2 Samuel 17:15-29; Psalm 3; Psalm 63; 2 Samuel 18-19:30
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Interesting readings in Second Samuel today! The dynamics between Ahithophel's advice and Hushai's advice is fascinating. Hushai plays smartly to Absalom's ego and insecurity with the advice he gives. Ahithophel seems to realize that he's lost his status in Absalom's kingdom - and I wonder if maybe perhaps Ahithophel realized this kingdom of Absalom's would soon fall? And thus decided to kill himself? It was probably more of an ego / pride / status thing though that played into Ahithophel's tragic decision. Ahithophel, a betrayer of David, ended up taking his life in the same manner Judas, the betrayer of Jesus, does. (Not to be morbid here, but just fyi that there are 7 suicides documented in the Bible - you can view this list of 7 on bible.org at this link.) It does make me very sad to read about suicide, even in the case of Ahithophel or Judas. I know obviously suicide happens still in our world today at alarming rates, which makes me incredibly sad. I just feel like all of us can have some serious down times in our life and maybe sometimes feel like just giving it up completely. I pray that if ever we really do get that down in our life, that we always remember there is redemption. There is hope. There is love. There is forgiveness. There is Jesus. No matter what we've done or what we've failed to do, let us not every give up on the everlasting hope that is Jesus in our lives. Jesus saves. Jesus even saves us from ourselves.
For some reason the readings today about Hushai trying to get a message to David reminded me of the 1st Lord of the Rings movie when Frodo & crew are leaving the Shire and traveling on foot trying to avoid the wraiths. Maybe it was Ahimaaz and Jonathan hiding in the well that triggered this for me. Seems like hiding in the well is something Frodo & crew would have done! :)
Wow. Intense readings today. As could be expected from Absalom's pursuit of his ego and pride the past few chapters, his sin catches up with him. One commentary had the interesting point that Absalom's "pretty head & long hair" (as you'll recall from 2 Samuel 14:25-26) ironically ended up being his undoing as his long hair got caught up in a tree. This seems very symbolic of how pride and ego can be it's own undoing. This image I think it sums up well where unchecked pride and ego can ultimately lead...
Well, Absalom did incorporate some long term ingenuity in his pride & ego - like the Egyptian Pharaoh's of old, Absalom decided to make sure he built a monument to himself! as we read about in verse 18 today: "During his lifetime, Absalom had built a monument to himself in the King's Valley, for he had said, "I have no son to carry on my name." He named the monument after himself, and it is known as Absalom's Monument to this day." Below is an image of Absalom's Monument (Pillar) -
While on one hand I do appreciate David's grace and love for his son Absalom, I have to say that I really do appreciate Joab's boldness & wisdom in rebuking David in verses 5 through 8: "We saved your life today and the lives of your sons, your daughters, and your wives and concubines. Yet you act like this, making us feel ashamed, as though we had done something wrong. You seem to love those who hate you and hate those who love you. You have made it clear today that we mean nothing to you. If Absalom had lived and all of us had died, you would be pleased. Now go out there and congratulate the troops, for I swear by the LORD that if you don't, not a single one of them will remain here tonight. Then you will be worse off than you have ever been." That is quite a speech by Joab to David! And I believe he was right. David's love for his son was admirable in one sense - but it also could be seen as selfish in another sense. David seemed to care more for his son than for the nation of Israel, and Joab called him out on this. It is interesting how sometimes our love for one person can cloud everything else going on in our lives. Love for one person is a beautiful thing. But it seems that we should also be cognizant of others around us too - and love them. And sometimes, like David, we may need to realize that there is a greater good - a greater love - than the singular love we have been focusing on. This is not easy to discern of course... hopefully this makes some sort of sense or doesn't sound too harsh? Below is a portrait by artist Guy Rowe of David mourning for his son Absalom with Joab in the background giving his speech in the verses above:
Second Samuel 19 is great! David returns to Jerusalem! I love the entire flow of today's readings as David crosses the Jordan River toward Jerusalem and shows incredible kindness to Shimei, Mephibosheth, and Barzillai along the way. However, don't forget the name Shimei just yet - the "rock thrower & curser" when David fled Jerusalem a few chapters back... On David's deathbed, later in our readings in First Kings 2:9, David will pass along to his son Solomon these instructions: "Bring his (Shimei's) gray head down to the grave in blood..." But, this day was not a day of bloodshed, but a day of amnesty, as David exclaimed in 2 Samuel 19:22 today: "This is not a day for execution but for celebration! I am once again the king of Israel!" An image of Mephibosheth, Saul's grandson, meeting David on his return to Jerusalem is below:
Worship God: Our readings today in 2nd Samuel reminded me of Casting Crowns' song "What if His people prayed:"
Are you praying without ceasing? Click here and pray!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: "You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. " Psalm 63:1 NIV
Prayer Point: Pray that you earnestly seek God each and every day and night. Pray that your whole being longs for the LORD.
Comments from You: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!