Bible Readings for September 19th
The unresolved problems arising from David’s reluctance to discipline those around him—whether in his capacity as a king or as a father—combine to create a dangerous situation in 2 Samuel 15, where we find Absalom conspiring to steal the throne of Israel from his father. To begin, we read that “After this Absalom got himself a chariot and horses, and fifty men to run before him” (2 Sam. 15:1). In other words, Absalom is building an army—the act of a king. In fact, the prophet Samuel had warned Israel about the consequences of gaining a king by addressing specifically a king’s royal prerogative to draft Israel’s sons to his chariots and to run before his chariots (1 Sam. 8:11).
Even more treacherously, Absalom manipulates the most vulnerable in Israel, who had come to the king to resolve their difficult situations (2 Sam. 15:2–6). Absalom convinces people that there would be justice if only he were in charge, stealing the hearts of Israel one by one (2 Sam. 15:6). From this point, it is a small step for Absalom to sneak away to Hebron to declare himself king (2 Sam. 15:10).
There are two main lessons to learn from this story. First, it is always better to deal with our problems directly rather than to allow them to linger unresolved. We may make ourselves feel better by seeking our own version of justice through acts of passive-aggression or by seeking refuge in our idolatry of comfort through avoiding the situation altogether, but those solutions do not actually resolve problems. Eventually, such problems grow to the point that we have our own version of David’s Absalom story. It is far easier to nip such problems in the bud. Are there situations that you need to address completely and honestly with the grace of the Lord Jesus in your life today, before those situations grow any larger?
Second, this story is an important part of the suffering narrative of David. David had been persecuted relentlessly by Saul before he had become king, and now he is persecuted by his own son Absalom during his reign. Through this story we see a characteristic of Yahweh’s anointed: the Messiah, like David, will suffer. And, while only some of David’s suffering comes to him despite his own innocence, Yahweh’s ultimate Messiah will suffer despite his complete innocence.
And because Jesus suffered, we can have the confidence to face our greatest challenges directly, since Christ has conquered sin, death, and the devil through his death and resurrection. Even more, it is through the suffering we undergo with Christ that God proves to us that he has adopted us as sons (Heb. 12:8) and that we stand to be glorified with Christ (Rom. 8:17). In your suffering, take heart: Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33).
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.