Satan's_Attack

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					       SATAN’S ATTACK UPON GOD’S WORK




Chip Barbas
P.O. Box 945
Flomaton, Al. 36441
      Satan does not randomly attack God‟s work. He has a strategy and God‟s

leader had better understand that strategy if he wants to survive the attack and

keep God‟s work intact. This study is an attempt to expose Satan‟s strategy as

well as giving some counters to his attack. Satan will attack different areas with

different works and people but his strategy is to always the same. Satan will first

attempt to bind the strong man of that work.

      Matthew 12:29 “or else how can one enter into a strong man‟s house, and spoil
      his goods, except he first bind the strong man? And then he will spoil his house.

      If Satan fails in his attempt to bind the strong man then God‟s work goes

on and for the most part the people involved with the work will never know of

Satan‟s attack upon the strong man, but if Satan‟s attack succeeds then the work

is in for a real rough time. Satan has only one means of binding the strong man.

Satan has to draw him into sin. In II Samuel 11:1-5 we discover how Satan goes

about drawing the strong man into sin.

      As I read this section the picture of an angler comes to mind.                      He‟s

standing on a bank looking at a trophy fish. “What lure do I use? How do I get

him to let his guard down so he will bite?” That is exactly how Satan approaches

trapping the strong man of the house. First Satan has to get him to want to take

the bait. He does this by getting him to forsake the vision God gave him when

called to the work. Why the vision?

              Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision the people parish…

      Once the strong man forsakes his vision, his guard is down and he is

susceptible to any lure Satan wants to use. Forsaking his vision causes him to

miss opportunities of service. He no longer sees opportunities to advance God‟s
work. He now sees them as obstacles that stand in his way, obstacles that he

has to overcome, obstacles that keep him from reaching his goals and as for the

flock God committed to his care they become a bunch of ungrateful people

sapping his energy.

       The first sign that the strong man has forsaken his vision is that he no

longer performs the duties of his office II Samuel 11:1.

       [1] And it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when kings go
       forth to battle, that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and
       they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah. But David tarried
       still at Jerusalem.

       We are not told why David stopped performing the duties of his office only

that he did. For a possible explanation, I offer the following theory. In II Samuel

7:1-5 we are told that David wanted to build a temple for the ark of God. When

he shared his idea with Nathan the prophet, Nathan told him to go ahead with

the building. That night God told Nathan to go back and tell David he will not be

allowed to build the temple.           The next morning Nathan goes to David and

delivers God‟s message. In II Samuel 7 we are not told why God did not allow

David to build the temple but if we look at I Chronicles 28:3 we discover God‟s

reason. David was a man of war and had shed blood. If I had been David I

would have said, “I was a man of war at God‟s calling and the only blood I shed

was in His name”, an argument that would have changed nothing. It is God‟s

sovereign right to chose who He wants to build His house.

       I believe David took the rejection personally becoming angry with God. “If

I can‟t build the temple because I am a man of war then I‟ll stop being a man of
war”. Therefore David sent Joab to do the fighting. This opened the door to

bitterness in David‟s life, which then opened the door to Satan.

       Hebrews 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any
       root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;

       David forsook his vision because he lost sight of his place in God‟s work.

God‟s place (or His will) for David was on the battlefield but David tarried at

Jerusalem.      Once the strong man forsakes God‟s vision Satan will find

something to take its place and what he finds will be born of the flesh instead of

the Spirit. Once drawn away by his own desires he is capable of anything.

       James 1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust,
       and enticed.

       The next sign that the strong man has forsaken his vision is that he lets

down his personal relationship with God II Samuel 11:2a

       [2a] And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and
       walked upon the roof of the king's house:

       Just as we were not told why David did not go to war we are not told why

David spent all day in bed. Just remember this is the same David that said in

Psalm 5:3 My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I

direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up. If you have ever been depressed or

been at odds with God about something you know why David spent all day in

bed. If you haven‟t then no explanation will suffice.

       The next sign that the strong man has forsaken his vision is that he

replaces God‟s calling with other things 11:2b-3a

       [2a] and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very
       beautiful to look upon. [3a] And David sent and enquired after the woman.
      As we were not told why David didn‟t go to battle we are not told why

David spent the day in bed, only that he did. But one thing is certain David knew

the customs in Israel as well as anyone.                 He knew that women bathed

themselves in the privacy of their courtyard. Even if he had forgotten, once he

saw Bathsheba, he should have left at once. The moment David decided to

stare (the point in time when he stopped looking and started lusting) he replaced

God‟s calling to be king with his own will.            His sin is no longer a matter of

bitterness it is now his will against Gods.               What trapped David was not

Bathsheba but his rebellion. Can‟t you just hear him? Of course we have never

used these arguments.

    It‟s such a small thing.

    Looking couldn‟t possibly cause any harm.

    My actions only affect me.

    No one will ever find out.

   The next sign that the strong man has forsaken his vision is that he does not

   accept Godly advice II Samuel 11:3b

      [3b] And one said, Is not this Bath-sheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah
      the Hittite?

      Up until now David‟s sin is been between him and God and needs only to

be dealt with between him and God. Now he is about to involve others. But not

before some unnamed servant confronts him with God‟s Word. “And one said, Is

not this Bath-sheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” This

servant is reminding the strong man of the house that she is married. David has

already broken the tenth commandment. Exodus 20:17: …thou shalt not covet
thy neighbour's wife… Now he is preparing to break the seventh - Exodus 20:14:

Thou shalt not commit adultery. God‟s Word has lost its place of prominence in

David‟s life. Thus saith the LORD has been replaced with thus wanteth David.

      Before we continue it should to be noted that David‟s actions took place

over several days. David could have taken God‟s way of escape at any time.

      I Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to
      man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are
      able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able
      to bear it.

      God‟s way of escape for David was the same as it is for all believers. Do

what God called you to do in the first place. In David‟s case that was leaving

Jerusalem and going to the battle. In failing to go to the battle David is doomed.

      The next sign that the strong man has forsaken his vision is sin - II

Samuel 11:4

      [4] And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he
      lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness: and she returned unto
      her house.

      We are not told how Bathsheba reacted to David‟s proposal of an

adulterous relationship but we note in II Samuel 12 when God indicts David the

indictment is adultery not rape. One thing is certain: they never thought their sin

would involve anyone but themselves and certainly no one would ever find out.

We have all heard it said, “Sin will take you further than you want to go; keep you

longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.” For

David the bill is about to come due.

      The next sign that the strong man has forsaken his vision is he‟s caught -

II Samuel 11:5.
                And the woman conceived, and sent and told David, and said, I
                am with child.

        Back to the fishing analogy, Satan has gotten David to take the bait and

now he sets the hook. David, she is with child. Got ya! The strong man must

never lose sight of the fact that Satan‟s attempts to get him to sin is never just

about him. It‟s always about the work and the people. He cannot become self-

centered. He took the work he has to forsake his personal emotions for the

work.

        I used to have a little book of chapel saying by Dr. Bob Jones. On of them

was “The test of a man‟s character is what it takes to stop him”.                         David‟s

character is about to be tested. For now he faces the final proof the he has

forsaken his vision. Does he confess his sin or does he attempt to cover it up?

II Samuel 11:7-25

        David is about to learn three important principles about sin.

        First, the believer can‟t work his way out of sin.

        Proverbs 28:13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth
        and forsaketh them shall have mercy

        James 4:6 …God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

        Second, unconfessed sin breaks fellowship with God.

        Psalm 66:18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:

        Third, sin will be judged. If not by the believer then by God.

        Galatians 6:7-8 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man
        soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh
        reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life
        everlasting.

        David could have avoided the pending disaster if he would have only

confessed his sin and thrown himself upon God‟s mercy. Instead he believes

another of Satan‟s lies. “You can handle sin yourself. You don‟t need God”.
      David‟s first attempt at covering his sin is to confuse the issue, creating

doubt. “It‟s not my baby. It could be Uriah‟s” (II Samuel 11:6-8).

      [6] And David sent to Joab, saying, Send me Uriah the Hittite. And Joab sent
      Uriah to David. [7] And when Uriah was come unto him, David demanded of him
      how Joab did, and how the people did, and how the war prospered. [8] And David
      said to Uriah, Go down to thy house, and wash thy feet. And Uriah departed out of
      the king's house, and there followed him a mess of meat from the king.

      I know Proverbs 14:12 (There is a way which seemeth right unto a man,

but the end thereof are the ways of death) is referring to man‟s view of salvation

but it is so applicable when it comes to any believer who attempts to cover his

sin. Every believer thinks he will be the exception. He will be the one to get

away with it. But one never gets away with sin for the very act of sin brings

leanness to ones soul (Psalm 106:15).

      David comes up with the perfect plain. If you can‟t deny the facts then

confuse the issue. We are not told if David discussed his plan with Bathsheba

but I personally believe he did. He calls for Uriah under the pretense of bringing

a report from the battle. Funny, but if David would have been doing what he was

supposed to he would not need Uriah for the report or the cover up. David‟s

response was “Thanks for the report, now go home and I see you later”. David

thinks it's over; Uriah will go home and sleep with his wife and no one will know.

Oh, some may suspect but “I am the strong man of the house no one would dare

openly accuse me”. And David was right no one would dare openly accuse him.

But there is a fly in David‟s ointment. What do you suppose God thinks of a

leader of His work that would use his God given office and authority in an

attempt to get away with sin. Oh, sorry no man of God would do that.
      The rest of this story between David and Uriah is funny; that is up to the

point where David orders Uriah‟s death. David is about to learn a lesson that all

of God‟s leaders need to learn. Not even a strong man can stand against a

noble man II Samuel 11:9-13

      [9] But Uriah slept at the door of the king's house with all the servants of his lord,
      and went not down to his house. [10] And when they had told David, saying,
      Uriah went not down unto his house, David said unto Uriah, Camest thou not from
      thy journey? why then didst thou not go down unto thine house? [11] And Uriah
      said unto David, The ark, and Israel, and Judah, abide in tents; and my lord Joab,
      and the servants of my lord, are encamped in the open fields; shall I then go into
      mine house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? as thou livest, and as thy
      soul liveth, I will not do this thing. [12] And David said to Uriah, Tarry here to day
      also, and to morrow I will let thee depart. So Uriah abode in Jerusalem that day,
      and the morrow. [13] And when David had called him, he did eat and drink before
      him; and he made him drunk: and at even he went out to lie on his bed with the
      servants of his lord, but went not down to his house.

      These five verses are packed with drama. It is a great human chess

game. David is dying to get Uriah to go home and sleep with his wife and Uriah

is just as determined not to go but at the same time he cannot disobey an order

form the king but then David can‟t give such an order. And there lies the fly in

the ointment. David had not counted on dealing with a man of character. We

are not told if Uriah knew of David‟s adulterous affair with his wife but Uriah‟s

actions suggest he knew.

      One more observation before we look at the sparing between David and

Uriah. Isn‟t it just like God to put David and Uriah together? Uriah is the very

man David owes an apology to and God has given His strong man every

opportunity to make things right before He steps in and sets things right.

      When David asks Uriah in vs. 10 why he didn‟t go home Uriah‟s answer

must have been like a knife through David‟s heart. “How can I enjoy my wife when

God and Israel are locked in a battle”? David had no problem enjoying the luxuries
of Jerusalem including Uriah‟s wife while Israel was locked in battle. If Uriah‟s

words were an indictment of David‟s action then Uriah‟s action had to be salt in

the wound.

       When reason fails use alcohol.                Get him drunk.          Even a man with

principles will give them up under the influence of alcohol when there is a lovely

willing woman waiting. Even in the presence of a man of integrity David does not

repent. This only points out how far he has fallen. Such a fall can happen to any

of God‟s strong men. But then I have met some who say “Not me, it‟ll never

happen to me”. I have actually been told that.

       What does an out of control leader do with someone he can‟t control?

Someone who will not let him get away with sin, someone who demands an

accounting of his actions, while at the same time submitting to his authority?

There is only one thing you can do with a man like that. You have to get rid of

him. No matter what it takes, he has to go, after all what is the life of a soldier

compared to the reputation of the king.

