Let’s do a tally of all the sins that led to rebellion…
- David commits adultery with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah and granddaughter of Ahithophel. She become pregnant.
- David tries to hoodwink Uriah into sleeping with his wife, but it doesn’t work, so David has him killed in battle.
- Nathan the prophet, relays to David how God feels. Part of that was the death of David’s son with Bathsheba and also that He would raise up rebellion within his own house. (2 Samuel 12:11)
- Amnon, David’s eldest son, thinks if the king could have any woman he wants, so can I and he rapes his half-sister, Tamar, Absalom’s full sister.
- Absalom, kills Amnon and runs away.
- Absalom and David reconcile — somewhat. Had it been forged in forgiveness, things might have turned out differently.
So, you see, it’s sin, on top of sin, on top of more sin. Like a cancer. All this causes bitterness, which leads to more sin and eventually death. Let’s dig in….
2 Samuel 15
After this, Absalom bought a chariot and horses, and he hired fifty bodyguards to run ahead of him. 2 He got up early every morning and went out to the gate of the city. When people brought a case to the king for judgment, Absalom would ask where in Israel they were from, and they would tell him their tribe. 3 Then Absalom would say, “You’ve really got a strong case here! It’s too bad the king doesn’t have anyone to hear it. 4 I wish I were the judge. Then everyone could bring their cases to me for judgment, and I would give them justice!”
5 When people tried to bow before him, Absalom wouldn’t let them. Instead, he took them by the hand and kissed them. 6 Absalom did this with everyone who came to the king for judgment, and so he stole the hearts of all the people of Israel.
7 After four years, Absalom said to the king, “Let me go to Hebron to offer a sacrifice to the Lord and fulfill a vow I made to him. 8 For while your servant was at Geshur in Aram, I promised to sacrifice to the Lord in Hebron if he would bring me back to Jerusalem.”
9 “All right,” the king told him. “Go and fulfill your vow.”
So Absalom went to Hebron. 10 But while he was there, he sent secret messengers to all the tribes of Israel to stir up a rebellion against the king. “As soon as you hear the ram’s horn,” his message read, “you are to say, ‘Absalom has been crowned king in Hebron.’” 11 He took 200 men from Jerusalem with him as guests, but they knew nothing of his intentions. 12 While Absalom was offering the sacrifices, he sent for Ahithophel, one of David’s counselors who lived in Giloh. Soon many others also joined Absalom, and the conspiracy gained momentum.
David Escapes from Jerusalem
13 A messenger soon arrived in Jerusalem to tell David, “All Israel has joined Absalom in a conspiracy against you!”
14 “Then we must flee at once, or it will be too late!” David urged his men. “Hurry! If we get out of the city before Absalom arrives, both we and the city of Jerusalem will be spared from disaster.”
15 “We are with you,” his advisers replied. “Do what you think is best.”
16 So the king and all his household set out at once. He left no one behind except ten of his concubines to look after the palace. 17 The king and all his people set out on foot, pausing at the last house 18 to let all the king’s men move past to lead the way. There were 600 men from Gath who had come with David, along with the king’s bodyguard.
19 Then the king turned and said to Ittai, a leader of the men from Gath, “Why are you coming with us? Go on back to King Absalom, for you are a guest in Israel, a foreigner in exile. 20 You arrived only recently, and should I force you today to wander with us? I don’t even know where we will go. Go on back and take your kinsmen with you, and may the Lord show you his unfailing love and faithfulness.”
21 But Ittai said to the king, “I vow by the Lord and by your own life that I will go wherever my lord the king goes, no matter what happens—whether it means life or death.”
22 David replied, “All right, come with us.” So Ittai and all his men and their families went along.
23 Everyone cried loudly as the king and his followers passed by. They crossed the Kidron Valley and then went out toward the wilderness.
24 Zadok and all the Levites also came along, carrying the Ark of the Covenant of God. They set down the Ark of God, and Abiathar offered sacrifices until everyone had passed out of the city.
25 Then the king instructed Zadok to take the Ark of God back into the city. “If the Lord sees fit,” David said, “he will bring me back to see the Ark and the Tabernacle again. 26 But if he is through with me, then let him do what seems best to him.”
