There is a lot in our reading today in 2 Samuel 16, 17 & 18. As we know, David is fleeing from Absalom, his son, who is rebelling against him and taking over his kingship. The first story we read about is as he was on the run, he encounters Ziba, who was basically the manager over everything David had given Mephibosheth, King Saul’s Grandson/Jonathan’s crippled son. Ziba tells makes an accusation against Mephibosheth and David immediately gives Ziba everything that was Mephibosheth’s, without looking into it or questioning anything. He then goes on to have a run in with a man named Shimei, who is a member of Saul’s family. Shimei starts speaking against David as if he was the one who killed Saul and goes on to hit him and his men with stones. Here, David remains calm and doesn’t fight back. Although this mans accusations and actions were wrong, David knows he shouldn’t fight back. We then see another one of Nathan’s prophesizes for David’s life play out. Remember how he left ten of his concubines in the palace? Well, Ahithophel, Absalom’s advisor, who helped him make decisions, decides that the best thing for him to do next is to sleep with them AND they go on to pitch him a tent on the roof of David’s palace for him to sleep with his concubines! If you’ve been with us for a bit, we learned previously from Abner and Ish-Boseth this was actually considered an act of treason and showed someone trying to claim the throne. Scripture tells us that “the advice Ahithophel gave was like that of one who inquires of God. That was how both David and Absalom regarded all of Ahithophel’s advice.” (v.23) -reminder to us to be sure the advice we take is from a good source, right? Ahithophel goes on to give more bad advice, he tells Absalom to go and attack David, kill him and bring the rest of the people back to follow Absalom, although scripture says that plan sounded good, he actually goes on and also asks Hushai, remember he is the spy David sent in pretending to be a traitor, to get his thoughts. Hushai disagrees with this advice and reminds them that David is a warrior and will fight back. Our application tells us that Hushai’s plan sounded good to Absalom because it flattered him, he was quite the self-centered man. When Ahithophel sees that his advice wasn’t taken, he actually hangs himself. And with Hushai’s plan set in place, as Absalom and the men of Israel head out to fight David, David also get his own troops ready to fight back. Before heading out, David tells them to keep Absalom safe. A couple of David’s men see Absalom, he was riding a mule, and his hair gets stuck in a tree y’all and his mule keeps walking, he is literally just hanging there. Knowing the king said not to harm him, the guys leave and go tell Joab. We know Joab’s track record, so you may guess what he does, but he goes with 10 of his arm bearers and they kill him. Our reading today ends with David finding out Absalom is dead and he is shaken up by the news.
The verse we are going to focus on is verse 23 that we mentioned above. We learned that most rulers have advisers to help them make decisions, usually about government and political matters. (application) I believe our world is filled with advisers, I mean we can quickly Google anything and the advice we get is overwhelming, we can shout out on social media and our posts can be filled with advice, let’s face it, the world is constantly coming at us with advice from every direction, even advice we weren’t looking for, is in our face, but the question is, is the advice we are taking coming from a source of truth, of grace, of love, of God? God should be our number one advisor. Would God have really given Absalom that advice, I think not! But, thankfully God does give us community, others who believe and follow him, those who are sound people to go to with a problem.
Where are you getting your advice from? Is it working? Are you left feeling as though you made the right choices? Or are you in a place of uncertainty and need or desire for better advice? Take it to God!
Heavenly Father, Lord, you are so good, Isaiah 9:6 tells us that you are called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace, Lord, that is who we want our advice to come from, that is the place and the truth that we desire when we are seeking help. I pray you speak to us as we present a problem to you, I pray for patience for us as we wait for a response. I pray for a community to surround each of us so that we can have good, Godly counsel, who in turn may give us the response you lay on their hearts for us. Help us not to look to the world for advice, Lord, Jesus never gave into the norms of the world back when he walked it, he lived for you! Thank you for sending Jesus as a living example of what that looks like. Help us to do the same, to live for you, to seek advice from others who live for you as well. Surround us with Godly voices. In your wonderful name we pray! Amen!