       David has gone from serving God to covering his sin in just a few short

months but at what cost? David‟s cover up has gone from a simple foolproof

plan to a murderous plot ever widening the circle of people involved in his sin II

Samuel 11:14-17.

       [14] And it came to pass in the morning, that David wrote a letter to Joab, and
       sent it by the hand of Uriah. [15] And he wrote in the letter, saying, Set ye Uriah in
       the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten,
       and die.

       If someone would have told David that he would have one of his mighty

men of valor killed just to cover his sin he would have called them a liar. But that
is what David is about to do. Covering his sin means more to him than God‟s

work, but if David would have been doing what God called him to then he would

not have a sin to cover.

      The message to Joab was David‟s demise. Until David sent the message

to Joab he had some control, repentance was still an option. But once Joab

received the message Joab was in control of events. God gave David at least

three days with Uriah, three days in which David could have repented asking

Uriah‟s forgiveness. Instead David chose to involve others and escalated events

to a level that demanded God‟s intervention. There is nothing in Scripture that

suggest Uriah would not have forgiven David and Bathsheba. As a matter of fact

everything known about Uriah strongly suggests that he would have forgiven

them both. It was not a murder that was needed it was repentance.

      Just how far will someone go to cover his sin? Further than even they

would believe. I believe it‟s pride that makes a person believe that they can

handle sin without repenting. However, the plain and simple fact is any sin we

do not make right on earth we will be held accountable for at the judgment. So it

is to our advantage not to escalate a sin.

      Matthew 5:25 Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with
      him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver
      thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.

      David not only escalated the sin, he involved others II Samuel 11:16-17.

      [16] And it came to pass, when Joab observed the city, that he assigned Uriah
      unto a place where he knew that valiant men were. [17] And the men of the city
      went out, and fought with Joab: and there fell some of the people of the servants
      of David; and Uriah the Hittite died also.

      Every time I read these verses I wonder if Uriah knew he was carrying his

death notice back to Joab? There had to be a point in time when he knew that
David not only had committed adultery with his wife but that he is going to die

because of it. What a man of character Uriah was!

       It would be tragic to see Uriah‟s death only in the context of David‟s

attempt to cover his sin. Uriah‟s death was much more. Uriah died in a battle

alright, but not in a battle for a city. He died in a battle for the control of David‟s

heart. As one of David‟s mighty men Uriah would have gladly given his life for

David and that is what he did. Uriah was a hero. Uriah served Jehovah both in

his personal as well as his professional life and if serving Jehovah meant his

death, then so be it. Uriah was a servant obedient even unto death. Uriah knew

that David was on the throne, but God was in control. Uriah trusted God to set

things right.

       In the war between God and Satan some of us will be casualties. Like me

you probably did not sign up to be a casualty. I wish I could say as Job said

“Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before

him” Job 13:15. There is something in me that cries out for God‟s wrath to fall but

not on me. I don‟t have it in me to do what Uriah did. I wish it was otherwise but

I want to strike back. I want revenge. I don‟t want to just get even; I want to get

ahead.

       I have given counsel to others that the will of God never takes you any

place that the grace of God can‟t sustain you. I know others who are able to

trust God to set things right when they didn‟t understand but I find it very difficult.

In heaven I hope to have some time to talk to Uriah.
      The deed is done. Uriah is dead. David‟s secret is safe. No one will ever

find out about his sin II Samuel 11:18-21.

      [18] Then Joab sent and told David all the things concerning the war; [19] And
      charged the messenger, saying, When thou hast made an end of telling the
      matters of the war unto the king, [20] And if so be that the king's wrath arise, and
      he say unto thee, Wherefore approached ye so nigh unto the city when ye did
      fight? knew ye not that they would shoot from the wall? [21] Who smote
      Abimelech the son of Jerubbesheth? did not a woman cast a piece of a millstone
      upon him from the wall, that he died in Thebez? why went ye nigh the wall? then
      say thou, Thy servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.

      David‟s sin has cost Israel two brave soldiers. I can‟t help but wonder how

many other soldiers questioned Joab‟s orders. These men weren‟t dumb. They

had been in battles before. They knew that Joab‟s pulling back would cost lives.

They saw men die before but there was a reason. This time what was the

reason? Joab just left them there. These men knew something was up. This

will become ever more important in II Samuel 12:26-31 when David has the

opportunity to make things right with the army and does not take it.

      David receives the news of Uriah‟s death not with sorrow but relief II

Samuel 11:22-25.

      [22] So the messenger went, and came and shewed David all that Joab had sent
      him for. [23] And the messenger said unto David, Surely the men prevailed
      against us, and came out unto us into the field, and we were upon them even
      unto the entering of the gate. [24] And the shooters shot from off the wall upon
      thy servants; and some of the king's servants be dead, and thy servant Uriah the
      Hittite is dead also. [25] Then David said unto the messenger, Thus shalt thou
      say unto Joab, Let not this thing displease thee, for the sword devoureth one as
      well as another: make thy battle more strong against the city, and overthrow it:
      and encourage thou him.

      David is not concerned over the death of two of his soldiers only that his

sin is covered. How can God‟s strong man sink so low as to consider God‟s

people expendable for his own purpose? These were men committed to his care

by God Himself and David used them without concern for their life. All that was

important was that he was safe. Aren‟t you glad we live in a society where
pastors don‟t use people like that? A society where preachers feed God‟s sheep

and don‟t fleece them. Where, if a TV preacher asked for your money you know

you can trust him to use it for the glory of God. Aren‟t you glad?

      David can get on with his life. His sin is behind him never to be brought

up by anyone. All he has to do is live with himself and the cover up.

       II Samuel 11:26-27.

      [26] And when the wife of Uriah heard her husband was dead, she mourned for
      her husband. [27] And when the mourning was past, David sent and fetched her
      to his house, and she became his wife, and bare him a son, But the thing that
      David had done displeased the LORD.

      Verses 26 and 27 cause a lot of questions. How did Bathsheba feel when

she heard of her husband‟s death. Was she sorry for her sin and the part she

played in the death of her husband? I am sure it bothered her more that David.

How did she feel on her wedding day? I am sure it was not as festive as her

wedding to Uriah. But then that is only speculation. The fact is Uriah is dead.

David and Bathsheba are married. Their son is born. All is well with the world

until you get to the last half of verse 27 …But the thing that David had done

displeased the LORD.          Remember when David gave the message to Joab,

David took matters out of his hands and placed them in God.                           And God‟s

involvement is what II Samuel 12 is all about.

              To understand God‟s reaction to David‟s sin we have to look back

to II Samuel 7 where David wanted to build God a house. Even though God said

no to David He did make David an extraordinary promise (vs. 16) II Samuel 7:12-

17.

      [12] And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set
      up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish
      his kingdom. [13] He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the
      throne of his kingdom for ever. [14] I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If
      he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of
      the children of men: [15] But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it
      from Saul, whom I put away before thee. [16] And thine house and thy kingdom
      shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.
      [17] According to all these words, and according to all this vision, so did Nathan
      speak unto David.

      For the first time since Sinai God has established His forgiveness for

deliberate sin. God told David “And thine house and thy kingdom shall be

established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever”. God

put no conditions on his promise to David. So, in not removing David but

restoring him, God is merely keeping His promise.




                      B. God’s counter – Restoring the fallen


      When God‟s child sins he begins a battle of wills between him and God.

This battle escalates until the child either repents or is taken home, which brings

us to the question answered in II Samuel 12. How does God bring a child to

repentance?

      By providing access to Himself.

      By allowing time for the child to repent.

      By bringing the sin to light.

      By showing mercy toward the child.

      Before we look at how God brings a child to repentance we need to first

look at David‟s dilemma.         For the first time in David‟s life he has a barrier
between him and God.              Those nights he spent with God while watching his

father‟s sheep are no longer a sweet memory but an indictment as to how far he

has fallen. Those times he spent in God‟s Word learning how to live for God now

only indict him for being out of control. Forbidden fruit has left David:

       Convicted by God.

       Judged by the law.

       Condemned by his conscience.

       Accused by Satan.

       Shamed before God‟s people.

       Mocked by God‟s enemies.

       David may be separated from God but he knows there is a sacrifice that

must be made for sin. Something has to be offered to God to put off His wrath

until payment can be made. As for the sin offering in Leviticus chapter four there

is one small problem.              These sacrifices are for sins committed through

ignorance. David‟s sin was “in your face, God”, not done through ignorance.

              Leviticus 4:2 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a soul shall sin through
              ignorance against any of the commandments of the LORD concerning things
              which ought not to be done, and shall do against any of them:

              Leviticus 4:13 And if the whole congregation of Israel sin through ignorance,
              and the thing be hid from the eyes of the assembly, and they have done
              somewhat against any of the commandments of the LORD concerning things
              which should not be done, and are guilty;

              Leviticus 4:22 When a ruler hath sinned, and done somewhat through
              ignorance against any of the commandments of the LORD his God concerning
              things which should not be done, and is guilty;

              Leviticus 4:27 And if any one of the common people sin through ignorance,
              while he doeth somewhat against any of the commandments of the LORD
              concerning things which ought not to be done, and be guilty;


       So what can David offer that will satisfy God‟s law? Simple – HIS LIFE!

David‟s two sins adultery and murder both carry a sentence of death.
              Exodus 20:13 Thou shalt not kill.
              Exodus 20:14 Thou shalt not commit adultery

              Exodus 21:12 He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death.
              Leviticus 20:10 And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife,
              even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the
              adulteress shall surely be put to death.


       The law demands David‟s death.                         David is truly on the horns of a

dilemma. He wants to remove the barrier between him and God but he does not

want to die. To go to the priest and confess his sin is to forfeit his life. To

continue to live each day apart from God is to die a little more each day.

       So how does God bring a child to repentance? First of all God has to

provide an access to Himself. That access is always repentance. In David‟s

cases his repentance had to start with a burnt offering.
              Hebrews 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and
              without shedding of blood is no remission.


       The burnt offering was an offering of total dedication to God. It was also

an offering of atonement.
              Leviticus 1:1-14 [1] And the LORD called unto Moses, and spake unto him out of
              the tabernacle of the congregation, saying, [2] Speak unto the children of Israel,
              and say unto them, If any man of you bring an offering unto the LORD, ye shall
              bring your offering of the cattle, even of the herd, and of the flock. [3] If his
              offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he
              shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the
              congregation before the LORD. [4] And he shall put his hand upon the head of
              the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him.
              [5] And he shall kill the bullock before the LORD: and the priests, Aaron's sons,
              shall bring the blood, and sprinkle the blood round about upon the altar that is by
              the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.


       Don‟t lose sight of the fact that a burnt offering only provided access to

God it doesn‟t set aside the demand of the law. David was still under a sentence

of death. He could die in a right relation with God but he still had to die.

       The second thing God does to bring a child to repentance is to allow the

child time to come to God on his own. Before we begin chapter twelve we need

to establish the time laps between chapters eleven and twelve. In II Samuel

12:14 Nathan tells David that the child he and Bathsheba had is going to die.
              [14] Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the
              enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall
              surely die.


       This means that David‟s sin with Bathsheba had to have taken place at

least nine months prior to Nathan‟s visit. Since Nathan referred to their son as a

child and not an infant their sin could have been as much as two years prior to

Nathan‟s visit. The point is for a period of time David kept iniquity in his heart

while attempting to carry on God‟ work. (Psalm 66:18).

       While God patiently waits for a child to repent the conflict within the child

is tremendous. The Holy Spirit is calling him. His conscience is convicting him.

His pride is driving him and Satan is accusing him. And if he happens to be a

leader in God‟s work his problem is compounded. Not only must he deal with the

sin but he is attempting to make spiritual decisions while living with unconfessed

sin in his life. During all this, God patiently waits for his child to repent.

        If the child does not repent then God takes the third step to bring the

child to repentance. God brings the sin to light II Samuel 12:1-12.

       God‟s purpose in sending Nathan to David was to bring David to

repentance, not to condemn him.                God has all eternity to punish but only a

lifetime to bring to repentance.

