As I continue to read, how Absalom, plots against his own father, David, and plans to steal the kingdom from him. I am more and more impressed by the way David deals with the situation. At this time, he's running away from his son Absalom, who has built up a large number of followers and would kill him(David his own father), so he may become king!!! The Bible says "David continued up the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went; his head was covered and he was barefoot" (2 Samuel 15:30). Moreover David's counselor was also with Absalom, David did what he knew best at this situation ; "David prayed, "O LORD, turn Ahithophel's counsel into foolishness." A cry of a desperate man. His trustworthy man Arkite came to support David during this trial and wanted to go with him, but David asked him to go back and watch the situation at his home, and so he did.As David travels further, Mephibosheth's (Jonathan's crippled son) person, Ziba waited with food and supplies for David and his people. David asked why Mephibosheth didnt come and he learns that Mephibosheth is waiting in Jerusalem hoping to get a part of the kingdom when Absalom takes it.Furthe now on his way to Bahurim, one of Saul's descendants meets David's convoy and he throws stones at them and curses David. The situation, as it is, being grim, being made unbearable by the words that this man was cursing David with.David does not retort in anger or defence, but does nothing, in fact he tells Abishai, who wanted to defend David; "David then said to Abishai and all his officials, "My son, who is of my own flesh, is trying to take my life. How much more, then, this Benjamite! Leave him alone; let him curse, for the LORD has told him to. 12 It may be that the LORD will see my distress and repay me with good for the cursing I am receiving today." (2 Samuel 16:11) David knew, there was no point in trying to defend himself from an outsider, when his own family member was seeking to kill him. They finally reached their destination all exhausted, however there David refreshed himself.
In the midst of such an emotional and physical unrest in his life, I learnt some lessons on how David tackles the situation
- Distressed, but not letting go of faith- David knows he has to go through this test in life, remember the time when God told him , after his sin with Bathsheba that David would have unrest in his family. Yet he also shows that his only hope is the Lord and he prays. Just because there are effects that remain from sin, until the time we're put back on track, we should not and must not, let go of our hope in the Lord. Apart from our Lord there is no hope. Would there be any other way out? No, sometimes the only way out is to lay down complete trust on our Saviour. Do you know why we need to "lay down" our trust upon the Lord, because lying down is resting, because when lying down, your entire body is supported by the floor or the bed on which you lie down on. In the physical sense,it demonstrates complete trust on the bed, that it will support, thats what we need to do when situations seem overwhelming, lay our hope upon our Living God
- Frank about his feeling-Its not an easy thing David is going through, its not hidden, its so overwhelming David cries and walks barefoot. Sometimes people say, we should not cry about the situation, but I think, its human to feel sad, to be disheartened when faced with situations like David did. If we dont feel any emotions then what would we be? If we're not at the end of our strength how will we see God's power, how will we experience God's greatness and God's love and strength which is so freely given to them who believe. In spite of the condition they are in, though they are weak, then they are strong in the strength of the Lord.David could have easily enforced his security, people were willing to give up their lives for him, he could have acted as a king and got Absalom killed, probably in the way he did Urriah, but he preferred to remain weak and see God take him out of this situation. He might have wanted to see God working in his life.
- Surprising Favour returned- David had helped, Mephibosheth, Jonathan's crippled son, after Jonathan died, in return he receives a favour from Mephibosheth's son, who comes to give David and his men, food and water supplies for their journey. Its amazing, that at one time the guy who called himself a dead dog, when David asked him to dine with him (Mephibosheth) has now turned greedy for a part of the kingdom David had to leave from, because of his son Absalom, but his son has remembered David's favour towards his father Mephibosheth and returns it. Well, I'd say its better to never hope any favour from someone you have granted favour to. In other words, don't give favour with a hope of return favour, it might never be returned. However be hopeful, that God has seen your heart when you reached out to someone in need, God will make sure, thats returned from somewhere. Sow a seed of blessing in someone desperate's life, the fruit of it might come from anywhere, even though the person whom you blessed turns away from you. God is your rewarder.
- Dealing with "Big Mouths"-In the midst of trouble, sometimes you would find people who love to find out more about the situation or ready to judge you for the misfortune that has come upon you. People who are ready to further your emotional pain with harsh words, they think they are the ones sent to "deal" with you. This man from Gera who came out to curse David saying ""Get out, get out, you man of blood, you scoundrel! 8 The LORD has repaid you for all the blood you shed in the household of Saul, in whose place you have reigned. The LORD has handed the kingdom over to your son Absalom. You have come to ruin because you are a man of blood!"(2 Samuel 16:8). Sounds apt doesn't it. Sounds like David should have received all this punishment. But remember what God told David when he had sinned "13 Then David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD." Nathan replied, "The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die." God had forgiven David. No matter what the Big Mouths say, when we asked God for forgiveness, God has taken away our sin. Why carry a burden which Jesus has already taken away, when you asked Jesus our Lord to wash you with His precious blood, which he shed for your and my sins" There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Yes we might have gone off track for a while, but when the prodigal son returns, the Father accepts him with open arms and much rejoicing. If our Father in heaven has accepted us, what does anything else anyone say matter. Our connection should be directly with our Lord Jesus, not because of what someone else says about our situations.
- Steadfastly trusting God's amazing mercy, they are new every morning-When this Shemei was cursing David and throwing stones at him, David had his heart steadfastly trusting in God's mercy. He would rather trust in God's mercy, rather than the condemnation of another man."11 David then said to Abishai and all his officials, "My son, who is of my own flesh, is trying to take my life. How much more, then, this Benjamite! Leave him alone; let him curse, for the LORD has told him to. 12 It may be that the LORD will see my distress and repay me with good for the cursing I am receiving today." Isn't that beautiful, no matter how condemned people might think we could be because of whatever has happened in our past, we can trust in God's mercy.Lamentations 3:22-24 says "22 Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 24 I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him." If you are distressed and the people around you are like Shemei, trust in the Lord's mercy, they are new every morning. Wake up get up, look up and see, they are new every morning, GOD"S MERCIES ARE NEW EVERY MORNING. Oh the Psalms are full of songs of God's love and enduring mercies. Can you imagine, what weight that testimony in Psalms has, coming from a man like David, who went through it all and wrote them.
Conclusion: I can't imagine any of our situations being as terrible as it has been for David until this time, well there is more to come, yet the one thing that remains common between all the situations, is David's steadfast trust in God and God's power always standing strong on a man after God's own heart, David, even when David did good, even when David sinned, even when David killed Urriah ruthlessly, even when David asked for forgiveness, even when David faced severe family issues, in that his own son trying to kill him.
I hope this post brings hope to the ones who have been through rough times, faced unrest in the family, have suffered the emotional stress of cursing from others who dont have a clue about your life. Finally it is God's Word that stands and matters, if you really want a change in your life.