Wednesday, June 16, 2021

2021.06.16 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Samuel 15:1–12

Read 2 Samuel 15:1–12

Questions from the Scripture text: With what does Absalom provide himself in 2 Samuel 15:1? Like what status of person is he acting? What would he do (2 Samuel 15:2)? Where would he go? Whom would he intercept? What were they looking for? What would he ask them? What would he tell them, regardless of the merits of the case (2 Samuel 15:3)? What would he tell them they could not do/have on that day? Then whom would he moan would be a better judge/king (2 Samuel 15:4)? What would some people come near to do (2 Samuel 15:5)? What would Absalom do instead? To how many did Absalom act this way (2 Samuel 15:6)? How vigorous and vocal would such people likely be? What was Absalom doing by all this? To what age (if the number is 40; or, for how long, if the number is 4) did Absalom do this (2 Samuel 15:7)? What does he now ask the king? How does he ask it (2 Samuel 15:7-8)? Whom is he implicitly complimenting for a good decision? What is he implying about his spiritual life? Whom is he suggesting is in favor of all this? How does the king respond in 2 Samuel 15:9? Where does Absalom go? From there, whom does he send where (2 Samuel 15:10)? What signal had they chosen? What were they to do when they heard it? From where did Absalom invite men in 2 Samuel 15:11? How many? What does this verse make sure to say about them? For whom especially did Absalom send (2 Samuel 15:12)? What job had he held? Where was David? How does verse 12 summarize this entire event?

God’s promised judgment against David, in 2 Samuel 12:10–12, keeps building toward its climax… not with spear and sword but with smile and sneer.

Absalom has added throwing kingly parades (2 Samuel 15:1) to the machinery increasing his celebrity stock (cf. 2 Samuel 14:25–27). 

Next, he stands outside the gate, which functions as the courthouse, and intercepts anyone on their way in to let them know that they have a new friend (2 Samuel 15:2). He adds that their case is of course right (2 Samuel 15:3a, apparently, Absalom never heard a weak case; he’s in favor of all of them!), but as a strange occurrence of providence there’s no one in today who would listen to them (verse 3b, with Absalom apparently turning every case away, there must have been some pretty frustrated people, and some pretty underworked judges).

There’s an easy solution ready-to-hand, however, and (surprise, surprise) that solution is Absalom (2 Samuel 15:4)! After all, he’s not so high on himself to accept groveling (2 Samuel 15:5a), but rather a real man of the people (verse 5b). It’s a pretty cheesy snow job, but turns out highly effective (2 Samuel 15:6).

There’s a manuscript issue, but even if it’s just four years (as likely) in 2 Samuel 15:7, that’s still a pretty patient long-game for Absalom to play. He may be wicked as the devil, but no one can accuse him of being lazy! 

Or stupid. He dresses the whole thing up in integrity (vow keeping) and piety… this was a vow to Yahweh (2 Samuel 15:7), gives credit to Yahweh for His good providence (2 Samuel 15:8a), and promises devotion to Yahweh as a response (verse 8b). Here’s a wicked man, about to do something for which he will pay with his life and soul, but he can talk all godly-and-reformed with the best of them. Sometimes a politician’s biblical-sounding speech isn’t blessing but great judgment. And let us not presume our own biblical-sounding speech is spotless either.

By the time we get to 2 Samuel 15:10-12, the long, slow buildup has now accelerated to imminent impact. Trumpets are ready (2 Samuel 15:10a). Coup supporters have been planted and spread throughout the kingdom (verse 10b), key supporters of the crown have been taken out of the picture (2 Samuel 15:11), and David’s top man is now Absalom’s top man (2 Samuel 15:12).

It’s all about to fall. What will happen? We find ourselves in such days from time to time. As touches his nation and many of the churches in it, the author of this devotional finds himself in such days at the time of writing. 

What will happen? Exactly what our good and merciful God has determined to happen. The shadow of 2 Samuel 12:10–12 over this passage reminds us that it comes from Him. But this is always true! And His purposes in it are always for the building of His church unto His great glory in Christ! Christ is the King that never needs punished, and can never be dethroned!

What slick religious words have you heard or used to mask other intentions? When smooth operators have been wreaking havoc in home, church, or state, Who has been superintending all of it? Who is your King, and how does that stabilize you in tumultuous times?

Suggested songs: ARP72A “God, Give Your Judgments to the King” or TPH281 “Rejoice, the Lord is King”

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