       For a period of what could have been two years David refused to deal with

his sin. Now God sends Nathan to David with a story about abuse of power.

The problem is that for years David has been hardening his heart to God‟s

calling. This has allowed Satan the right to blind his eyes to keep him from

seeing his own sin. So first God has to reveal to David his sin II Samuel 12:1-7a.
              II Samuel 12:1-6 [1] And the LORD sent Nathan unto David. And he came unto
              him, and said unto him, There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the
                other poor. [2] The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds: [3] But the
                poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and
                nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of
                his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him
                as a daughter. [4] And there came a traveller unto the rich man, and he spared
                to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man that
                was come unto him; but took the poor man's lamb, and dressed it for the man
                that was come to him. [5] And David's anger was greatly kindled against the
                man; and he said to Nathan, As the LORD liveth, the man that hath done this
                thing shall surely die: [6] And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did
                this thing, and because he had no pity.


       David‟s reaction was not to the rich man but to his own sin. The guilt that

David has repressed has so built up that when it does break through it causes

David to overreact. David demands the man‟s life, which is more than the law

demands. The penalty for taking a sheep was to repay it four fold (Ex. 12:1).

When someone demands a greater punishment than God take note they are

probably guilty of that very sin.

       Unfortunately David did not get the message so God gets very direct (II

Samuel 12:7a).
       [7a] And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man.

       If you have ever been caught with your hand in the cookie jar then you

know exactly how David felt at this moment. If not, no words can describe that

feeling for you. Suffice it to say if the ground would open up and swallow David

whole it would be welcome.

       Second, God reveals the cause of the sin II Samuel 7b-9.
                [7b] Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I
                delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; [8] And I gave thee thy master's house,
                and thy master's wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of
                Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee
                such and such things. [9] Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of
                the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword,
                and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the
                children of Ammon


       God starts by listing all the things He did for David. Then He indicts David

with three charges:
1- You despised my commandment.

2- You killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword of the children of Ammon.

3- You took Uriah‟s wife to be your wife.

       Wilson in his Old Testament Word Studies defines the word translated

despised as “To do that which implies contempt, to slight, neglect, to make little

account of”. This is what started David‟s downfall. His sin with Bathsheba was

the culmination of his sin, not the start. Something caused him to have contempt

for God‟s commandment. I believe the thing that David despised was being told

that he could not build the temple. This is something that David wanted to do

very badly. When God told him he could not build the temple David felt that God

had rejected him causing him to be hurt, depressed and bitter. This caused

David to improperly respond to God. David lost sight of who was king over

Israel, thereby causing him to become ungrateful for all God had given him.

David focused on the one door God closed instead of all the doors God opened

to him. This makes him ripe for Satan‟s attack.

       Third God reveals the consequences of the sin II Samuel 12:10-12.
              [10] Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou
              hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife. [11]
              Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own
              house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy
              neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun. [12] For thou
              didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun


       If one sees the consequences of sin as only punishment then he has

missed God real purpose. The purpose for punishment is to change behavior

not to just inflict pain.       So the question is what behavior does God want to

change in David? That is easy. God‟s purpose in all punishment is to drive the

child back to Himself and to show the child the terrible cost of sin. David stopped
spending time with God on his on so God gave him a reason to spend time with

Him for the rest of his life. The sword shall never depart from thine house.

        I find it interesting that David despised God‟s commandment so God

raised up children in David‟s house that despised David‟s commandment. In

doing so God revealed to the “Apple of His eye” how David‟s sin hurt Him. As

David cried for Absalom God cried for David. Also we see that David took

another man‟s wife and as a result God took David‟s wives. In doing so God

revealed to David the pain his sin caused Uriah. Trust me, David thought about

the night Uriah spent outside his door. Also we see that the pain David inflicted

in secret God inflicted on David openly.

        In the remainder of this chapter there are two truths laid side by side. The

problem is we can‟t follow both truths at the same time without getting confused.

These verses are a great study of God‟s mercy toward a backslidden child and

how to recognize a truly repentant child.

        The outlines for both are listed. The purpose of this study will be to focus

on God‟s mercy toward a backslidden child. I will leave it to the reader to do his

or her on study on evidence of true repentance.

God‟s mercy toward a backslidden child.        Evidence of true repentance

1. David forgiven 12:13-14                     1. A desire to spend time alone with God 12:16
2. David restored 12:15-31                     2. Remorse over the damage caused by their
  a. With God 12:13-16                         sin. 12:16
   b. With the elders 12:17-23                 3. Their relation with God becomes more
  c. With Bathsheba 12:24-25                   important than anything else. 12:17
   d. Not With Israel 12:26-31 (David Fails)   4. Others will recognize their sincerity 12:18
                                               5. An acceptance of God‟s will 12:19-20
                                               6. Resting in God‟s mercy 12:21-22
                                               7. Trusting God for the future 12:23
                                               8. A new peace with God. 12:24
                                               9. God will put His approval upon their actions.
                                               12:25
      God‟s first act of mercy is that He offers the backslidden child an

opportunity to repent. Repentance is a changing of the mind. It is caused by

genuine sorrow over your sin and the destruction it caused and not because

someone got caught. I personally don‟t believe repentance is genuine unless the

one who sinned is willing to go to the ones hurt by their sin and asked

forgiveness. I has been my experience that when someone starts playing the

“but I can‟t because” game they are not really interested in repenting only

avoiding the consequences.

      Genuine repentance is the first step toward restoration. Until God‟s child

repents the battle of wills between him and God continues to escalate. Now that

David has been confronted with the full weight of his sin he confesses and

repents (II Samuel 12:13a).
             [13a] And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD.


      Once God‟s child repents, God forgives and His anger is immediately

cooled.   Repentance is all that God requires to be restored to Him but

unfortunately we live with people so things must be made right. God will set

events into motion that can be used by the backslidden child to restore fellowship

with those he hurt. This has no bearing on the personal salvation it has only to

do with restoring fellowship between believers. This process involves swallowing

one's pride, which is never an easy thing to do. David learned that Satan lied

when he told him “No one will ever find out”. Now David is about to learn that

Satan also lied when he said, “Your actions only affect you”. II Samuel 12:13b-

14
             [13b] And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou
             shalt not die. [14] Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion
             to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee
             shall surely die.


      We want to make God‟s forgiveness mean something God never

intended. We want it to mean a removal of consequences. David was forgiven

but there is consequences for his action II Samuel 12:16-16.
             [15] And Nathan departed unto his house. And the LORD struck the child that
             Uriah's wife bare unto David, and it was very sick. [16] David therefore besought
             God for the child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth.


      I find three interesting facts in verses 15-16. First, nothing happened until

Nathan departed.        God does not send his messenger to baby sit mature

believers. He expects more from them. Once God‟s message is delivered the

backslidden child needs time to act.                   If God‟s man is too available he can

become a substitute for God. The one who sinned will continually be going to

him for advice. “How am I doing? Is God satisfied with my actions thus far?”

The backslidden child will spend his time with God‟s man instead of with God.

This may be an ego trip for God‟s man but is disaster for the repentant child. He

needs to spend his time with God not God‟s man. If he spends his time with God

he will succeed.

      The second interesting thing I see is that the child was struck sick. Why

the child? He did nothing wrong? Why not David? I suggest two possible

answers. First of all God knows just where to apply pressure were it will do the

most good. If David had gotten sick he as well as everyone else would have said

“He deserves it”. David would have simply waited until God had punished him

enough and then gotten up saying, “I‟m glad that that‟s over”. But remember

punishment is designed to change behavior not to simply inflict pain. By striking
the child David was forced to his knees. David, have you learned your lesson or

will you rebel against God‟s will this time as you did over the temple? No, David

does learn this time, instead of walking away from God he goes to God

       The second possibility as to why God struck the child is hinted at in the

phrase “And the LORD struck the child that Uriah's wife bare unto David, and it

was very sick”. God doesn‟t refer to the child as either Bathsheba‟s or David‟s

but as “the child that Uriah's wife bare unto David,” David and Bathsheba were

married at the time of the child‟s birth but not his conception. Because of David‟s

position in Israel the matter could never be closed as long as the child lived. The

child would have borne the stigma of his illegitimacy all his life. I do not pretend

to understand all I read but it is clear that God himself saw this child conceived in

sin different than he did Solomon conceived by the same parents. I also do not

mean to imply that a child conceived out of wedlock is unloved by nor can‟t be

used by God. God does love them and can and will use them. It is David‟s

position and sin that is the problem not the child.

       The third thing I see interesting in this passage is that “David fasted, and

went in, and lay all night upon the earth”. You can bet that David dealt with his

own sin before he asked God to spare the child. Keep the events in mind. David

sinned. Nathan announced the sin. David repented. Repentance is but the first

step restoration is the goal. If God does not allow something into our lives we

will not spend time with him. This is especially true for the child who has just

been forgiven of a sin. Satan will use the fresh memories of the sin to cause the

child to think he is not worthy. And this will lead to even more and worse sins.
God has provided David with a reason to spend time with him. Don‟t look at the

child‟s sickness strictly as punishment God is attempting to change behavior.

God wants our time and if we don‟t give it to him willingly he then gives us a

reason to spend time with him.

      Now that David has spent time alone with God he is now ready to face

those God called him to lead II Samuel 12:17-23
             [17] And the elders of his house arose, and went to him, to raise him up from the
             earth: but he would not, neither did he eat bread with them. [18] And it came to
             pass on the seventh day, that the child died. And the servants of David feared to
             tell him that the child was dead: for they said, Behold, while the child was yet
             alive, we spake unto him, and he would not hearken unto our voice: how will he
             then vex himself, if we tell him that the child is dead? [19] But when David saw
             that his servants whispered, David perceived that the child was dead: therefore
             David said unto his servants, Is the child dead? And they said, He is dead. [20]
             Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and
             changed his apparel, and came into the house of the LORD, and worshipped:
             then he came to his own house; and when he required, they set bread before
             him, and he did eat. [21] Then said his servants unto him, What thing is this that
             thou hast done? thou didst fast and weep for the child, while it was alive; but
             when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread. [22] And he said, While
             the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether GOD
             will be gracious to me, that the child may live? [23] But now he is dead,
             wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he
             shall not return to me.


      By fasting for the child verse 17 David demonstrated six things about his

attitude toward God before the elders in the court.

      1. That his heart was broken over his sin.

      2. That his repentance was real.

      3. That he wanted that closeness he once experienced with God.

      4. That he had experienced God‟s mercy and forgiveness.

      5. That God and his word are more important than life.

      6. That God is the supreme ruler of the universe.

      Remember these men knew David. They knew him when he walked with

God and they saw him fall. Now by God‟s grace they are seeing him restored to

fellowship with God. They know his repentance is real. They know that his walk
with God has been restored. God has allowed David to once again walk before

them in fellowship with God and them.

         In his response to the child‟s death David demonstrated two things about

his knowledge of God‟s character.

         1. That God is in total control.

         2. That the king of the universe will do right.

         David the General fought many battles and he knows when a war is over

and this war is over. The child is dead. David also knows that when a war is

over it is time to get on with life. He knows that grief passes. He also knows that

at the end of life he will have to face a Holy God with the things he does not set

right.

         Now God gives David the opportunity to rebuild his relationship with

Bathsheba II Samuel 12:24-25.
                [24] And David comforted Bath-sheba his wife, and went in unto her, and lay with
                her: and she bare a son, and he called his name Solomon: and the LORD loved
                him. [25] And he sent by the hand of Nathan the prophet; and he called his
                name Jedidiah, because of the LORD.


         Don‟t just read these verses. Stop for a moment and see the grace of

God at work in two broken lives.                    They happened to be named David and

Bathsheba but they could be Bob and Sue or Jim and Pat. The names don‟t

matter. It‟s what God does in these two verses that is great. They cover about a

year in time and demonstrate the way God not only forgives but rebuilds lives.

         Up till now the focus has been upon David and his reaction to the death of

his son, but may I remind you that the child had another parent. Please stop for

a moment and consider her grief. She like David knew the child was conceived in

sin. She like David knew the child was going to die but who comforted her?
While the elders were concerned with David who helped Bathsheba? I submit to

you that God did. And for proof I submit the following.

