for Mordecai even so you will be delivered when you keep your trust in God.
11 And Joab said unto the man that told him, And, behold, thou sawest [him], and why didst thou not smite him there to the ground? and I would have given thee ten [shekels] of silver, and a girdle. 12 And the man said unto Joab, Though I should receive a thousand [shekels] of silver in mine hand, [yet] would I not put forth mine hand against the king’s son: for in our hearing the king charged thee and Abishai and Ittai, saying, Beware that none [touch] the young man Absalom. 13 Otherwise I should have wrought falsehood against mine own life: for there is no matter hid from the king, and thou thyself wouldest have set thyself against [me]. 14 Then said Joab, I may not tarry thus with thee. And he took three darts in his hand, and thrust them through the heart of Absalom, while he [was] yet alive in the midst of the oak. 15 And ten young men that bare Joab’s armour compassed about and smote Absalom, and slew him. 16 And Joab blew the trumpet, and the people returned from pursuing after Israel: for Joab held back the people. 17 And they took Absalom, and cast him into a great pit in the wood, and laid a very great heap of stones upon him: and all Israel fled every one to his tent. 18 Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and reared up for himself a pillar, which [is] in the king’s dale: for he said, I have no son to keep my name in remembrance: and he called the pillar after his own name: and it is called unto this day, Absalom’s place.
There are three types of leaders in every situation: David, Absalom and Saul. What type of a leader are you? What type of leader is your pastor? Every leader is either a David, an Absalom or a Saul. Absalom is unable to produce sons. For all his charisma and his ability to convince people with his charm that he is the true king he is unable to raise up sons after him. Saul raised up sons but they died with him in battle and his house is left desolate. David raises up sons and while some of them die and others rebel Solomon eventually takes David’s place on the throne.
Joab against David’s orders takes Absalom’s life. In David’s life Joab is a constant grief to him. Joab always thinks he knows better than David and acts without authority to shape David’s life. He assists David in murdering Bathsheba’s husband. He convinces David to allow Absalom to return to Jerusalem in the first place. Now when the opportunity arises he takes Absalom’s life. Joab is continually creating problems for David and then rebukes David for the problem that Joab himself creates before stepping to solve that same problem. Identify the Joab’s in your life. They are illegitimate authorities and false friends and false counselors. They are very hard to get rid because they entrench themselves so deeply in your life. David is weak where Joab is concerned and his kingdom suffers because of it. It isn’t until the last day of his life he deals with him and then by the hand of Solomon. Be prompt in identifying these false influences in your life and deal with them promptly.
19 Then said Ahimaaz the son of Zadok, Let me now run, and bear the king tidings, how that the LORD hath avenged him of his enemies. 20 And Joab said unto him, Thou shalt not bear tidings this day, but thou shalt bear tidings another day: but this day thou shalt bear no tidings, because the king’s son is dead. 21 Then said Joab to Cushi, Go tell the king what thou hast seen. And Cushi bowed himself unto Joab, and ran. 22 Then said Ahimaaz the son of Zadok yet again to Joab, But howsoever, let me, I pray thee, also run after Cushi. And Joab said, Wherefore wilt thou run, my son, seeing that thou hast no tidings ready? 23 But howsoever, [said he], let me run. And he said unto him, Run. Then Ahimaaz ran by the way of the plain, and overran Cushi. 24 And David sat between the two gates: and the watchman went up to the roof over the gate unto the wall, and lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold a man running alone. 25 And the watchman cried, and told the king. And the king said, If he [be] alone, [there is] tidings in his mouth. And he came apace, and drew near. 26 And the watchman saw another man running: and the watchman called unto the porter, and said, Behold [another] man running alone. And the king said, He also bringeth tidings. 27 And the watchman said, Me thinketh the running of the foremost is like the running of Ahimaaz the son of Zadok. And the king said, He [is] a good man, and cometh with good tidings. 28 And Ahimaaz called, and said unto the king, All is well. And he fell down to the earth upon his face before the king, and said, Blessed [be] the LORD thy God, which hath delivered up the men that lifted up their hand against my lord the king. 29 And the king said, Is the young man Absalom safe? And Ahimaaz answered, When Joab sent the king’s servant, and [me] thy servant, I saw a great tumult, but I knew not what [it was]. 30 And the king said [unto him], Turn aside, [and] stand here. And he turned aside, and stood still. 31 And, behold, Cushi came; and Cushi said, Tidings, my lord the king: for the LORD hath avenged thee this day of all them that rose up against thee. 32 And the king said unto Cushi, Is the young man Absalom safe? And Cushi answered, The enemies of my lord the king, and all that rise against thee to do [thee] hurt, be as [that] young man [is]. 33 And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept: and as he went, thus he said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!
After Absalom’s death the high priest’s son Ahimaaz is zealous to take David the news. Cushi is sent out but Ahimaaz convinces Joab to let him go as well. David heart is broken by the news of Absalom’s death. True to his character even in victory he is a man after God’s own heart. Ezekiel 18:23 says that God takes no pleasure at the destruction of the wicked rather that they would turn from their wicked ways and live. David’s heart continues to be a heart of love. When you have a heart of love your first response to the sinner and those who are aligned against God’s purposes is not one of anger but grief for the lost condition of the people involved. We don’t rejoice at the coming judgment even though we have a promise that we will be spared if we trust in Christ. The heart of evangelism is not a sterile condemnation of evil men but of compassion and sorrow for those who have lost their way and are in danger of an eternity lost without God.
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