A Father’s Flight
(2 Samuel 14:25-33; 15:1-37; 16:1-14)
Shemei Casting Stones at David
By Julius Schnorr von Karolsfeld
From Religion in the Home – Captivating Bible Stories
By Charlotte M. Yonge
King David finally became reconciled to his estranged son Absalom. Although Absalom had been allowed to return to Jerusalem two years earlier, the father and son had not meet face to face. Nor had they seen eye to eye, after Absalom had been responsible for his half-brother Amnon’s death.
With a seed of anger growing within him, Absalom proved his mettle by setting fire to the fields of David’s military leader Joab. Gaining his attention, Absalom was able to obtain a hearing with his father, the king and regain his acceptance.
In short order, Absalom began conspiring against the king. Flattering the people, he set himself up first as a self-appointed judge and then as king of Hebron. His aim was the crown of all Israel.
Hearing of Absalom’s plans and the news that many of the men of Israel had become affiliated with him, David took his allies and fled from Jerusalem.
Why did David, the mighty warrior, not stay and fight? Could he not bear a confrontation with his son? Did he fear a loss? As the events progressed, the king’s heart became revealed.
The Ark Returned
David instructed the Levites to return the Ark of the Lord to its proper place in Jerusalem.
“Then the king said to Zadok,
‘Take the ark of God back into the city.
If I find favor in the Lord's eyes,
He will bring me back and let me see it
and His dwelling place again.
But if He says, “I am not pleased with you,”
then I am ready;
let Him do to me
whatever seems good to Him.’"
David placed his fate in the Heavenly Father’s hands. Knowing his kingly anointing came from the Lord, he was willing to trust God for the outcome. Surely, if the Lord chose to return David to the throne of Israel in Jerusalem, He would bring it to pass. On the other hand, if God opted to make Absalom the next king, then David seemed willing to accept this as well.
A Balancing Act
Although David awaited the direction and deliverance of the Lord, he did not fully relinquish the reins on the nation of Israel. Even from afar, he kept himself informed. The king strategically placed a few trusted individuals within the camp of Absalom, instructing them to offer misleading counsel to Absalom and to report inside information back to himself (see 2 Samuel 15:30-37).
By doing so, David exemplified a balanced truth that would later be expressed so eloquently by the Savior Himself:
“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves.
Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.”
Although a direct conflict with Absalom had not yet occurred at this point, several events pointed towards its inevitability. Mephibosheth’s servant and Shemei (another from Saul’s family) harassed him. Still, David remained faithful and forthright, taking his concerns directly to the Lord.
“I have a lot of enemies, Lord.
Many fight against me and say,
‘God won't rescue you!’
But You are my shield,
and You give me victory
and great honor.
I pray to You, and You answer
from Your sacred hill.
I sleep and wake up refreshed
because You, Lord, protect me.
Ten thousand enemies attack
from every side,
but I am not afraid
Come and save me, Lord God!
Break my enemies' jaws
and shatter their teeth,
because You protect
and bless Your people.”
What unfair treatment or undeserved threats might we face today? Is someone throwing stones (or even nasty words) our way?
How might the Lord wish to reveal His own glory by stepping in and righting a wrong? In what difficult situations can we trust Him to intervene, rather than staging our own attacks or even defenses? Can we seek His wisdom and watch Him work His mighty wonders in our own lives?
Will we give Him the glory and honor, as He answers our prayers?
Will you pray with me?
We need Your power
And Your protection
When we face dangers,
And other difficulties,
Nudge our hearts.
Remind us that You are in charge
And that You carry us in Your own heart.
Teach us to trust You
And to step out in action
Only after seeking Your guidance first.
May we bring honor to You.