       First, Bathsheba is no longer referred to as the wife of Uriah but as

David‟s wife. God has done away with her past identity and given her a new

identity that is totally accepted by him.

       Second, I submit the name of their child Solomon whose name means

peaceful. Now who but a couple who has found peace with God and each other

could name their child peaceful?

       Third, I submit God‟s action “and the LORD loved him.” What a comfort

that had to be to Bathsheba. For nine months she carries this child. She had to

wonder has God truly forgiven me? Will God also take this child? Will David

and I ever be happy? The answer is a resounding yes, and to prove it they

name their child peaceful.

       Fourth, I submit that God not only loved this child but sent Nathan to them

again. What a scene that must have been. Nathan shows up and says “I have a

message from God.” Remember the last time he came with a message from

God? “You are the man and by the way your child is going to die.” Not this time.

“And he sent by the hand of Nathan the prophet; and he called his name

Jedidiah, because of the LORD”. Jedidiah - beloved of God. God not only says

this child is a sign of the peace between us but I love him. With a start like that

no wonder Solomon turned out the way he did.

       I can imagine the stories Solomon heard from his mother. How he was

such a special gift from God. How at a time when she wished her life would end
God gave her a reason to live and that reason was you, Solomon. Yes Solomon

was an answer to Bathsheba‟s prayers and he did not disappoint her. I have a

friend Annette, who says that when Solomon wrote the warnings he did about

adulterous relationships he wrote what he learned from his mother and father

and that Proverbs thirty one was written about his mother, not his wives.

      God gives David the opportunity to rebuild his character with the army and

the nation as a whole (II Samuel 12:26-31).
             [26] And Joab fought against Rabbah of the children of Ammon, and took the
             royal city. [27] And Joab sent messengers to David, and said, I have fought
             against Rabbah, and have taken the city of waters. [28] Now therefore gather
             the rest of the people together, and encamp against the city, and take it: lest I
             take the city, and it be called after my name. [29] And David gathered all the
             people together, and went to Rabbah, and fought against it, and took it. [30] And
             he took their king's crown from off his head, the weight whereof was a talent of
             gold with the precious stones: and it was set on David's head. And he brought
             forth the spoil of the city in great abundance. [31] And he brought forth the
             people that were therein, and put them under saws, and under harrows of iron,
             and under axes of iron, and made them pass through the brickkiln: and thus did
             he unto all the cities of the children of Ammon. So David and all the people
             returned unto Jerusalem.


      Joab has won the war and is ready to take the royal city. Joab‟s victory as

well as his character gives David the perfect opportunity to confess his sin and to

make things right with the nation. Unfortunately David does not take advantage

of the opportunity. Taking the king's crown was David‟s right but everyone knew

he did nothing to deserve that honor. When God‟s man takes credit for another‟s

work he lessens himself before God‟s people. They know the truth. What David

should have done was confess his sin and allowed Joab to take the king‟s crown.

This would have humbled him allowing God to exalt him.                                    The principle of

confession of sin is that you confess and make right as far as the sin is known.
             Matthew 5:23-26
             [23] Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy
             brother hath ought against thee; [24] Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go
             thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. [25]
             Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at
             any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to
             the officer, and thou be cast into prison. [26] Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt
                by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.

                Matthew 7:1-5
                [1] Judge not, that ye be not judged. [2] For with what judgment ye judge, ye
                shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you
                again. [3] And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but
                considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? [4] Or how wilt thou say to
                thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in
                thine own eye? [5] Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye;
                and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.


And you can bet if God‟s enemies knew of David‟s sin then Israel knew. We are

not told why David did not confess his sin before the people. It could have been

he just did not see the need. It could have been that he had dealt with it before

God and felt that was all that was needed. It could have been that he saw the

need but simply did not want to humble himself.                                What ever his reason I

personally believe that if he would have dealt with the sin before Israel Absalom

would have not found it as easy to raise an army against David.

      If there is one fact that comes through loud and clear in chapter twelve it

is that God demands complete repentance for sin. God expects repentance

before all who know of our sin.

      1. With God himself II Samuel 12:1-6. Which David did.

      2. With close friends II Samuel 12:7-14. Which David did.

      3. With the lost we hope to win II Samuel 12:7-14. Which David did.

      4. With the one with whom we sinned II Samuel 12:24-25. Which he did.

      5. With the congregation as a whole II Samuel 12:26-31. Which David

      didn‟t.

      Satan not only managed to crack David‟s armor but he has found a place

where David did not repair it. I don‟t think that it is a coincidence that the area

David did not make right is the same area Satan makes his second attack.
      Chapters eleven and twelve provides a sharp contrast between how God

and man react to sin. In chapter 11:5-27 we discover that man‟s reaction is to

cover up the sin thereby avoiding the consequences.         In chapter twelve we

discover that God‟s reaction is to expose the sin no matter the pain or

consequences. God‟s purpose in exposing the sin is to provide the one who

committed the sin an opportunity to repent.       Unfortunately repentance is not

something we do easily. No one ever stops sinning until the cost of the sin is

greater than they are willing to pay. So God has to make the price of the sin and

its cover up greater than the cost of repentance. To accomplish this God brings

pressure into the unrepentant child‟s life. This pressure will be designed to hurt

the child but it is never designed to harm him.

      The best way I can illustrate this is with something that happened to my

father-in-law. When he lived with us he had an aneurysm. That is a weakening

of an artery.   If the aneurysms had burst dad would have died. A surgeon

operated on dad and repaired the aneurysm. The surgeon hurt dad but he did

not harm dad. God may bring things into the life of His children that hurts them

but God will never harm them. The problem is trying to convince the one being

hurt that he is not being harmed.
                                      Satan’s second attack

                            A. Raising up evil within the work

         When Satan attacks individuals he tempts them with sin but when he

attacks God‟s work he uses conflict. And since conflict is born of rebellion God‟s

man needs to know how to Scripturally deal with rebellion. Absalom‟s rebellion

against David is the perfect passage for us to learn how to deal with rebellion

within God‟s work. Abaslom wanted to replace David as the king of Israel. To do

this Absalom needed an issue that would call David‟s leadership into question.

David‟s failure to deal with Amnon‟s rape of Tamar provided Absalom with the

perfect issue.     It also provided David‟s enemies with a rallying point against

David.

         This section begins with Amnon‟s rape of his sister Tamar. From Amnon‟s

sin we discover the seven steps in the sin process.

         Step one - All sin starts with a strong uncontrolled emotion II Samuel 13:1-

2.
               [1] And it came to pass after this that Absalom the son of David had a fair sister,
               whose name was Tamar; and Amnon the son of David loved her. [2] And Amnon
               was so vexed, that he fell sick for his sister Tamar; for she was a virgin; and
               Amnon thought it hard for him to do any thing to her.


         Continually desiring something that God has not provided will always lead

to sin. That is why God warns very strongly against uncontrolled desires in

Exodus 20:17 Thou shalt not covet… It was not Amnon‟s desire but his inability

to control that desire that lead to his sin. We have to learn to submit our desires

to God's control. Sometimes the desire may be obviously wrong as with Amnon.

Other times desires can be good but the means of reaching them may be wrong.

Whenever worldly means are used to accomplish spiritual goals or Scripture is
taken out of context to get people to respond the way we want them to, we are

not submitting our desires to God‟s control. And desires not submitted to God‟s

control always cause the believer to sacrifice the eternal upon the altar of the

temporal.

      Amnon‟s desire for Tamar was controlling his life. He couldn‟t imagine a

life without Tamar. This is seen in the phrase "vexed" in verse 2. It means he

became distressed over her. He couldn‟t think of anything but her. This made

her the perfect temptation. Amnon‟s emotions were holding him captive. If we

can‟t control our emotions then our emotions will control us.

      Paul warns of this in II Corinthians 10:1-6. Here he exhorts us to bring

every thought into captivity. Paul knew the danger of uncontrolled emotions. He

knew that uncontrolled emotions always culminate in sin. If Christians could only

learn to bring every thought into captivity then we would be content in whatever

circumstance God places us (Philippians 4:11). After all being unsatisfied with

what God gave him was Satan's sin. The same sin he passed on to Eve. He

made her believe that God was withholding something from her. The fruit would

make her as God. Each of us needs to continually ask ourselves, "What is the

driving force in my life"? Let me put it another way: on what do you spend your

money?

      Step two - Granting of an audience to Satan's advisor II Samuel 13:3-5.
             3) But Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jonadab the son of Shimeah
             David's brother; and Jonadab was a very subtle man. 4) And he said unto him,
             Why are thou, being the king's son, lean from day to day? Wilt thou not tell me?
             And Amnon said unto him I love Tamar, my brother Absalom's sister. 5) And
             Jonadab said unto him, lay thee down on thy bed, and make thyself sick: and
             when thy father cometh to see thee, say unto him I pray thee, let my sister
             Tamar come, and give me meat, and dress the meat in my sight, that I may see
             it, and eat it at her hand.
                The fact that David did not know his help was needed is a sad

commentary on his relationship with God as well as his children. When God's

man is not on hand to give Godly advice Satan will always have someone on

hand to give ungodly advice. This is why pastors have to be aware of where

their people are getting their counsel. If they are not getting God‟s word from

him they are getting Satan‟s word from someone. Eve had the serpent; Amnon

had Jonadab; each believer needs to ask himself, "What is the spiritual condition

of the person I go to for spiritual advice?” Make no mistake about it Satan

always has someone on hand willing to present his side. It would be helpful if

they pass out business cards. Then they could be identified.

                                  WARNING
                              “SATAN’S ADVISOR”
                             THE BEARER OF THIS CARD
                             GIVES INFORMATION THAT’S
                                HAZARDOUS TO YOUR
                                 ETERNAL DESTINY



       The truth is that you or I can be Satan‟s advisor if we do not allow God‟s

Word to direct our lives.

       Psalms 1:1 tells us the only way to be happy is to reject Satan's counsel.

In order to successfully recognize Satan‟s counsel we have to know the truth.

For it is the truth that sets one free. All you have to do is mention a topic and

everyone knows what should be done about it. The only way to sort through all

the opinions to "thus saith the LORD" is to know God‟s word.

       There are some interesting facts we learn about Satan's advisor from the

three verses:

       First, we observe that Jonadab was the king's nephew.        He had the
appearance of authority but was not in the direct line of authority.                             It‟s also

obvious he wanted more authority.                 This is evident in the fact that he had

befriended Amnon the heir apparent. He also was a wise (subtle) man. He

could make his argument seem logical. He could make sin seem right.

       Second, we discover that Jonadab‟s advice was fleshly. The advice he

gave Amnon was an indication of the priorities in his own life.                               He couldn‟t

understand how the king's son could become “Leaner from day to day”. He

knew if he was the king's son he would have everything he wanted. After all the

kings son had wealth and power. And if he needed one little girl to make him

happy then she should be his as well. She would have no say in the matter after

all he is Amnon the next king of Israel. Christians need to avoid advice that is

rooted in fleshly desires.

       Third, we see the scheming character of Satan‟s advisor. His motto is me

first, second and last. This is again Satan‟s lie that things makes one happy and

that your actions only affect you. When there is a lowering of standards privately

it always leads to a lowering of standards publicly. Our actions always affect

others. Doing what is convenient instead of what is right is always easier but far

more costly. God‟s way is always submission to His authority and wait for Him to

provide a thing. Satan‟s way is to get it now. When a Christian receives counsel

that requires deceit, know it is from Satan.

       Step three - Believing the lie (II Samuel 13:6).
              6) So Ammon lay down, and made himself sick: and when the king was come to
              see him, Amnon said unto the king, I pray thee, let Tamar my sister come, and
              make a couple of cakes in my sight, that I may eat of her hand.


       Discovering Satan's lie behind his counsel is equivalent to discovering
how a master magician performs an illusion. They both use the same method of

misdirection. A magician causes his audience to focus on one thing away from

his real objective. This is exactly how Satan works. Satan gets the Christian so

involved with the desire that he fails to see the lie. Satan‟s lie is that we can live

independent of God. Satan is a master at using partial truths to get us to believe

his lie. It was a partial truth he used on Eve. What he told her was true just not

the whole truth. She did learn good from evil. The fruit also awoke her sin

nature. Satan‟s partial truth is a complete lie.

