Spoiler alert: today’s scripture is not about David. David already had the hearts of the people of Israel…so, let’s find out who…
Yesterday we read how after Absalom killed his brother Amnon that he fled for three years. David missed his son and it was clear to Joab, wanting the king to be happy, he sends for a wise woman from Tekoa to help with his plan. This woman goes before the king to basically show David’s heart for Absalom, David catches onto Joab’s part in this and tells him to bring Absalom back to Jerusalem, but he added that he didn’t want him to see David’s face, so Absalom lived there for two years without ever seeing David, his own dad. Absalom’s rebellion started when he killed his half brother, who just so happened to be the one brother in line before him to be the next king, and in this absence from seeing his son, it seems as though Absalom’s schemes against David grew and he just did whatever he wanted. He’d tried to see David, but no response, so he actually sets Joab’s field on fire to get his attention! It worked and Joab finally let him see David. It seems as though David was happy to see him, scripture says he kissed him when he came in, but I think it was a little too late to start trying to have a better relationship with him, Absalom’s rebellion had already begun, which was also prophesied by Nathan. Over time, Absalom got himself a chariot with horses and men to follow him. He would go to the city gate, where a lot of business was ran and people entered and left through here, and would basically say against his father and that if he were king, he would do a much better job. And this is where today’s verse is from. But, before we go there, after four years of building his conspiracy against his dad, Absalom asks David if he can go to Hebron, saying back when he fled he made a promise that he would go and worship God there; this is the same city David went to, where he was crowned king of the tribe of Judah. Scripture tells us “And so the conspiracy [against David] gained strength, and Absalom’s following kept on increasing.” (v. 12) At this point a messenger comes and tells David “the hearts of the people of Israel are with Absalom (v.13), so David and his people (except 10 concubines he left to take care of the palace) fled! David being a warrior, this totally surprised me, but our application explains that had he not done this David and so many others could have been killed in the fight Absalom was preparing for. It goes on to tell us “some fights that we think necessary can be costly and destructive to those around us…it takes courage to stand and fight, but it also takes courage to back down for the sake of others” just as David did. We do get clues in today’s reading that David is expecting/hoping to return soon, he left ten of his concubines at the palace and we read that he sent the ark of the covenant back into the city saying that god willing, he will see it again in it’s dwelling place. David goes on to send a man named Hushai back to Absalom, pretending to be a traitor, to instead be a spy for David.
Today’s verse is one of deception. Absalom was gaining likes by other people, but this was based on his charisma and good looks only. Our application tell us he was “handsome and popular like his father, but lacked his father’s heart for God.” Absalom’s intentions were not right and definitely not God’s will. David missed the mark by not training up his children in the way of the Lord. This is such a powerful reminder for us the importance of sharing the Lord with the younger generations, but not just sharing it with them, also reflecting Him. David’s sin of adultery and murder made him feel inferior to teach his children, yet, that same sin continued on in his family. Absalom is in murky water here. He can only get by on his good looks and popularity for so long, but that is why the people are turning to him, they feel he is the next David, but what isn’t seen to the eye, the deceit, is bound to come out.
I want to dive into this on a personal level. Have you ever trusted someone just because of an appearance? Or have you ever had a first impression of someone only to find out that it was just a show? How did this end up feeling? Was there betrayal or what felt like a bruised heart? Maybe this even has been you, where you used your looks or personality to charm others over something… how did it end up working? Share it in your notes today.
Let’s end our week in worship.
Heavenly Father, thank you for this story. We can see how foggy things can get when we aren’t looking to you and relying solely on ourselves. Lord, we desire to solely rely on you, that you come in and take over. We don’t want to run our lives, we want your plan to be our lives, we want you shining the light before each step and guiding everything we do. Help us to refrain from any temptation where we use something you’ve given us, like looks or personality, to get ahead of someone else. Help us to see that we can trust you to fulfill your plan and you will give us what we need, that we don’t need to push your timing or your will. It’s in your true and powerful name we pray, AMEN!