Today we see King David face four major adversities:
1) David’s son Absalom positions himself as judge in Jerusalem, wins the favor of the people, and proclaims himself as king of Hebron. When David hears of this, he flees with his men and their households. These men have been faithful to David since the time David was living with the Philistines, before all of his success. So David once again becomes a fugitive, out of fear that Absalom will kill them and destroy Jerusalem. “But the king left 10 women, concubines, to keep the house.” And David sends Zadok, the priest, and Abiathar along with their sons back to Jerusalem with the ark of God.
“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.” When Jesus arrives on the scene, He will make many visits to the Mount of Olives. As a matter of fact, Jesus too will weep on the Mount of Olives just as David is weeping. However, Jesus won’t be weeping over His own sins. He will be weeping over the sins of the people, over our sins. Jesus weeps for those who reject Him and the opportunity for salvation here on earth and for eternity in heaven. Jesus weeps because He is not willing that any should perish – “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). But the day will come when Jesus will return and stand on this very mount, the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4), where He was betrayed and rejected. This time however, Jesus will have His ultimate victory over all His enemies. Therefore today is the day to accept Jesus as your Savior because no one knows the day of His return.
When weeping David climbs up the Mount of Olives, he learns that his friend and counselor, Ahithophel, has also betrayed him by joining ranks with Absalom. So David prays to the Lord that Ahithophel’s counsel would be turned into foolishness. The Lord brings Hushai, a loyal friend, to David while David is worshiping, and David sends Hushai back to overthrow the counsel of Ahithophel. Although our own family members and friends may betray us, the Lord never will. Ultimately David’s fate is in the hand of God.
2) Ziba runs out to David with supplies and tells David that Mephibosheth abandoned David and stayed back to have the kingdom restored to him. This is a complete lie and oh, how that lie must have hurt David. However, David believes the lie and tells Ziba he can have all that was Mephibosheth’s. So Ziba gets what he was after, but the truth will soon be revealed.
3) While on the run, Shimei, a relative of Saul, comes out cursing David and throwing rocks at him. Shimei is the type of person who is going to kick a man while he is down. David’s friend Abishai, who has had enough of Shimei, asks David if he can take off his head. But David doesn’t take matters into his own hands by killing Shimei, just like David didn’t take matters into his own hands by killing Saul when he had the chance. Instead David says, “Let him alone, and let him curse; for so the Lord has ordered him. It may be that the Lord will look on my affliction, and that the Lord will repay me with good for his cursing this day.”
4) Ahithophel, David’s former counselor and Bathsheba’s grandfather who could still be holding a grudge, advises Absalom to show his position over David by sleeping with his concubines. “So they pitched a tent for Absalom on top of the house, and Absalom went in to his father’s concubines in the sight of all of Israel.” This is just as the Lord told David would happen after his affair with Bathsheba and murder of Uriah (2 Samuel 12:11-12).
The reading ends with Hushai overthrowing Ahithophel’s advice to Absalom regarding attacking David and his men. “For the Lord had purposed to defeat the good advice of Ahithophel, to the intent that the Lord might bring disaster on Absalom.” Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many are the plans in the mind of man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” We can take great comfort in knowing that our prayers are more powerful than any man’s plans. We see this here with David’s prayer prevailing over Ahithophel’s plan.
Today we read of much deception, betrayal, and animosity toward the Lord’s appointed king. There is bound to be some major fallout as a result of today’s actions as we will discover tomorrow, so keep reading. (2 Samuel 15:1-17:14)