       A Christian's only defense against Satan's lie is honesty. Satan hates

honesty. He is a liar and the father of all lies (John 8:44). Christians have to be

honest with God, others and themselves. Sometimes Christians may force their

actions to conform to what is accepted but this is not honesty.                                 This is just

another form of the lie. They may even believe if people don‟t know, neither will

God. But God is not fooled. He will bring pressure into a believer's life to bring

about repentance. If the believer rejects God's attempt to correction his actions

he only increases Satan's influence in his life. This is what happened to Cain

(Genesis 4:8-15). God warned Cain that sin was about to seduce him. It was

Cain's unwillingness to respond to God's correction that led to his sin of murder.

A Christian has to guard against anything in his life that is not completely honest.

       Step four - Betraying a trust (II Samuel 13:7-9a).
              7) Then David sent home to Tamar, saying, Go now to thy brother Amnon's house,
              and dress him meat. 8) So Tamar went to her brother Amnon's house; and he
              was laid down. And she took flour, and kneaded it, and made cakes in his sight,
              and did bake cakes. 9a) And she took a pan, and poured them out before him,
              but he refused to eat.

       Amnon betrayed the trust placed in him by both David and Tamar. Once
trust is lost it is very difficult to regain. Even after a friendship has been restored

there is uncertainty for a long period of time.

       The betrayal of trust causes pain. Pain for both the one betrayed as well

as the one doing the betraying. This pain becomes an interracial part of the sin

process.   It gives the one betrayed the false idea that he has the right to

revenge. Revenge will eventually destroy the one who takes it. Because of our

sin nature we don‟t want to get even, we want to get ahead. We always want to

hurt more than we were hurt. That is why God reserves the right of revenge

exclusively as His. God will direct His action to just the right place with just the

right amount of force (Rom.12:19).

       The problem we have with leaving something in God‟s hands is that if we

don‟t believe God will avenge us. Let me assure you this is not the case. It only

takes a quick comparison of Matthew 5:43-48 with Romans 12:17-21 to assure

anyone that God does repay evil with evil. However, if someone decides to take

revenge God will allow him to do so. Then God will deal with his sin of not

submitting to God‟s will.            To allow God to collect ones debts requires

surrendering of personal rights.

       Just a note, if you have been hurt and are waiting and wondering when

God is going to deal with the one who hurt you, let me suggest you read

Proverbs 24:17-18. Your attitude may be the reason why God is withholding His

judgment from the one who hurt you.

       Step five - Making the act a secret (II Samuel 13:9b-10).
              9b) And Amnon said, have out all men from me. And they went out every man
              from him. 10) And Amnon said unto Tamar, Bring the meat into the chamber,
              that I may eat of thine hand. And Tamar took the cakes which she had made,
              and brought them into the chamber to Amnon her brother.
      Part of Satan‟s strategy to get a believer to sin is to convince him that his

sin will never be exposed. However this is just another lie. Satan delights in

exposing the believer‟s sin. That way he can ruin the believer‟s testimony. And

even if not reveled during a believer‟s life the believer will face that sin at the

judgment seat of Christ.

      So the question arises. Why keep something a secret anyway? Surely

you can‟t keep a secret from God. It‟s not that they are trying to keep a secret

from God, it‟s simply they don‟t consider God. Although God is not considered,

the actions of others are and it is the response of others we wish to avoid.

Something is made a secret for one of three reasons:

      1. To prevent someone from stopping the act.

      2. When someone will benefit at the expense of others.

      3. To protect the one committing the act from suffering the consequences

      of the act.

      Amnon sent the men away to prevent them from stopping him. He was

going to have his pleasure at Tamar's expense. The obvious question is "What

was he going to do afterwards"? Surely he knew someone would tell the king. I

believe this question can be answered with one of three answers or a

combination of the three.

      First, Amnon was so caught up in his own desires that he either could not

or would not consider how his actions would affect others. This would be in

keeping with the actions of his father with Bathsheba. David also sacrificed the

eternal upon the altar of the immediate.
       Second, Amnon thought himself above the law. After all he was the king's

son. He enjoyed his self indulgent lifestyle. He had everything he wanted and

Tamar was just one more thing he wanted. No one could punish him but David

and he knew from past experience that David wouldn‟t do anything. Amnon

knew the law but he did not believe it applied to him. As the heir apparent in

Israel he did not see himself as answerable to anyone. He did not believe that

sacrificing the eternal upon the altar of the immediate apply to him.

Unfortunately what one believes or doesn‟t believe does not change God‟s Word.

       Third, Amnon believed that Tamar would be as much in love with him as

he was with her and they would live happily ever after. And why wouldn't she

love him, after all he was only going to rape her?                            He was going to put her

through the most terrifying experience of her life. Surely, this is a foundation

upon which true love can be built. And besides this was such a little sin, in no

way could this one act influence eternity.

       The normal response to Amnon's possible excuses would be, "How stupid

can he be and still be breathing"? Not one of them or any combination makes

sense. They are all contrary to Scripture not to mention plain common sense.

So what could have possibly been going on in this jerk's mind? The answer is

obvious. What was going on in Amnon's mind is the same thing that goes on in

our mind when we knowingly disobey God. We use the same excuses and they

sound just as reasonable to us as they did to Amnon.

       Step six - The commission of the sin (II Samuel 13:11-14).
              11) And when she had brought them unto him to eat, he took hold of her, and
              said unto her come lie with me, my sister. 12) And she answered him. Nay, my
              brother, do not force me; for no such thing ought to be done in Israel: do not thou
              this folly. 13) And I, Wither shall I cause my shame to go? and as for thee, thou
              shall be as one of the fools in Israel. Now therefore, I pray thee, speak unto the
              king; for he will not withhold me from thee. 14) Howbeit he would not hearken
              unto her voice: but being stronger than she, forced her, and lay with her.


       Amnon's mind is made up. His jaw is set. Tamar will be his. Nothing else

matters to him. He has longed for her. He will now have her. Amnon has

believed Satan's lie that things apart from God will satisfy him.                                   Satan has

blinded him to all truth and logic. Amnon can only see his own need and the

fulfillment of that need. Tamar makes one final plea for him to do what is right.

God has placed one final obstacle in Amnon's way, Tamar's tears. We now see

how Satan uses uncontrolled emotions to harden hardens. It amazes me the

number of obstacles God places between the believer and sin. What is even

more amazing is the ease with which Christians walk over these obstacles to get

to the sin.

              Amnon could have stopped.                         He could have asked David for

permission to marry Tamar and all would have been fine. Remember Jonadab's

statement; "You are the king's son: you can have anything".                                        Tamar even

confirmed this when she told him that the king would not keep me from you. She

could have been his by right of birth. He did not have to lie and scheme. How

often we try to get by trickery what could be ours for the asking.

       Unfortunately there would be no stopping now. Satan has woven his web

well. There will be no escape. The sin will happen. Not because it had to but

because emotions will not seek a way of escape. Amnon was stronger and

Tamar had no fight left.           Nothing short of Divine intervention could stop the

course of events that Satan has set into motion. Satan has taken uncontrolled

emotions and uncontrolled passion and woven uncontrolled destruction.
      Step seven - Paying for the sin (II Samuel 13:15-18).
             15) Then Amnon hated her exceedingly; so that the hatred wherewith he hated
             her was greater than the love wherewith he had loved her. And Amnon said unto
             her, Arise, be gone. 16) And she said unto him, There is no cause: this evil in
             sending me away is greater than the other that thou didst unto me. But he would
             not hearken unto her. 17) Then he called his servant that ministered unto him,
             and said, Put now this woman out from me, and bolt the door after her. 18) And
             she had a garment of divers colours upon her for with such robes were the king's
             daughters that were virgins apparelled. Then his servants brought her out, and
             bolted the door after her.

      Here we have the most misunderstood part of sin, the cost (Gal. 6:7-8).

The one thing you can count on about sin is that it will take you father than you

want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay and cost you more than you

want to pay. There are two results of sin, the immediate and the long range.

Satan was not out to just destroy a prince. He already had him. Satan has

taken his first steps toward destroying a kingdom. Satan used sin in the church

in the same manner. He is not just after a Christian. He is out to destroy God‟s

work as well. When, because of sin, the fuse of destruction is lit, an explosion is

inevitable. The only thing to be concerned with is the amount of destruction.

There is always something God‟s man can do to limit the amount of destruction

but this will be discussed later. As for now let‟s see the cost of sin, both the

immediate and the long term.

      Amnon set out to get Tamar but he became a victim of sin as well. I am

not suggesting he became a victim of the crime but he is a victim of the sin.

Anyone who commits sin becomes a victim of that sin. The immediate result

was that Amnon got what he wanted - Tamar. Amnon's emotions have gone from

one extreme to another. They have gone from a love nothing could control to a

hatred nothing could control. He could not hear Tamar's plead over the pain of

his own conscience. So the only action left to him was her removal. If he would
have only stopped and gone to his father his life as well as the kingdom could

have been spared. But now his pride and pain will not allow him to do what is

right. His desire was of the flesh. The advice he received was of the flesh. His

action was a culmination of the flesh. Therefore, his reaction to the sin could

only be of the flesh.

       Just a note here, if not scripturally dealt with, the pain of a guilty

conscience starts a downward spiral. A person‟s actions become more and more

destructive until that person is capable of anything.

       Amnon's guilt was greater than he could bear. The sight of Tamar now

reminds him of his guilt. Satan has used Amnon's sin to his own destruction.

Where is the king with Godly advice, to bind Amnon's and Tamar's wounds?

Amnon does not need or want anymore of Jonadab's advice. Amnon now knows

first hand of Satan's lie. Since Amnon has become one of sins victims you would

think he would be ready to repent but not so. He has not yet learned his lesson.

He now compounds his sin. He still will not bring his emotions under control. So

once again Amnon's sin starts with a strong uncontrolled emotion. Now that the

sight of Tamar brings him pain he must have her removed. He will not listen to

her Godly counsel in verse 16. Satan uses the pain caused by his sin to assure

his destruction. Amnon and Tamar are both in the same condition that sin leaves

all its victims, hurt, used, confused and all alone.

       The long term effect of this sin was that it provided Absalom the excuse

he needed to fulfill his own desire. Amnon was one of two people who stood

between Absalom and what he wanted, the kingdom. Amnon was David's first
born son. He was the crown prince, the heir apparent of Israel. He would be the

next king. Now Absalom has an excuse to remove him and fulfill his own lust for

power and the kingdom. It was the same sin, uncontrolled emotions, just for a

different thing (James 1:15). Since Satan knows where our weaknesses lie, we

had better discover them and learn God's methods to strengthen them.

       There is an interesting study in a comparison between the actions and

attitudes of Absalom and Jonathan. Jonathan considered himself expendable

for God's will. Absalom considered everyone else expendable for his will.

              Satan uses sins to destroy lives. Not only the life of the individual

committing the sin but the lives of everyone he touches. That is why Satan starts

every sin with a strong uncontrolled emotion. This way he keeps us so involved

with the sin that we lose sight of the cost of the sin. Satan is not simply attacking

an individual he is attacking the entire body of Christ. For this reason when we

are tempted we need to ask ourselves the following questions:

       1. What does God‟s word say about my action? If not directly then what

principles are involved?

       2. What destruction will my action cause in my life? In the lives of those I

affect (My family, friends etc)? In the lives of those I minister too?

       3. What effect will my action have on the work of Christ?

       4. What is my way of escape?

       If the answer to any or all of these questions is negative, you need to

know that you have just believed Satan‟s lie.

