Hope Amid Crisis
2 Samuel 15-17
By James T. Bartsch, WordExplain
Though King-in-Exile David is desperately over-matched in a life-threatening crisis , God keeps hope alive with small victories.
1. Crisis. Absalom sneaks into power.
a. Absalom stole the hearts of the people of Israel: 2 Sam. 15:6 In this manner Absalom dealt with all Israel who came to the king for judgment; so Absalom stole away the hearts of the men of Israel.
b. Absalom orchestrated a revolt. 2 Sam. 15:10. But Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, “As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then you shall say, ‘Absalom is king in Hebron.’”
c. But, David hears about it from a messenger, reacts quickly, and is able to save his life by fleeing Jerusalem immediately. 2 Sam. 15:13-14. 13 Then a messenger came to David, saying, “The hearts of the men of Israel are with Absalom.” 14 David said to all his servants who were with him at Jerusalem, “Arise and let us flee, for otherwise none of us will escape from Absalom. Go in haste, or he will overtake us quickly and bring down calamity on us and strike the city with the edge of the sword.”
d. But, Ittai the Gittite remained loyal to David. 2 Sam. 15:21. But Ittai answered the king and said, “As the LORD lives, and as my lord the king lives, surely wherever my lord the king may be, whether for death or for life, there also your servant will be.”
e. But, Zadok and Abiathar the priests remain loyal to David. 2 Sam. 15:24. Now behold, Zadok also came, and all the Levites with him carrying the ark of the covenant of God. And they set down the ark of God, and Abiathar came up until all the people had finished passing from the city.
f. Don’t focus on those who betray you and create a crisis. Focus on those who are loyal to you.
2. Crisis. Ahithophel betrayed David and becomes Absalom’s Advisor. 2 Sam. 15:12 And Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counselor, from his city Giloh, while he was offering the sacrifices. And the conspiracy was strong, for the people increased continually with Absalom.
a. David prayed for God to overthrow Ahithophel’s Counsel. 2 Sam. 15:30-31. 30 And David went up the ascent of the Mount of Olives, and wept as he went, and his head was covered and he walked barefoot. Then all the people who were with him each covered his head and went up weeping as they went. 31 Now someone told David, saying, “Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom.” And David said, “O LORD, I pray, make the counsel of Ahithophel foolishness.”
b. No sooner had David prayed than Hushai the Archite met David. 2 Sam. 15:32-34. 32 It happened as David was coming to the summit, where God was worshiped, that behold, Hushai the Archite met him with his coat torn and dust on his head. 33 David said to him, “If you pass over with me, then you will be a burden to me. 34 “But if you return to the city, and say to Absalom, ‘I will be your servant, O king; as I have been your father’s servant in time past, so I will now be your servant,’ then you can thwart the counsel of Ahithophel for me.
c. Hushai was able to gain Absalom’s confidence. 2 Sam. 16:16-19. 16 Now it came about when Hushai the Archite, David’s friend, came to Absalom, that Hushai said to Absalom, “Long live the king! Long live the king!” 17 Absalom said to Hushai, “Is this your loyalty to your friend? Why did you not go with your friend?” 18 Then Hushai said to Absalom, “No! For whom the LORD, this people, and all the men of Israel have chosen, his I will be, and with him I will remain. 19 “Besides, whom should I serve? Should I not serve in the presence of his son? As I have served in your father’s presence, so I will be in your presence.”
d. Even when you are in emergency mode, don’t forget to pray! Good things happen when God’s people pray!
3. Crisis. Ahithophel’s advice hit where it hurt.
a. He advised Absalom to make a clear break with his father. 2 Sam. 16:20-23. 20 Then Absalom said to Ahithophel, “Give your advice. What shall we do?” 21 Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Go in to your father’s concubines, whom he has left to keep the house; then all Israel will hear that you have made yourself odious to your father. The hands of all who are with you will also be strengthened.” 22 So they pitched a tent for Absalom on the roof, and Absalom went in to his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel. 23 The advice of Ahithophel, which he gave in those days, was as if one inquired of the word of God; so was all the advice of Ahithophel regarded by both David and Absalom.
b. He advised Absalom to strike (his father) while the iron was hot. 2 Sam. 17:1-4. 1 Furthermore, Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Please let me choose 12,000 men that I may arise and pursue David tonight. 2 “I will come upon him while he is weary and exhausted and terrify him, so that all the people who are with him will flee. Then I will strike down the king alone, 3 and I will bring back all the people to you. The return of everyone depends on the man you seek; then all the people will be at peace.” 4 So the plan pleased Absalom and all the elders of Israel.