27 The king also told Zadok the priest, “Look, here is my plan. You and Abiathar should return quietly to the city with your son Ahimaaz and Abiathar’s son Jonathan. 28 I will stop at the shallows of the Jordan River and wait there for a report from you.” 29 So Zadok and Abiathar took the Ark of God back to the city and stayed there.
30 David walked up the road to the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went. His head was covered and his feet were bare as a sign of mourning. And the people who were with him covered their heads and wept as they climbed the hill. 31 When someone told David that his adviser Ahithophel was now backing Absalom, David prayed, “O Lord, let Ahithophel give Absalom foolish advice!”
32 When David reached the summit of the Mount of Olives where people worshiped God, Hushai the Arkite was waiting there for him. Hushai had torn his clothing and put dirt on his head as a sign of mourning. 33 But David told him, “If you go with me, you will only be a burden. 34 Return to Jerusalem and tell Absalom, ‘I will now be your adviser, O king, just as I was your father’s adviser in the past.’ Then you can frustrate and counter Ahithophel’s advice. 35 Zadok and Abiathar, the priests, will be there. Tell them about the plans being made in the king’s palace, 36 and they will send their sons Ahimaaz and Jonathan to tell me what is going on.”
37 So David’s friend Hushai returned to Jerusalem, getting there just as Absalom arrived.2 Samuel 15 NLT
- Ahithaphel was Bathsheba’s grandfather. He was bitter as was Absalom. Bitterness always finds a buddy.
- David walked barefoot up the Mount of Olives. He was repentant and he worshiped the Lord. Check out the parallels with Jesus gong to the Mount of Olives in the Gospels of Matthew, Luke and John.
- Remember, David was a poet. When he was fleeing from King Saul, he wrote several psalms. Here are two psalms written in this time of him fleeing from his own son…
A psalm of David, regarding the time David fled from his son Absalom.
1 O Lord, I have so many enemies;
so many are against me.
2 So many are saying,
“God will never rescue him!” Interlude (Selah)
3 But you, O Lord, are a shield around me;
you are my glory, the one who holds my head high.
4 I cried out to the Lord,
and he answered me from his holy mountain. Interlude
5 I lay down and slept,
yet I woke up in safety,
for the Lord was watching over me.
6 I am not afraid of ten thousand enemies
who surround me on every side.
7 Arise, O Lord!Psalm 3 NLT
Rescue me, my God!
Slap all my enemies in the face!
Shatter the teeth of the wicked!
8 Victory comes from you, O Lord.
May you bless your people. Interlude
- “Selah” or Interlude means to stop, pause and ponder what you’ve just read.
- Life-long friends all of a sudden turned on David. Have you ever had trusted friends or colleagues turn on you?
- God will answer you when you cry to Him. He will NEVER leave you!
1 Answer me when I call to you,
O God who declares me innocent.
Free me from my troubles.
Have mercy on me and hear my prayer.
2 How long will you people ruin my reputation?
How long will you make groundless accusations?
How long will you continue your lies? Interlude
3 You can be sure of this:
The Lord set apart the godly for himself.
The Lord will answer when I call to him.
4 Don’t sin by letting anger control you.
Think about it overnight and remain silent. Interlude
5 Offer sacrifices in the right spirit,
and trust the Lord.
6 Many people say, “Who will show us better times?”Psalm 4 NLT
Let your face smile on us, Lord.
7 You have given me greater joy
than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine.
8 In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.
Are You Stressed? Losing Sleep?
The answer is not in pills — the answer is to PRAY! Remember Psalm 23 when we talked about sheep having to feel safe and secure before they could sleep. Who do they count on? The shepherd! Who is OUR GOOD SHEPHERD? Yes, JESUS!
I love the last line of Psalm 4 — In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe. Other versions read, “live in safety” or “make me live securely”. Wow! We put our trust in totally the wrong things!
If you want to feel safe and secure….
He is a friend who will never rebel against you. James, Jesus’ brother wrote….
7 So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. 9 Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.James 4:7-10 NLT