       In II Samuel 13:1-18 we saw the process Satan uses to get us to sin.
Now we will look the destruction brought about by sin. The first way Satan uses

sin in a work is to destroy lives and relationships. Satan used Amnon‟s sin to

destroy his relationship with Tamar, Absalom and David as well as David‟s

relationship with Absalom and Tamar II Samuel 13:19-20.
             19) And Tamar put ashes on her head, and rent her garment of diver‟s colors that
             was on her, and laid her hand on her head, and went on crying. 20) And Absalom
             her brother said unto her, Hath Amnon thy brother been with thee? But hold thy
             peace, my sister: he is thy brother; regard not this thing. So Tamar remained
             desolate in her brother Absalom house.


      Tamar has put ashes on her head and rent her garment as a sign of her

sorrow. As far as she is concerned her life is over. She has no future. She only

wants to die. She enters her brother Absalom‟s house where she remained the

rest of her life. It appears that she ever got the help she needed. There did not

appear to be a happily ever after for Tamar. I wish God had said more about

what happened to her but He saw fit to sum Tamar‟s life up in just two verses.

      One man in Tamar‟s life who should have been there for her was her

father, David. This one verse shows just how much David‟s not making thing

right with Israel cost him. How could he demand of others what he was not

willing to do? David has gone from shepherd to hireling II Samuel 13:21.
              21) But when king David heard of all these things he was very wroth.

      Here is the saddest commentary that can be said of God‟s man. David

was angry but did nothing. When God‟s man does not deal with sin he allows

Satan the upper hand. What happened to that boy who killed the lion and bear

in defense of his fathers sheep? What happened to that young man who stood

against Goliath and said “Is there not a cause”? David your family is in danger

“Is there not a cause”? David the kingdom is in danger “Is there not a cause”?

David could face lions, bears and giants but not even he can face sin that has
not been completely dealt with. Not Amnon‟s but his. Not completely dealing

with sin will change God‟s man from a shepherd who places the care of God‟s

people above his own safety into a hireling. Once God‟s man becomes a hireling

God‟s people are in for a very rough time. When God‟s man does nothing his

lack of action aids Satan in his efforts to destroy God‟s work.

       The other man in Tamar's life who should have been there for her was

Absalom, her brother. Whereas David could not help, Absalom would not help.

He would not because he wanted to use her rape as a means to reach his own

goal, Amnon‟s removal. There is not a hint of sorrow over the sin in Absalom.

Instead of being outraged over the sin and getting help for his sister he sees a

way to get the kingdom. Absalom I believe is a perfect example of a wolf in

sheep‟s clothing.

       I need to take some time here to explain what I mean by a wolf in sheep‟s

clothing and how it came about. I pastored four churches in the twenty years I

spent in the pastorate. Four different states but all the same church with the very

same people: each church at one time had been a large church but because of a

split had dwindled down until the congregation had decided to close the doors.

Then someone said “lets try one more time”. Well I was the one more time. God

was good. We saw some stability and the congregation grew. It was after the

last church I pastored had split that I began to question everything. I wondered

how this had happened.         I became angry with God, others and myself.

Eventually my anger cooled and God revealed something to me.

       What God reviled was something about the person in each church that
wanted to run things. At first I did not believe it. I went to a pastor I knew and

asked him to think about the churches he had pastored. When I asked him if

this was true, one person in each church that wanted to run things, he said “Yes”.

Over the years I have not found an exception to this truth. Every person who

wants to run a church that I have either met or heard of was once called into

fulltime Christian service and never went. Now let me add that I know several

people who were called into fulltime Christian service who did not go who are a

great asset to their church but I know of no trouble maker in any church who was

not called and did not surrender his or her will to go. The reason behind them

not going is another study. So I call these troublemakers wolves in sheep‟s

clothing.

       Here we have our first hint of what makes a wolf.         A wolf is more

concerned with getting his own way than with the needs of others. He does not

see his action as rebellion. He simply sees the way things should be. Even

thought he has never submitted to God's authority. He does not understand why

everyone does not submit to his. And who better than Satan would know how to

use rebellion in someone‟s life? He was Lucifer before his rebellion Isaiah14:12-

17. The only difference between a wolf and a sheep is who‟s voice they listen to

John 10:14-30.

       The wolf has become his own authority. He has no need of a shepherd.

He already has a handle on the truth. Just pick a subject. He can enlighten you.

He knows he was called to lead. He never learned to follow but he wants to

lead. Since he has never followed God by submitting to others how can he lead?
He has never learned direction, only reaction. Circumstances will always control

him. This is sad because a wolf will always get a following. There are always

people looking for direction. They simply react to whatever is popular at the

moment. They are always in a battle but never a part of the war. Sadder yet is

that the wolf never sees himself as a wolf. In his eyes he is a misunderstood

leader. In the next eighteen verses we will see what makes a wolf react the way

he does.

      Since David did not deal with Amnon‟s sin he has allowed the wolf to do

so. And a wolf never does anything that will advance God‟s work. The only thing

a wolf wants to advance is his own agenda. When a person is controlled by

emotions, Biblical principles don‟t matter. We gain some insight about a wolf in

the way he reacts to the sins of others. First with him it is personal. He is not

dealing with sin he is correcting a wrong done to him II Samuel 13:22.
             22) And Absalom spake unto his brother neither good or bad; for Absalom hated
             Amnon, because he had forced his sister, Tamar.

      Absalom like any wolf will use any one or any thing to accomplish his goal.

Absalom's response to Amnon was of the flesh. Absalom waited and schemed

for two full years. Time does not matter to a wolf. He will wait as long as it

takes. The desire for power drives him. Satan has so used Absalom's lust for

the kingdom that he can‟t see his own sin. Absalom used Amnon's sin as an

excuse for his removal but Absalom‟s desire to be king was his real motivation.

Absalom hated Amnon because he stood between him and the kingdom, not

because he raped Tamar. Absalom has let his emotions eat at him like a cancer,

constantly growing and poisoning his outlook on life.                       He kept his hatred for
Amnon bottled up inside until he had to explode. Absalom would not face his

own sin but demanded Amnon pay for his. Absalom was not the kind of person

who got even - Absalom got mad!

      If David would‟ve dealt with Amnon‟s sin. He would‟ve stolen Absalom's

thunder. Dealing with sin is the only defense against someone who is nursing a

grudge. When nothing is done about a sin it gives the wolf the appearance of

right. Notice, I said the "appearance" of right. Absalom is only using Amnon's

sin to remove him. God protect us from those with a cause. If David would have

dealt with Amnon then he could have dealt with Absalom. Unfortunately, the

king's lack of action has brought the kingdom one step closer to destruction.

   Second a wolf plans action outside his authority II Samuel 13:23-27.
             23) And it came to pass after two full years, that Absalom was sheep shearing in
             Baal-hazor, which is beside Ephriam: and Absalom invited all the king's sons.
             24)And Absalom came to the king, and said, behold now, thy servant hath sheep
             shearers; let the king, I beseech thee, and his servants go with thy servant. 25)
             And the king said to Absalom,Nay, my son, let us not all now go, lest we be
             chargeable unto thee. And he pressed him; howbeit he would not go, but
             blessed him. 26) Then said Absalom, If not, I pray thee, let my brother Amnon
             go with us. And the king said him, Why should he go with thee? 27) But
             Absalom pressed him that he let Amnon and all the king's sons go with him.

      The wolf has spent two full years stalking his prey. He is now ready to go

for the juggler. The law was even on his side (Deut. 22:25). Amnon deserved to

die for his sin but it was not Absalom's right to kill him.                           God's established

authority was the only one who had the right to act against Amnon. Which brings

us to an interesting question.             What does a church member do when the

established authority does not act against sin in the church?                                    Even more

important, what Scripture supports your view? Are you willing to submit to that

Scripture? You see having a legal complaint but not submitting ones personal

rights to God is another earmark of a wolf. A wolf wants to take matters into his
own hands. He is more interested in his own agenda than in justice.

       Just as Amnon lied to David to get Tamar now Absalom lies to David to get

Amnon. He does not just lie. He tells a half truth and a half truth is still a whole

lie. Not to mention it is the most difficult type of lie to detect.

       In the passage before us we discover the cunning nature of the wolf. He

hides his real agenda in a spiritual setting. He invited the king and his sons to

celebrate God's blessing of his herds. Absalom acknowledged that the increase

came from God. He had knowledge of the truth but refused to live in the light of

God‟s truth. He would not move from the physical into the spiritual. As a result,

his actions were physical not spiritual. I once heard someone say,” God uses the

good ones and the bad ones use God". This is never more true than with a wolf.

He will use anyone to reach his goal. In his eyes everyone is expendable.

       By the time Absalom got to his real request, "Let Amnon come" things

were really confused. The task of discovering the truth among all this confusion

falls to the king. The king's response to Absalom's request indicated he had

misgivings about the request.        David knew there was a hook in Absalom's

request. He just could not find it. There was one of two reasons why David

could not find the hook. Either he did not want to believe there was a hook or he

honestly looked and could not find it. I personally believe David just did not want

to believe there was a hook. He was hoping that everything would turn out okay.

Unfortunately, a wolf will not stop being a wolf because the king wishes he would.

       David should have gone with his instincts and not have granted Absalom's

request. God's man has to develop the Holy Spirit's leading in his life. There will
be times when he feels that something is wrong. When he does he needs to

proceed cautiously. If an error is made on the side of caution it will be much

easier to correct and less damage will be done.                         Also, if God‟s man acts

cautiously his people will see how God is using him to direct and protect them.

Once they understand this they will follow willingly.

       Everything is in place. The time is right for the wolf to strike. However,

our wolf is too smart to endanger himself. He uses others to do his dirty work II

Samuel 13:28-29a.
              28) Now Absalom had commanded his servants, saying, Mark ye now when
              Amnon's heart is merry with wine, and when I say unto you, Smite Amnon; then
              kill him, fear not: have not I commanded you? be courageous, and be valiant.
              29a)And the servants of Absalom did unto Amnon as Absalom had commanded.

       Absalom made the bullets but he got someone else to fire them. A wolf is

always willing to point out what needs to be done but is unwilling to get

personally involved until his personal safety is assured.

       God's man needs to learn a lesson from Absalom's action. The one firing

the bullets may not be the wolf. I know of a case where it was a deacon‟s wife

who was called into God‟s service. At deacon‟s meetings he would agree. But

when he got home she pointed out how wrong everyone was. As a result the

first half of our deacon‟s meetings were spent going over and reconvening him

on issues that had already been decided. At times he would even call special

meeting because work was to start before to the next deacon‟s meeting. This

poor man was not a wolf. He was married to one. And his life was miserable.

He only fired the bullets he did not manufacture them. Sometimes a pastor has

to not only dodge the bullets but discover their source as well. Once the source

is discovered the wolf is uncovered. We will discover in II Samuel 18 and 19
what God expects the king to do with the one firing the bullets.

      In this passage we also discover something of the wolf's cunning. He

arranges every detail to his own advantage. Absalom arranged to know where

Amnon would be at all times. He made sure Amnon would be at his weakest -

drunk. He arranged every detail his advantage.

      One area where God's man has to be careful is in the area of confidence.

He often underestimates the wolf. He sometimes takes false security in the

attitude, "If God be for me". Confidence in God is one thing stupidity is quite

another. Remember Matthew 10:16, "Be wise as serpents...". That is a warning

to be alert to what is going on. In a battle for the control of God‟s work God‟s

man has to make plans to defeat the wolf. He can‟t let the wolf lull him into a

false security. A serpent is always checking the air for any change or danger. If

God‟s man lets his guard down, he is doomed. If given a chance, the wolf will

eat the shepherd as well as the sheep.

      The deed is done. The wolf will now use the confusion caused by the

deed to make good his escape II Samuel 13:29b-33.
             29b) Then all the king's sons arose, and every man gat him up upon his mule,
             and fled. 30) And it came to pass while they were in the way, that tidings came
             to David, saying, Absalom hath slain all the king's sons, and there is not one of
             them left. 31) Then the king arose, and tare his garments, and lay on the earth;
             and all his servants stood by with their clothes rent. 32) And Jonadab, the son of
             Shimeah David's brother, answered and said, let not my lord suppose that they
             have slain all the young men the king's sons; for Amnon only is dead: for by the
             appointment of Absalom this hath been determined from the day that he forced
             his sister Tamar. 33) Now therefore let not my lord the king take the thing to his
             heart, to think that all the king's sons are dead: for Amnon only is dead.