c. But God used Hushai to counteract Ahithophel’s advice. 2 Sam. 17:5-14. 5 Then Absalom said, “Now call Hushai the Archite also, and let us hear what he has to say.” 6 When Hushai had come to Absalom, Absalom said to him, “Ahithophel has spoken thus. Shall we carry out his plan? If not, you speak.” 7 So Hushai said to Absalom, “This time the advice that Ahithophel has given is not good.” 8 Moreover, Hushai said, “You know your father and his men, that they are mighty men and they are fierce, like a bear robbed of her cubs in the field. And your father is an expert in warfare, and will not spend the night with the people. 9 “Behold, he has now hidden himself in one of the caves or in another place; and it will be when he falls on them at the first attack, that whoever hears it will say, ‘There has been a slaughter among the people who follow Absalom.’ 10 “And even the one who is valiant, whose heart is like the heart of a lion, will completely lose heart; for all Israel knows that your father is a mighty man and those who are with him are valiant men. 11 “But I counsel that all Israel be surely gathered to you, from Dan even to Beersheba, as the sand that is by the sea in abundance, and that you personally go into battle. 12 “So we shall come to him in one of the places where he can be found, and we will fall on him as the dew falls on the ground; and of him and of all the men who are with him, not even one will be left. 13 “If he withdraws into a city, then all Israel shall bring ropes to that city, and we will drag it into the valley until not even a small stone is found there.” 14 Then Absalom and all the men of Israel said, “The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel.” For the LORD had ordained to thwart the good counsel of Ahithophel, so that the LORD might bring calamity on Absalom.
d. God in His Sovereignty is able to counteract the advantages our enemies have!
4. Crisis. Absalom was going to bring the power of virtually the entire Israeli army against David.
a. Crisis. David needed to know what Absalom’s plan was.
b. But, Hushai was able to warn Zadok and Abiathar, the priests. 2 Sam. 17:15-16. 15 Then Hushai said to Zadok and to Abiathar the priests, “This is what Ahithophel counseled Absalom and the elders of Israel, and this is what I have counseled. 16 “Now therefore, send quickly and tell David, saying, ‘Do not spend the night at the fords of the wilderness, but by all means cross over, or else the king and all the people who are with him will be destroyed.’”
c. Crisis. Jonathan and Ahimaaz attempted to take the message to David, but a lad reported them to Absalom. 2 Sam. 17:17-18a. 17 Now Jonathan and Ahimaaz were staying at En-rogel, and a maidservant would go and tell them, and they would go and tell King David, for they could not be seen entering the city. 18 But a lad did see them and told Absalom;
d. The two couriers hid in a well and a woman covered for them, so they escaped and were able to deliver the message. 2 Sam. 17:18b-21. so the two of them departed quickly and came to the house of a man in Bahurim, who had a well in his courtyard, and they went down into it. 19 And the woman took a covering and spread it over the well’s mouth and scattered grain on it, so that nothing was known. 20 Then Absalom’s servants came to the woman at the house and said, “Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan?” And the woman said to them, “They have crossed the brook of water.” And when they searched and could not find them, they returned to Jerusalem. 21 It came about after they had departed that they came up out of the well and went and told King David; and they said to David, “Arise and cross over the water quickly for thus Ahithophel has counseled against you.”
e. David and his supporters safely crossed the Jordan, but Ahithophel committed suicide! 2 Sam. 17:22-23. 22 Then David and all the people who were with him arose and crossed the Jordan; and by dawn not even one remained who had not crossed the Jordan. 23 Now when Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his donkey and arose and went to his home, to his city, and set his house in order, and strangled himself; thus he died and was buried in the grave of his father.
f. Though under enormous pressure, David was able to field a force with three generals, one of them being Ittai the Gittite. 2 Sam. 17:24-26. 24 Then David came to Mahanaim. And Absalom crossed the Jordan, he and all the men of Israel with him. 25 Absalom set Amasa over the army in place of Joab. Now Amasa was the son of a man whose name was Ithra the Israelite, who went in to Abigail the daughter of Nahash, sister of Zeruiah, Joab’s mother. 26 And Israel and Absalom camped in the land of Gilead.
g. Though under pressure, David’s sympathizers provided David and his forces with food. 2 Sam. 17:27-29. 27 Now when David had come to Mahanaim, Shobi the son of Nahash from Rabbah of the sons of Ammon, Machir the son of Ammiel from Lo-debar, and Barzillai the Gileadite from Rogelim, 28 brought beds, basins, pottery, wheat, barley, flour, parched grain, beans, lentils, parched seeds, 29 honey, curds, sheep, and cheese of the herd, for David and for the people who were with him, to eat; for they said, “The people are hungry and weary and thirsty in the wilderness.”
h. Even though the odds appear against us, God is able to provide for our needs one day at a time!
The main lesson to learn: Even though we go through crisis after crisis, we Christians should never give up hope. God is the God of the impossible!
Luke 1:37. “For nothing will be impossible with God.”
Philippians 4:19. And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.