Wednesday, July 07, 2021

2021.07.07 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Samuel 16:15–17:14

Read 2 Samuel 16:15–17:14

Questions from the Scripture text: To whom does the Scripture now turn its attention in 2 Samuel 16:15? Who is with him? To where does he come? Who is with him? Who else now comes to him in 2 Samuel 16:16? What is Hushai called? What does he say? What two questions does Absalom ask about this in 2 Samuel 16:17? How does Hushai answer in 2 Samuel 16:18? Whom does Hushai mean? Whom does Hushai plan to serve, but in whose presence (2 Samuel 16:19)? Whom does Absalom immediately address in 2 Samuel 16:20? For what does he ask? What does Ahithophel say to do (2 Samuel 16:21)? How will this make a complete break and force people to choose sides? What does Absalom do in fulfillment of 2 Samuel 12:11–12 (2 Samuel 16:22)? What kind of track record did Ahithophel’s advice have (2 Samuel 16:23)? What advice does Ahithophel now volunteer in 2 Samuel 17:1—how many men does he need to do what? What effect does he say this will have (2 Samuel 17:2)? Whom would he need to strike down? Whom would he bring back (2 Samuel 17:3)? What result does he say this will have on all the people? What did Absalom think of the advice (2 Samuel 17:4? Who else liked it? Whom does Absalom decide to ask as well (2 Samuel 17:5)? What advantage does Absalom give him (2 Samuel 17:6)? What surprising/ unpopular opinion does he give (2 Samuel 17:7)? What picture does he paint of David’s and his men’s state of mind (2 Samuel 17:8)? Why might they think Hushai has the inside info on this? Where does he say they are sure to be (2 Samuel 17:9)? What does he say they will be able to do at first? And what would people say? And what effect would this have (2 Samuel 17:10)? Whom does Hushai say to gather (2 Samuel 17:11)? Whom does he say to go in person (i.e., and get the glory)? What does he say the battle be like (2 Samuel 17:12)? How many would they strike down? But what might David do (2 Samuel 17:13)? And what would such a large force with Absalom do in that case? What do Absalom and all the men of Israel say to this (2 Samuel 17:14)? Why did they come to this conclusion?

The scene shifts back from David to Absalom, just in time for his arrival in Jerusalem and the note that “Ahithophel was with him” (2 Samuel 16:15). In the middle of the passage, we read the comment, “now the advice of Ahithophel, which he gave in those days, was as if one had inquired at the oracle of God. So was all the advice of Ahithophel both with David and with Absalom” (2 Samuel 16:23). This was the guy to make chief of staff when putting together the royal cabinet. He never missed his mark.

But it is at the end of the passage that we learn what is happening all this time: “For Yahweh had purposed to defeat the good advice of Ahithophel, to the intent that Yahweh might bring disaster on Absalom” (2 Samuel 17:14).

So, it’s interesting to note how wicked (but effective) Ahithophel’s advice (and Absalom’s willing compliance) is in 2 Samuel 16:21–22. And how much closer to the truth Ahithophel’s “weary David” of 2 Samuel 17:2 is than Hushai’s “enraged David” of 2 Samuel 17:8. And how odd it is that after the universally applauded counsel of never-miss Ahithophel (2 Samuel 17:4), Ahithophel unilaterally calls for a second opinion (2 Samuel 17:5), and even gives him the advantage of knowing the competition’s counsel (2 Samuel 17:6).

All of that is interesting, but it’s not the main point. The main point is that David had prayed (cf. 2 Samuel 15:31), and Yahweh had already been answering (2 Samuel 15:32).

2 Samuel 17:14 is more of an answer than David wanted. We’re going to find that it’s very difficult for David to deal with Absalom’s disaster. It’s Hushai’s advice that gets him there in person (end of 2 Samuel 17:11). Between that and the warning at the end of 2 Samuel 17:9 that Absalom could take a PR hit at the end of verse 9, the vain usurper was sure to join team-Hushai. At that point, all that remains is a hair-snagging mule-ride (2 Samuel 18:9) and three spears through the heart (2 Samuel 18:14). But David’s going to have such a hard time of it that it’ll threaten the entire kingdom (2 Samuel 19:7).

But it’s Yahweh’s answer. And it’s the answer through which Christ would ultimately come into the world as the Son of David. Sin wreaks havoc along the way (cf. 2 Samuel 12:11–12), but sovereign grace has planned that way through the manger, to the cross, up from the grave, beyond the heavens and onto the throne of glory. 

How glad we ought to be that our redeeming God rules and overrules in every providence! Whether it’s inexplicable royal requests for second opinions, or second opinions that come back with a stage four diagnosis, our God knows what He is doing. And what He is doing is glorifying Christ as the everlasting King and Redeemer of all who call upon His Name. 

We pray, and He hears and answers—according to His perfect wisdom and goodness.

For what seemingly impossible thing have you prayed? What will God’s answer accomplish?

Suggested songs: ARP46 “God Is Our Refuge” or TPH256 “God Moves in a Mysterious Way”


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