SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- Absalom is power-hungry, and uses deceptive means to gain power. He recruits 50 men to be his entourage, and starts trying to persuade people to clamor for him to become a judge.
- When he fails to gain traction in Jerusalem, Absalom decides to go to the city of Hebron to try to gain power there. He lies to his father (David the king), telling him he is going to Hebron to follow through on a promise he made with God.
- Absalom then sends secret messengers throughout Hebron to convince people he is king.
- David gets wind of this and realizes Absalom will bring an army against him in the city of Jeruslem. So David gathers a group of his followers, family, and soldiers to skip town.
- Verse 24 mentions the "Ark of the Covenant." The Ark was a trunk-like container where the Spirit of God dwelt. (This may sound crazy, but keep in mind this was thousands of years before Jesus showed up; the Ark was the only physical manifestation of God that the people of David's time could connect with.)
- The chapter concludes with David instructing a servant named Hushai to become a spy for him. Hushai is told to tell Absalom he has abandoned David and become a servant of Absalom, when in reality Hushai will relay everything he learns back to David.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- In the previous chapter we saw David forgive Absalom for other sins he had committed in the past. Here Absalom rebels... again.
- Forgiving somebody doesn't mean they will never hurt us again, or that our relationship with them will be perfect.
- The good news is that when we forgive someone, it's not to modify their behavior; it is to free our soul. So even if they continue to treat us poorly, we are free from the anger and bitterness we once harbored toward them.
- Keep in mind everything that happens in today's reading is the result of David's sin with Bathsheba that was committed decades earlier. Sin has long-reaching repercussions, and it is important to deal with sin as early as possible to prevent it from becoming an even bigger problem.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- Are you angered by the tendency of one person (or a few people) to do things against you even after you've tried to make peace? Commit to forgive them, not for their sake but for your own good and to grow closer to God. Depending on the circumstances, this process might involve breaking off communication, starting a new relationship, or confessing your feelings of anger to a trusted friend. Ask God to show you what you need to do to make the situation as Godly as you possibly can.