It is said that a human being can survive 40 days without food, 3 days without water, 8 minutes without air, but cannot live a single second without God. King David is fleeing from his son, Absalom, who has crowned himself king. David wrote Psalms 63 when he was in the wilderness of Judah — which is very dry desert.
People joke about living in Phoenix, Arizona, in the summer when the temps go into the “triple digits”. We say — “It’s a dry heat” as opposed to the humidity felt elsewhere. Consequently, it took me 2 years to get acclimated to the desert climate. I once almost passed out at work because I hadn’t had enough water.
In this next chapter, David gets some provisions from an unlikely source — maybe with an ulterior motive. He gets cursed and rocks thrown at him and Absalom does the unthinkable.
Just as we humans need food, water and air to live, we also need God. David acknowledges this in Psalm 63. But first, we continue with King David’s adventure. Let’s dig in…
2 Samuel 16 – Ziba, Shimei, and the Concubines
When David had gone a little beyond the summit of the Mount of Olives, Ziba, the servant of Mephibosheth (Saul’s grandson and heir), was waiting there for him. He had two donkeys loaded with 200 loaves of bread, 100 clusters of raisins, 100 bunches of summer fruit, and a wineskin full of wine.
2 “What are these for?” the king asked Ziba.
Ziba replied, “The donkeys are for the king’s people to ride on, and the bread and summer fruit are for the young men to eat. The wine is for those who become exhausted in the wilderness.”
3 “And where is Mephibosheth, Saul’s grandson?” the king asked him.
“He stayed in Jerusalem,” Ziba replied. “He said, ‘Today I will get back the kingdom of my grandfather Saul.’”
4 “In that case,” the king told Ziba, “I give you everything Mephibosheth owns.”
“I bow before you,” Ziba replied. “May I always be pleasing to you, my lord the king.”
Shimei Curses David
5 As King David came to Bahurim, a man came out of the village cursing them. It was Shimei son of Gera, from the same clan as Saul’s family. 6 He threw stones at the king and the king’s officers and all the mighty warriors who surrounded him. 7 “Get out of here, you murderer, you scoundrel!” he shouted at David. 8 “The Lord is paying you back for all the bloodshed in Saul’s clan. You stole his throne, and now the Lord has given it to your son Absalom. At last you will taste some of your own medicine, for you are a murderer!”
9 “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king?” Abishai son of Zeruiah demanded. “Let me go over and cut off his head!”
10 “No!” the king said. “Who asked your opinion, you sons of Zeruiah! If the Lord has told him to curse me, who are you to stop him?”
11 Then David said to Abishai and to all his servants, “My own son is trying to kill me. Doesn’t this relative of Saul (a Benjamite) have even more reason to do so? Leave him alone and let him curse, for the Lord has told him to do it. 12 And perhaps the Lord will see that I am being wronged and will bless me because of these curses today.” 13 So David and his men continued down the road, and Shimei kept pace with them on a nearby hillside, cursing and throwing stones and dirt at David.
14 The king and all who were with him grew weary along the way, so they rested when they reached the Jordan River.
Ahithophel Advises Absalom
5 Meanwhile, Absalom and all the army of Israel arrived at Jerusalem, accompanied by Ahithophel. 16 When David’s friend Hushai the Arkite (David’s spy) arrived, he went immediately to see Absalom. “Long live the king!” he exclaimed. “Long live the king!”
17 “Is this the way you treat your friend David?” Absalom asked him. “Why aren’t you with him?”
18 “I’m here because I belong to the man who is chosen by the Lord and by all the men of Israel,” Hushai replied. 19 “And anyway, why shouldn’t I serve you? Just as I was your father’s adviser, now I will be your adviser!”
20 Then Absalom turned to Ahithophel and asked him, “What should I do next?”
21 Ahithophel told him, “Go and sleep with your father’s concubines, for he has left them here to look after the palace. Then all Israel will know that you have insulted your father beyond hope of reconciliation, and they will throw their support to you.” 22 So they set up a tent on the palace roof where everyone could see it, and Absalom went in and had sex with his father’s concubines.
23 Absalom followed Ahithophel’s advice, just as David had done. For every word Ahithophel spoke seemed as wise as though it had come directly from the mouth of God.2 Samuel 16 NLT
- David doesn’t know this, but Ziba’s story is made up. David’s jumping to conclusions before hearing the other side of the story. Ziba was kissing up to David and David fell for it.
- Hushai was David’s spy in Absalom’s camp. Seems like Absalom fell for the ruse.
- It was customary in ancient times that the new king would inherit his predecessor’s harem. In 2 Samuel 12:11, God tells David His judgement that is upon him for his adultery: “This is what the Lord says: Because of what you have done, I will cause your own household to rebel against you. I will give your wives to another man before your very eyes, and he will go to bed with them in public view.” (Done and done.)
We must be careful what we call a judgement of God. There’s no way we can know what is and what isn’t. The problem with calling a natural disaster, or a man-made one, a judgement from God is that they usually affect both sinners and Christians alike.
Now, let’s take a look at what David was feeling at this time of trial…..
A Psalm of David when he was in the wilderness of Judah.
O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.
2 So I have looked for You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.
3 Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You.
4 Thus I will bless You while I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.
6 When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches.
7 Because You have been my help,
Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.
8 My soul follows close behind You;
Your right hand upholds me.
9 But those who seek my life, to destroy it,
Shall go into the lower parts of the earth.
10 They shall fall by the sword;
They shall be a portion for jackals.
11 But the king shall rejoice in God;Psalm 63 NKJV
Everyone who swears by Him shall glory;
But the mouth of those who speak lies shall be stopped.
- David was a broken man. Back in Psalm 51 he begs for forgiveness and a “clean heart”.
- King David left everything behind, his palace, harem, and riches to go and find the presence of God. We believers don’t have to go very far to find and feel the presence of God. He is living inside of us in the form of the Holy Spirit. We have to have a clean heart in order for the Holy Spirit to move in.
- David praised God early in the morning and at night in bed. Do you do that? Start and end your day with God. You’ll feel better and you’ll sleep better. We need to purposefully FOLLOW JESUS.
- Without God’s intervention, David knew he had no chance of regaining his kingdom. God will soon intervene in our world by snatching away all the Christian believers in the Rapture. Believe me, you don’t want to be left behind.
- Suffering has a way of producing good character in people. When I was unemployed for 2 years, God gave me this passage as a life verse…
3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.Romans 5:3-5 NLT
I said, “After this is over, I’m going to have great character!” And He did change me for the better!
As I write this, the news from Afghanistan is not good. Click here to check out the latest news as we wait patiently for Jesus to come and get us.
I’m embedding this podcast again so you can hear what Afghan Christians are going through. “Suffering” doesn’t begin to describe it…..
Do You Have God’s Presence in YOUR Heart?
No? Not sure? Well, it’s time to be sure!