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Reference

2 Samuel 15-18

Worship Song Suggestions:

The Kingdom is Yours

We Fall Down

Introduction

What do you do when forced between a rock and a hard place?

What guides our decisions in such times, or what ought to?

When King David was faced with the decision of whether to keep his throne, his influence, and his power as King; or let it all go and walk away...he chose to let it all go. 

Why would someone who had everything be willing to give up without a fight?

Because it was either that or order the killing of his own son Absalom!

On this Jubilee Sunday where we will not be meeting in person, you are encouraged to do some reading on this developing story of power in the life of David and ponder the implications for your own life.

 

Scripture Reading

Act 1 - Taking Power (2 Samuel 15:2-6)

Scene 1: Absalom wins the hearts of Israel
Absalom used to get up early and stand by the road leading to the city gate. When anyone had a case to be tried by King David, Absalom would ask, “Which city are you from?”

After the person had told him which tribe in Israel he was from, Absalom would say, “Your case is good and proper, but the king hasn’t appointed anyone to hear it.” He would add, “I wish someone would make me judge in the land. Then anyone who had a case to be tried could come to me, and I would make sure that he got justice.” When anyone approached him and bowed down, Absalom would reach out, take hold of him, and kiss him. This is what he did for all Israelites who came to the king to have him try their case. So Absalom stole the hearts of the people of Israel.

Scene 2: Absalom plots to usurp the throne.

“Go in peace,” the king told him.

So he went to Hebron. 10 But Absalom sent his loyal supporters to all the tribes of Israel and said, “When you hear the sound of the ram’s horn, say, ‘Absalom has become king in Hebron.’ ”

11 Two hundred men invited from Jerusalem went with Absalom. They went innocently, knowing nothing ⌞about Absalom’s plans⌟. 12 While Absalom was offering sacrifices, he sent for Ahithophel, David’s adviser, to come from his home in Giloh. Meanwhile, the conspiracy grew stronger, and the number of people siding with Absalom kept getting larger.

13 Someone came to tell David, “The hearts of the people of Israel are with Absalom.”

Question for further study: how did this happen? (2 Samuel 13-14)

Act 2 - David Leaves in Misery (2 Samuel 15:14-16)

Scene 1: When faced with the decision David chooses to flee and hopes to spare Absalom's life in the process

14 David told all his men who were with him in Jerusalem, “Let’s flee immediately, or none of us will escape from Absalom. Let’s leave right away, or he’ll catch up to us and bring disaster on us when he massacres the city.”

15 The king’s servants told him, “No matter what happens, we are Your Majesty’s servants.”

16 The king left on foot, and his whole household followed him except ten concubines whom the king left behind to take care of the palace.

Scene 2: Leaving and letting go has its own suffering attached to it.

23 The whole country was crying loudly as all the troops were passing by. The king was crossing the Kidron Valley, and all the people were moving down the road toward the desert. 24 Zadok and all the Levites with him were carrying the ark of God’s promise. They set down the ark of God beside Abiathar until all the troops had withdrawn from the city.

25 The king told Zadok, “Take God’s ark back to the city. If the Lord looks favorably on me, he will allow me to come back and see both it and its dwelling place again. 26 But if he says, ‘I’m not pleased with you,’ let him do to me what he considers right.”

27 “Aren’t you a seer?” the king asked Zadok the priest. “Go back to the city peacefully, and take your son Ahimaaz and Abiathar’s son Jonathan with you. 28 I’ll wait at the river crossings in the desert until I receive a message from you.” 29 So Zadok and Abiathar took the ark of God back to Jerusalem and stayed there.

30 David cried as he went up the Mount of Olives. He covered his head and walked barefoot. And all of the troops with him covered their heads and cried as they went.

Question: Was this all a clever strategy to win the throne, or was it David's true heart to let go and avoid bloodshed?

Act 3 - It gets worse before it gets better (2 Samuel 16:5-13)

When King David came to Bahurim, a man who was a distant cousin of Saul came out cursing. His name was Shimei, son of Gera. He threw stones at David and David’s servants, although all the people and all the warriors were shielding David. Shimei cursed and said, “Get out! Get out, you bloodthirsty man! You worthless person! The Lord is paying you back for all the blood you spilled in the family of Saul, whom you succeeded as king. The Lord is giving the kingship to your son Absalom. Now you’re in trouble because you’re a bloodthirsty man.”

Abishai, Zeruiah’s son, asked the king, “Why should this dead dog curse you, Your Majesty? Let me go over there and tear off his head.”

10 But the king said, “You don’t think like me at all, sons of Zeruiah. Let him curse. If the Lord has told him, ‘Curse David,’ should anyone ask, ‘Why do you do that?’ ” 11 David told Abishai and all his servants, “My own son, my own flesh and blood, is trying to kill me. Why, then, shouldn’t this Benjaminite do this? Leave him alone. Let him curse, since the Lord has told him to do it. 12 Maybe the Lord will see my misery and turn his curse into a blessing for me today.”

13 As David and his men went along the road, Shimei was walking along the hillside parallel to him. Shimei cursed, hurled stones, and threw dirt at David.

Question: What does David's willingness to endure cursing say about his faith and trust in God?

Questions for Reflection/Discussion

1. Describe King David's dilemma in the scripture, what do you think led him to make the decision to leave?

2. What are some things that prevent us from sharing and/or giving away the power that we have?

3. When you think of 'letting go of power' what could that mean for you personally?  What power do you have that could be shared with another or given away completely?