Life is not a lazy river. God is the kind of author that keeps the plot moving forward. He appears to like action thrillers. This is a point we should keep in mind so that we are not left thinking the world has gone out of control. Nothing is random. Your intense moments come from the Lord and he is doing something marvelous in them. Just hold on tight and remember that before you enjoy the bacon, it has to sizzle.
We see this very thing in 2 Samuel 17.
The Text – A Summary
Absalom had successfully taken over Jerusalem. His father David fled with many men. But Absalom had to figure out what to do next. Pursue his father to the death right away? Or take time to assemble more of a force against the rightful king of Israel. Ahitophel seemed to speak the very wisdom of God. People would come far and wide to hear his counsel. He had served David, but turned traitor when Absalom stormed Jerusalem. Ahitophel counseled Absalom, saying, “Let me now choose out twelve thousand men, and I will arise and pursue after David this night” (v. 1). Ahitophel was no mere counselor. He was ready to do the dirty work of executing King David.
Absalom thought this counsel good enough. But he wanted to double check with Hushai. Husahai was a secret agent who remained faithful to David, but stayed in Jerusalem as Absalom took it over. Husahai counseled Absalom against Ahitophel, saying, “they father and his men . . . they be mighty men . . . they father is a man of war” (v. 8). Absalom took Hushai’s counsel to wait and gather a stronger force against his father.
Hushai then sent word through a woman to two David-friendly men, Jonathan and Ahimaaz, who lurked just outside of Jerusalem so they could run to inform David of Absalom’s plan. But, a boy spotted them and fled to the city to tell Absalom. Absalom sent men after these spies. Jonathan and Ahimaaz made it to a house in Bahurim. A woman who received them had them shimmy down a well, after which she spread ground corn over the top so Absalom’s men wouldn’t think to look inside. Like faithful Rahab before her, this woman deceived Absalom’s servants, saying that Jonathan and Ahimaaz had passed on.
After Absalom’s men searched and failed, they returned back to Jerusalem, and the two messengers reported the news to David. David and his men then passed over the Jordan. Absalom and his men eventually passed over the Jordan River as well, soon to come into conflict with David and his men. This passage ends with three men bringing beds, vessels, and food to David and his men in the wilderness.
God Doesn’t Write Boring Stories
So we have a rebellious son in pursuit of his father in the wilderness. They are east of Jordan which reminds us that we are east of Eden. Cain went that way back when he murdered his brother Abel (Genesis 4:16). And Absalom has David on the run in the same direction. The wise Ahitophel was hanging from a rope by the neck. He killed himself after Absalom went with Hushai’s counsel. That brave woman at Bahurim risked her own neck. And she likely had a sister or a cousin who wouldn’t speak with her since she put the whole family in jeopardy by siding with the fleeing king. The two David-friendly men were sons of priests. And it was priests themselves that Hushai used to smuggle the news out of Jerusalem to David.
Would you see the kingdom of God flourish on earth? Then find some priests who know how to spread news amid tyranny and find some courageous women confounding Pharaohs with their grains.
All of this is very exciting stuff and a reminder that we need to buckle up. God has not promised us an Amish romance novel where the biggest cliff hanger is, “Will Aaron and Stephen get their buggy out of the ditch by sundown?” God unfolds his plan such that you are always taken up to the brink. You will have to choose when the stakes are high. You will get stabbed in the back by friends. You will have to hide the good guys from the bad ones. You will have to be brave.
None of your twists and turns are arbitrary. This is all a working out of the great war between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent. The serpent’s seed did not like David sitting on the throne. And that serpent’s seed still does not like the Son of David sitting upon the throne. But sit there he does. And we are a kingdom of priests who by faith rule on this earth calling mankind to be reconciled to God. There is no greater story to be in. So trust God and hold on tight.