One of David’s darkest days anticipates Jesus darkest day. But God always had it in his plan to deliver on his promises.
2 Samuel 15:13-37
13 A messenger came and told David, ‘The hearts of the people of Israel are with Absalom.’
14 Then David said to all his officials who were with him in Jerusalem, ‘Come! We must flee, or none of us will escape from Absalom. We must leave immediately, or he will move quickly to overtake us and bring ruin on us and put the city to the sword.’
15 The king’s officials answered him, ‘Your servants are ready to do whatever our lord the king chooses.’
16 The king set out, with his entire household following him; but he left ten concubines to take care of the palace. 17 So the king set out, with all the people following him, and they halted at the edge of the city. 18 All his men marched past him, along with all the Kerethites and Pelethites; and all the six hundred Gittites who had accompanied him from Gath marched before the king.
19 The king said to Ittai the Gittite, ‘Why should you come along with us? Go back and stay with King Absalom. You are a foreigner, an exile from your homeland. 20 You came only yesterday. And today shall I make you wander about with us, when I do not know where I am going? Go back, and take your people with you. May the Lord show you kindness and faithfulness.’
21 But Ittai replied to the king, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, and as my lord the king lives, wherever my lord the king may be, whether it means life or death, there will your servant be.’
22 David said to Ittai, ‘Go ahead, march on.’ So Ittai the Gittite marched on with all his men and the families that were with him.
23 The whole countryside wept aloud as all the people passed by. The king also crossed the Kidron Valley, and all the people moved on towards the wilderness.
24 Zadok was there, too, and all the Levites who were with him were carrying the ark of the covenant of God. They set down the ark of God, and Abiathar offered sacrifices until all the people had finished leaving the city.
25 Then the king said to Zadok, ‘Take the ark of God back into the city. If I find favour in the Lord’s eyes, he will bring me back and let me see it and his dwelling-place again. 26 But if he says, “I am not pleased with you,” then I am ready; let him do to me whatever seems good to him.’
27 The king also said to Zadok the priest, ‘Do you understand? Go back to the city with my blessing. Take your son Ahimaaz with you, and also Abiathar’s son Jonathan. You and Abiathar return with your two sons. 28 I will wait at the fords in the wilderness until word comes from you to inform me.’ 29 So Zadok and Abiathar took the ark of God back to Jerusalem and stayed there.
30 But David continued up the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went; his head was covered and he was barefoot. All the people with him covered their heads too and were weeping as they went up. 31 Now David had been told, ‘Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom.’ So David prayed, ‘Lord, turn Ahithophel’s counsel into foolishness.’
32 When David arrived at the summit, where people used to worship God, Hushai the Arkite was there to meet him, his robe torn and dust on his head. 33 David said to him, ‘If you go with me, you will be a burden to me. 34 But if you return to the city and say to Absalom, “Your Majesty, I will be your servant; I was your father’s servant in the past, but now I will be your servant,” then you can help me by frustrating Ahithophel’s advice. 35 Won’t the priests Zadok and Abiathar be there with you? Tell them anything you hear in the king’s palace. 36 Their two sons, Ahimaaz son of Zadok and Jonathan son of Abiathar, are there with them. Send them to me with anything you hear.’
37 So Hushai, David’s confidant, arrived at Jerusalem as Absalom was entering the city.
This would have been one of the darkest days for David. He was fearing for his life as he left his home and kingdom. What had happened to God’s promise to establish a house and kingdom for David that would last forever? As “the king set out, with his entire household following him,” it seems that God’s promise is up in the air. Had David’s sin in Chapter 11 destroyed what God had promised?
This whole term at church we’ve been looking at the story of David and how his story anticipates the coming of Jesus. I didn’t pick these things up when I first read the passage, but I read a commentary by John Woodhouse who pointed out how similar this account of David’s journey out of Jerusalem is to that of Jesus’ journey about 1000 years later. David leaves Jerusalem, crosses the Kidron Valley and he makes his way up the mount of Olives. Jesus made this same journey just hours before he is arrested in Gethsemane.
David had been betrayed and Jesus was about to be. But as they journeyed, they both would have felt the weight of what was happening. David would have been unsure if God would keep his promise. Jesus would have known if that very promise was to be fulfilled, he would very soon have to give his own life.
Another similarity is the posture of their hearts. David, when telling the people to take the ark back to Jerusalem, said
“If I find favour in the Lord’s eyes, he will bring me back and let me see it and his dwelling-place again. But if he says, “I am not pleased with you,” then I am ready; let him do to me whatever seems good to him.”
He did not know what was going to happen. But he knew that God was in control. He submitted himself to God’s will even if it meant bad was going to happen to himself. Jesus, knowing he had to die prayed,
“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”
Now David did return to Jerusalem, God didn’t abandon him in the wilderness. He showed David that he would deliver on his promise. But for us, after Jesus, we know how absolutely he has delivered. Part of the promise God gave to David says:
“And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning”
We know that God went above and beyond by extending the promise to include us who are not Israelites.
I am always surprised by how the Bible fits together despite it being a narrative that stretches over thousands of years. I was amazed to realise yet another way that God shows us his faithfulness and delivers on his promises both to David and us through Jesus. But when I think about it my amazement does seem slightly foolish. Of course it all fits together! God planned it all! It’s a sobering and humbling realisation, yet no less joyful. In fact, it increases my joy knowing that over all these thousands of years and billions of people, he still knows my name and chose to include me in his promise.
Head: Have a think about all the ways that Jesus is anticipated throughout the Old Testament.
Heart: Think about how God has included you in his promise!
Hands: Think about all the people you know who don’t know Jesus. Maybe some of them will be included in God’s promise as well. Maybe you will be the one to tell them about Jesus. Will you let God use you to bring about his plan?
Lord I thank you for your faithfulness to your people. Thank you for including me in your promise to David. I am unsure as to why you have chosen to save me, but your plan is perfect, so I praise you for working in my life. I thank you for the people you have placed in my life to point me to your Son, Jesus. Please use my life to bring others into your kingdom that will endure forever. Amen
A song to listen to: What love my god
Creek Road Campus