A glimpse of the Messiah in David’s plight

From our daily Bible reading: 2 Samuel 13-18
April 9, 2019

Thanks for joining us,. As we continue reading through the Bible. We’re currently reading in 2 Samuel 13-18 as we catch up from the weekend.

The story of Absalom is presented in this section, and we see in these six chapters a drama that takes on an even deeper meaning as we continue studying the Bible and recognizing the threads that connect the Old testament stories to the events of the New Testament. In this case, we read a story that began some time before when David sinned in his adultery with Bathsheba and his murder of Uriah. Nathan warned him at that time that the sword would not depart from David’s house for his deeds, even though he was forgiven by God.

As a result, the story of Absalom begins when David’s oldest son Amnon rapes his half-sister Tamar, the sister of Absalom. David refuses to punish his son, and after a year of planning Absalom arranges the murder of his brother. He spends the next two years estranged from his father for avenging a crime that David would not avenge, and so you can fully understand the resentment that must have fueled Absalom’s decision to rebel and attempt to overthrow his father.

Absalom revolts against his father David

So when Absalom puts his scheme in motion, David refuses to fight, instead, packing up his household and fleeing Jerusalem. He sends the ark of the covenant back to Jerusalem along with the priests, refusing to bring it with him, as he clearly sees this as his punishment, and he understands that his actions have forced him to leave the city of God, and it’s only through God’s grace that he will be allowed to return.

He tells Zadok the priest in chapter 15:

 “Carry the ark of God back into the city. If I find favor in the eyes of the Lord, he will bring me back and let me see both it and his dwelling place. But if he says, ‘I have no pleasure in you,’ behold, here I am, let him do to me what seems good to him.” – 2 Samuel 15:24-27

And then in verse 30, we read a verse that would be easy to dismiss as simply narrative.

David’s flight foreshadows the suffering of Christ

But David went up the ascent of the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went, barefoot and with his head covered. And all the people who were with him covered their heads, and they went up, weeping as they went. 2 Samuel 15:30

Here is a striking image of the man “after God’s own heart” being forced out of the city by God’s people, all of whom had loved him up until just now, who had sung his praises, but at the word of a false accuser and a usurper, Israel turned its back on its king and abandoned him to apparent death.

The parallel is striking when we think of the sorrow that Jesus underwent on that same mountain on the night when Jerusalem once again rejected its king. While David suffered for his own sins, Jesus took on himself the sins of all the world, suffering the humiliation of rejection, and ultimately actual death, so that we could be free.

But just as David ultimately returned to the city in triumph, Jesus would return as well, rising from the dead and appearing to his disciples on the first day of the week, bringing hope of God’s eternal kingdom being established shortly thereafter.

Next reading: 2 Samuel 19-21

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