      Wolves love confusion. Next to a lie confusion is their greatest weapon.

It is during times of confusion that a wolf makes his greatest gains. He uses

confusion to scatter the sheep and put out false information. He also uses the

confusion for his own protection and his escape, leaving those he used and
promised protection to fend for themselves.

      Notice in the passage how the confusion and misinformation caused the

king to react. Instead of being able to bring Absalom swiftly to justice, David

could only react emotionally.   That is why God‟s man has to have accurate

information. He can make Godly decisions with correct information but he can

only react to incorrect information. He has to have advisors who will give him the

facts, be they good or bad. If he is surrounded by men who only rubberstamp

his decisions, all lose. He has failed God, his people and even himself.

      Where there is confusion, there is a wolf at work. This is why God denies

any authorship of confusion I Corinthians 14:33. This is why God‟s man must be

able to sort through the rumors and get to the truth. He has to discover the

wolf's plan and counter it. David failed to do this. He knew he should not have

let Amnon go. Now, David is blaming himself. True, he was guilty of an error in

judgment but he was not responsible for Amnon‟s murder. That responsibility

belongs to Absalom alone. When Satan gets us to accept responsibility for the

actions of another he knows he has us defeated. We all have enough to face

God for without facing Him for the actions of others. This is one trick of Satan

that we can avoid.

      Since God did not remove David He expected him to rise above his guilt

and get on with the business of running the kingdom. This was a tall order but

God knew David was up to it. "How do I know what God wanted" you ask? The

answer is simple. God did not give the kingdom to anyone else did He?        God

has taken the first steps in David's life in forcing him to deal with his own past
sin. David can no longer afford the luxury of self pity. David now will learn to

respond as God's appointed leader. He must now rise above his emotions and

direct God's work.

      The best way for God‟s man to minimize confusion is to keep the people

informed. A congregation who knows where they are going will be easer lead.

An informed congregation will respond better to a change in direction than a

congregation who has no direction. God‟s man has to learn to trust God to direct

the people as well as himself. God will never direct His leader in one direction

and the people in another. If there is a two directional pull in the church there

probably is a wolf among the sheep. To restore unity the wolf must first be

removed. Once the wolf is removed then the project will proceed with harmony.

Not without problems but with unity.

      Another characteristic of a wolf is that he will not submit to authority II

Samuel 13:34a.
             34) But Absalom fled.

      By his fleeing we learn some important facts about a wolf. First, a wolf

never faces the consequences of his actions. He sees his actions as a response

to the improper actions of others. In his mind his problem is the rest of us. As a

wolf told me in a counseling section once, “If the rest of you would do what

you're suppose to do I would be alright”. The problem is he believed it. In

Absalom‟s mind the murder of his brother was the right thing to do. If David was

not going to deal with Tamar‟s rape the he had every right to as well as the right

to remove David. Don‟t try to understand it. I‟m just telling you that is how

warped the thinking of a wolf gets.
      Second, we discover that the word of a wolf is not to be trusted.

Remember back in II Samuel 13:28 Absalom promised the young men that he

would be there to protect them. Well he lied. I wonder what happened to the

servants who actually committed the murder of Amnon.

      Amnon‟s murder caused everyone to run for safety. David‟s children ran

for the safety and protection of their father II Samuel 13:34b-36
             34b) And the young man that keep the watch lifed up his eyes, and looked, and,
             behold, there came much people by the way of the hillside behind him. 35) And
             Jonadad said unto the king, Behold, the king's sons come; as thy servant said,
             so it is. 36) And it came to pass, as soon as he had made an end of speaking,
             that, behold, the king's sons came, and lifted up their voices and wept; and the
             king also and all his servants wept very sore.


      God‟s man provides a sense of security for God‟s people. This is a part of

his ministry that most pastors do not even realize they perform. When trouble

strikes God‟s people need to be assurance that God is in His heaven and all will

be right with the world. When the people in his congregation clamor for his time

it is this security they are seeking. So no matter how trivial a matter seems to

God‟s man his people need his time. So no matter how trivia a problem seems

to you that person need you because you speak for God.



B. God’s counter - Removing the wolf



      It is interesting to note where Absalom ran. He did not just take refuge

among any congregation. He ran to David‟s enemies II Samuel 13:37-39.
             37) But Absalom fled, and went to Talmai, the son of Ammihud king of Geshur.
             And David moruned for his son every day. 38) So absalom fled, and went to
             Geshur, and was there three years. 39) And the soul of king David longed to go
             forth unto Absalom; for he was comforted concerning Amnon, seeing he was
             dead.

      Absalom knew that God's man did not represent safety for him. One can‟t
help but wonder where are those cries for justice he once cried for Amnon. If his

actions were just then why not face Gods authority and prove his case. A wolf

never wants justice. A wolf only wants the preeminence III John 9.

      Here God‟s man makes a serious mistake. He did not pursue the wolf.

As long as the wolf is on the defensive Gods man should attack. Attack while the

deed is fresh in the people's mind.        Don't let him escape into another

congregation. He will cause destruction there until he comes back and if allowed

to escape he will be back. Until stopped a wolf moves from work to work causing

problems everywhere he goes.      God‟s men need to share information about

wolves within their work. God‟s men have to stop allowing wolves the freedom to

move from work to work. If you have a wolf in your work either brand him as a

wolf or put him out. If a wolf comes to you from another work don‟t accept. If

accepted into your work he regains the upper hand and this time he will have the

confidence to go after you. God protect us from those who hop from church to

church.

      Absalom knew he had to go outside of God‟s kingdom for protection.

God‟s work would be better off if that message was clear to all wolves. The law

for premeditated murder was quite clear (Numbers 35:21). Absalom knew he

could not enter the cities of refuge for protection. Since there was no safety

among God's people Absalom then turned to God's enemies for protection.

      In I Samuel 27:8 we discover that David once raided Gershur. In that raid

David stole a woman, Maacah. She was the daughter of Talmai, the king of

Geshur. Talmai hated David for that raid and the theft of his daughter. Maacah
later bore David a son who she named Absalom (II Samuel 3:3). Absalom knew

his grandfather would be willing to aid him against David. Those who wish to

destroy God's work can always find someone eager to lend their support to the

cause. There will always be those who are opposed to what God is doing.

       Today wolves don‟t have to go to the world for help. Too often they don't

have to go any further than another pastor. Someone who is either jealous of

God's blessing upon another congregation or who just wants numbers no matter

who they are. In a church‟s zeal for numbers wolves are often admitted. When

a pastor is approached with a complaint against another pastor there are some

basic things he should do:

       1. Check his attitude. It may be that the wolf has found a kindred spirit.

       2. Do not take part in the rebellion.

       3. Check the facts. Then the pastor who was approached should attempt

to get the parties together. If they can work the matter out then there is no need

for anyone to leave. If they can‟t agree they can at least part as friends. Once

this has been done then the one leaving the church can be accepted into the

new church with little worry.

       4. If a wolf is discovered, do not admit him into your fellowship. A battle

within a church is always destructive not only to the work but to the people as

well. We see in verse 39 that David longed for Absalom. If the battle did not hurt

the king more than the people he would not be worthy of his office. However, the

king can never allow the hurt to direct his actions. It is at this time God's man

learns anew of God's love for him. It was David's inability to deal with his pain
that led to an even greater problem.       To relieve his pain David allowed an

unrepented wolf back into the sheep pen.

      We have seen events set into motion that revealed a wolf among the

sheep.   As destructive as these events were they did accomplish one very

positive thing. The thirteenth chapter ended with God‟s counter to having a wolf

among His work. God removed the wolf.
                                        Satan’s third attack

A. Getting God‟s man to accept the wolf back

       Removing a wolf is one thing keeping him out is quite another. Satan is

not content unless he has a wolf among the sheep to keep things stirred up.

Just as Satan was directing the actions of the wolf he will also orchestrate his

return. In this case it‟s not a big problem since David wants a reason to allow

Absalom to return II Samuel 14:1.

              1) Now Joab the son of Zeruiah perceived that the king's heart was toward Absalom.

       To understand how Satan accomplishes the wolf's return we need to first

   look at the individuals Satan uses to accomplish this task, David‟s friend

   Joab. II Samuel 14:2-3.
              2) And Joab sent to Tekoah, and fetched thence a wise woman, and said unto
              her, I pray thee, feigh thyself to be a mourner, and put on now oil, but be as a
              woman that had a long time mourned for the dead. 3) And come to the king, and
              speak on this manner unto him. So Joab put the words in her mouth.

       This was the same friend who helped David get into this mess, the same

friend who, in II Samuel 11 went to war on David's behalf. The same friend who

in II Samuel 11:6 sent Uriah home from the battle to help David cover his sin with

Bathsheba. The same friend who in II Samuel 11:15-18 helped David murder

Uriah. With friends like this, who needs enemies? A king will be on guard while

dealing with his enemies but will not suspect his friends.

       It is not my intention to imply Joab was not David's friend. He was. He

was David's closest friend. There was probably no one in Israel who cared more

for David than Joab. His caring was the problem. It was never Joab's intent to

harm David.     Joab's only desire was to relieve David's pain.                                    Friends have

caused as much damage by attempting to help as enemies who wanted to harm.
God‟s man needs close friends.       However, these friends need to be more

concerned about what God is doing in his life then his comfort. Physical comfort

is nice but real peace and comfort can only come through a proper relationship

with God.

      Joab made three mistakes in trying to help David. These mistakes were

not malicious. They were made while trying to comfort a friend. Joab's first

mistake was to circumvent God's Word.           The punishment for premeditated

murder was clear (Numbers 35:21).        Instead of obeying God's Word Joab's

interest was toward his friend. For one to have real joy and peace their actions

have to be brought into line with God's Word.

      Joab's second mistake was in his failure to see the hand of God directing

David's life. In spite of the events that transpired, God was still in control. God

used these events to remove a wolf from the kingdom. God was also attempting

to force David to once again act like a king. David has allowed past sins to rob

him of his joy and victory. God was using these events in David's life to force

him to stand up and reclaim his lost joy. If God's man will not lead then someone

less qualified will. Joab has become that person. Joab was not willing to wait for

God to work things out. He wanted to help his friend. Instead of seeing the

hand of God (II Samuel 12:11), he wished to remove the king's pain.

Unfortunately, this meant bringing the wolf back into the kingdom, the wolf that

God had gone to great lengths to remove. Joab could not see that David's

troubles were God's way of maturing David. Joab could only see David's pain.

Every leader struggles between his emotions and duty. It is this struggle that
drives him into God's waiting arms. It is only in God's arms that God‟s man can

find the peace and strength to continue caring for God‟s people.

       Joab's third mistake was in using a lie. Dr. Bob Jones used to say, "It is

never right to do wrong to get a chance to do right". Instead of seeking help from

God for David, Joab sought to solve a spiritual problem through physical means.

His inability to see beyond the physical was the same flaw we discovered in

Jonadab's advice. Any help from any source that does not understand what God

is doing is like an uncontrolled explosion, both are destructive. So in spite of all

Joab's desire to help, all he did was to bring sin back into Israel.

       This brings us to the other person Satan used to bring the wolf back. She

was a stranger. Joab got a woman who could not possibly be recognized by

David. It was the woman, not her story that was strange to David. He had heard

similar stories many times in his court but now he was living it. She came to the

king in the form of a lie to get the king to act on spiritual truths. This fact brings

up some interesting questions:

       1. Was she a peacemaker?

       2. Can anyone make peace or must it come from within?

       3. Can there be peace apart from God's will?

       4. Was there a sin here?

       5. If so was it hers, Joabs or both?

       Godly men differ over the answers to these questions. However of one

thing we can be sure. Her words came from Joab and Joab's actions were

directed by Satan because it was Satan who wanted the wolf back.
       There are some important lessons God's man can learn from this

encounter. First she gave him false information II Samuel 14:4-8.
              4) And when the woman of Tekoah spake to the king, she fell on her face to the
              ground, and did obeisance, and said, Help, O King. 5) And the king said unto
              her, What aileth thee? and she answered, I am indeed a widow woman and
              mine husband is dead. 6) And thy handmaid had two sons, and they two strove
              together in the field, and there was none to part them, but the one smote the
              other and slew him. 7) And behold, the whole family is risen against thine
              handmaid, and they said, Deliver him that smote his brother, that we may kill
              him, for the life of his brother whom he slew; and we will destroy the heir also:
              and so they shall quench my coal which is left, and shall not leave to my
              husband neither name or remainder upon the earth. 8) And the king said unto
              the woman, Go to thine house, and I will give charge concerning thee.


