In 2 Samuel 15:6 we saw that Absalom, “…stole the hearts of the people of Israel.”
It’s like when an affair happens in marriage…a heart can’t be stolen if it’s been well cared for. Affairs happen when there is already a distance between a couple and a third party takes advantage of that distance.
In the same way, there must have been a distance between David and his people. David was MIA (missing in action) as a king. He wasn’t meeting the needs of the people so it created an opening – a vacuum – for Absalom to fill. He did what every politician does so well: he promised the moon. And the people fell for it.
Like an affair, you can tell that nothing good is going to come from this rebellion because it’s based on a false premise. Absalom wasn’t concerned about the people. He just wanted to hurt his father. And maybe the people wanted to hurt their king.
So David did the unthinkable: he walked away.
Grasp the magnitude of this moment. This is KING DAVID. This is the man that people sang about in the streets. But now he is so defeated. So ashamed. So full of self-doubt, that he walks away.
David is a broken man. He walks into the hills weeping. The people that go with him are weeping too. It’s a dark day.
To add insult to injury, Shimei, a relative of Saul, verbally attacks David. David’s supporters want to kill him. But listen to what David says:
David then said to Abishai and all his officials, “My son, my own flesh and blood, is trying to kill me. How much more, then, this Benjamite! Leave him alone; let him curse, for the LORD has told him to. It may be that the LORD will look upon my misery and restore to me his covenant blessing instead of his curse today.” 2 Samuel 16:11,12
Only broken people say this. David is absent of pride here. He is poor in spirit. He’s saying, “Shimei has every reason to curse me. I believe God is using him in my life right now. I deserve every word of it. Who am I to put him down? I just hope God will remember his covenant love for me.”
David’s mention of “covenant” is significant. I spoke about this when we read about Mephibosheth. David KNEW that God’s love for him was based on his covenant to Abraham. It wasn’t based on how good a king he was. That means God’s love was UNCONDITIONAL. So, even though he totally made a mess of his life and kingdom, and he deserved the verbal assault from Shimei, he held out hope that God would come through for him.
I spoke about what it means to be broken two months ago in our “Dangerous Prayers” series (part two). To be broken doesn’t mean that you have suffered loss. It means that your will is broken. You no longer insist on being in control but yield your life to God. You give up the reigns of your life and submit yourself to God’s control.
Sadly, we often don’t reach this place of submission until we’ve gone through a season of loss, or as what I’ve referred to as an “exile” experience.
My question for you today is this: how submissive are you to God’s will? Do you insist on being in control and demanding your way? Or is your heart soft toward God and willing to go in whatever direction he leads you?
Prayer: Father, thank you for David’s example. He lived for years puffed up with pride because of all of his success in life. But you were faithful to reveal his weaknesses with each failure in his story. I pray that I don’t have to learn to submit to you the hard way. Show me my pride and where I am resisting you. I much rather humble myself than be humbled by you. Amen.