       It has been said, "It is not the king who has the power but the one who

has the king's ear". This is true because they are the ones who provide the

information upon which the king makes his decisions. There are two types of

false information with which a king must cope. One is the deliberate lie. This is

where all the information is false.

       The other is a partial lie.              This could be a deliberate withholding of

information or simply telling only one side of a story. Both are told with the

deliberate intent to deceive the king. Both are deadly and difficult to detect.

Both make it impossible to respond properly to any circumstance.

       Some things should be pointed out about the one giving the false

information. The first thing to notice is how well she fit the role. She was well

chosen for the part. She looked the part she played. She may have even been

a widow. When Satan uses someone to mislead God's man he always has

someone who fits the part.

       Second, she knew how to perform in public. She knew just when to bow

and when to cry. She knew when to speak and when to listen. She knew all the

language and how to use it. Her performance was impeccable. She had the
king hooked before she started her story.

       Third, her story was believable. It had just enough truth in it to make it

real and just enough emotion to force a reaction. This is a deadly combination, a

little truth and a lot of emotion. God has not called us to live by our emotions but

by His truth. God‟s man can‟t be controlled by his emotions. David knew her

pain because it was his as well. Haven‟t we all been there? God‟s man must act

on God‟s word not on a touching story.

       She now uses the false information to create a false urgency II Samuel

14:9-11.
              9) And the woman of Tekoah said unto the king, My lord, O king, the inquity be
              on me, and on my father's house: and the king and his throne be guiltless. 10)
              And the king said, Whosoever saith ought unto thee, bring him to me, and he
              shall not touch thee any more. 11) Then said she, I pray thee, let the king
              remember the LORD thy God, that thou wouldest not suffer the revengers of
              blood to destroy anymore, lest they destroy my son. And he said, As the LORD
              liveth, there shall not one hair of thy son fall to the earth.

       David is nibbling at the bait.               It is now time to set the hook.            The

impression she gave was if David didn‟t act immediately she would lose her son.

David knew firsthand the pain of loosing a son. He had just lost two by death

and one by rebellion. She assured David that if his actions were wrong she

would accept all the blame. When someone says, "If anything goes wrong, I'll

take the blame", just try to find them when something goes wrong. Beside David

was the king and the buck stops with him. Once David was convinced of the

need, his promise of protection was assured and once he had promised to

protect her it was a small step to protect her son.

       The only problem was that her story was a lie. The king never bothered to

verify her story. God's man can never afford to be tricked into a decision. When

he is faced with a matter that must be solved before he checks the facts, he had
better put off any decision. Very few problems need to be solved that quickly. I

am not saying that emergencies don't arise. I am saying if there is not time to

check the facts then don't make a decision.

         The hook is set. It is now time to reel David in. She now leads the king to

a false conclusion. It is a wise fisherman who can trick a fish into catching

himself. If I Corinthians 10:13 means anything it means that God's people are

only caught when they choose to be caught. God's people can shake Satan's

hook anytime they wish.                That is why Satan starts all sin with a strong

uncontrolled emotion.          Satan has to make sure we are determined to catch

ourselves. This passage is a clear picture of how Satan plays God's people

once he hooks them. Notice how polite Satan is. He even had her ask if she

could catch him II Samuel 14:12.
               12) Then the woman said, Let thine handmaid, I pray thee, speak one word unto
               my lord the king, and he said, Say on.

         She used two illustrations and drew from each a reason why Absalom

should be allowed back.                 Each illustration would have been valid if the

circumstances would have been true but each conclusion would have still been

false.

         First, she implies that her family name was about to be cut off in Israel II

Samuel 14:13-15.
               13) And the woman said, Wherefore then hast thou thought such a thing against
               the people of God? for the king doth speak this thing as one which is faulty, in
               that the king doth not fetch home again his banished. 14) For we must needs
               die, and are as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again:
               neither doth God respect any person: yet doth he devise means, that his
               banished be not expelled from him. 15) Now therefore that I am come to speak
               of this thing unto my lord the king, it is because the people have made me afraid:
               and thy handmaid said, I will now speak unto the king; it may be that the king will
               perform the request of his handmaid.

         David knew of Deuteronomy 23 and the instructions God gave to assure
that no family name would ever be cut off. If her story were true then her son

would have been in danger of losing his life.                          This was not the case with

Absalom. As long as he remained in Geshur, his life was in no danger. Her son

had no children and his name would have been cut off. This also was not true of

Absalom. In II Samuel 14:27 we see that Absalom may have had three sons.

There was no chance of his name being cut off.

      If we compare II Samuel 14:27 with II Samuel 18:18 there arises a

question about Absalom's three sons. The pillar may have been erected before

the birth of his sons, or his sons may have died. Since they are never mentioned

in any genealogies the later is probably true. Even if his sons had died in their

youth her next argument makes the issue of the sons of none effect. Her son

supposedly killed his brother, which left no one to raise up seed to his name.

Absalom had brothers who could have raised up seed to his name.

      Second, she tells the king of God's protection II Samuel 14:16-17.
             16) For the king will hear, to deliver his handmaid out of the hand of the man that
             would destroy me and my son together of the inheritance of God. 17) Then thine
             handmaid said, The word of my lord the king shall now be comfortable: for as an
             angel of God, so is my lord the king to discern good and bad: Therefore the
             LORD thy God will be with thee.

      She implies that if a problem arises with Absalom's return then God will

protect David from danger. If anyone knew of God's protection it was David.

Remember all the times God intervened to protect David. God had protected

him from a lion, a bear, a giant named Goliath and a king named Saul, just to

name a few. The implication was that if Absalom were a threat then God would

protect David as He had done in the past. David was overlooking the obvious.

God had protected him in sending the wolf away. Just as God protected David,
He will protect all of His children. However, they have to meet the requirement for

protection.   "When a man's ways please the LORD, He maketh even his

enemies to be at peace with him" Proverbs 16:17. David did not meet the

qualification of this passage. His ways were not pleasing to God.

       David really wanted to be caught. David wanted Absalom back. David let

his emotions rule his life. David had been called to protect God's people. Even

if that meant protecting them from his own family. His call to care for God's

people was first placed in danger when he failed to properly instruct his children.

So no matter how much David wanted Absalom back, if there is no repentance

by Absalom there can be no forgiveness for Absalom.

       David is about to make his most tragic mistake II Samuel 14:18-20.
              18) Then the king answered and said unto her, Woman, hide not from me, I pray
              thee, the thing that I shall ask thee, And the woman said, Let my lord the king
              now speak. 19) And the king said, Is not the hand of Joab with thee in all this?
              And the woman answered and said, As thy soul liveth, my lord the king, none
              can turn to the right hand or to the left from ought that my lord the king hath
              spoken: for thy servant Joab done this thing: and my lord is wise according to
              the wisdom of an angel of God, To know all things that are in the earth

       David is about to be landed. Once a fish is landed it is at the mercy of the

fisherman. If there is one thing Satan doesn‟t have it is mercy. Even though

David has seen through all her lies he will still make a wrong decision. The

decision may have been wrong but it was the one David wanted to make. David

is not only about to let the wolf back into the kingdom. He is going to issue a

personal invitation for his return. It is one thing to have a wolf among the sheep.

It is quite another to give him the keys to the gate. I don't know if David was

blind to the facts or just kidding himself. The truth is that once a wolf is allowed

back his interest is not in ruling the sheep but removing the shepherd. This is

especially true when he is allowed to come back without repentance. Absalom
did not have to sneak in the back door. He came back with the king's approval.

       Now that the wolf is back there will be a split.      While the wolf was

separated from the sheep, there was still hope. The king could still lead but now

he has a challenger to his God given authority. We will now see the split starting

to take shape. God's work will now take another direction. It will start a downhill

spiral that will gain momentum with each passing day. The rate of decline will

continue to increase until the split occurs.

       Up to now David had been in a struggle with Absalom for control of the

kingdom. He will now be locked in combat with a wolf for his very life. Make no

mistake about it, if not checked, a wolf will only get more vicious. David was

hoping against hope that Absalom would change. David waited for two full years

for Absalom to repent. Absalom was not about to repent. Why should he? He

had everything he wanted. Every time God boxed him in to force him to deal

with his rebellious attitude some well meaning person removes God's pressure.

When God is dealing with a person, God's man must never try to remove the

pressure God places him under. Help him live for God under the pressure but to

remove the pressure is to force God to replace it with even greater pressure.

God's man has to learn to see things from God's perspective. In order to do this

God's man has to understand God's direction in the life of that person. Once the

problem is corrected or the lesson is learned that caused the pressure, then God

will remove the pressure. However, when a well meaning Christian interjects

himself between God and the one whom God is dealing with then forces God to

deal with him. God will continue the pressure even to the point of breaking the
one who involved himself.



B. Satan’s purpose in bring the wolf back



        Now that Satan has the wolf back among the sheep.                                     He can make

changes in the direction of God's work. The first change is from fact to feeling II

Samuel 14:21-24.
              21) And the king said unto Joab, Behold now, I have done this thing: go
              therefore, bring the young man Absalom again. 22) And Joab fell to the ground
              on his face, and bowed himself, and thanked the king: and Joab said, today thy
              servant knoweth that I have found grace in thy sight, my lord, O King, in that the
              king hath fuflfilled the request of his servant. 23) So Joab arose and went to
              Gerhur, and brother Absalom to Jersalem. 24) And the king said, Let him turn to
              his house, and let him not see my face. So Absalom returned to his house, and
              saw not the king's face.

        Joab is typical of those who interpret God's will by his emotions. "I got

what I wanted so it had to be God's will". They rate God's actions by how it

makes them feel, not by God's Word. If God's action meets their approval then it

is good. If not, then it must be from Satan. God has placed supreme importance

on His Word (Psalms 138:2). Keep Joab's enthusiasm for Absalom‟s return in

mind when we get to II Samuel 14:29-33. At this point Joab must reach the

same conclusion that all who interrupt God‟s will in light of their wishes reaches,

"God must have changed His mind". It amazes me how often God changes His

mind when our chosen course runs into adversity. It‟s amazing to watch the

fancy footwork these people do to explain how, why and when God changed His

mind.

        In Matthew 7:7-11 Jesus promises that if we ask for bread we will not

receive a stone. If we ask for a fish we will not receive a serpent but we have no
guarantee that if we continuously and knowingly ask for a serpent we will not

eventually receive it. It‟s amazing how often God's people will continue to force

doors open once God has closed them. Sometimes in the name of peace or

happiness God's people go to great lengths to circumvent the circumstances in

which God has placed them. Remember God is interested in our holiness, not

our happiness. True happiness only comes through holiness and not through

circumstances.

      David here is typical of those who wear a spiritual facade when disobeying

God's Word. The facts are:

      1. Absalom murdered Amnon.

      2. He then ran to escape the penalty of his actions.

      3. Absalom was not repentant of his actions.

      4. Absalom was unconcerned for the hurt he caused others.

      The king had an obligation to protect God's people. Even if that protection

was from one within his family. The shepherd has to put the safety of the sheep

above his own desires. If he fails to do this he becomes a hireling. He forfeits

the right to be called a shepherd.

      The next change Satan has in store for God's work is an emphasis

change. The work will go from a spiritual emphasis to a physical emphasis. Let

me add here that there will always be a physical aspect to the ministry of the

Gospel. However, just as the physical should not be ignored it also should not

be the main emphasis. Once we lose sight of the supernatural we have lost our

ministry II Samuel 14:25-27.
              25) But in all Israel there was none to be so much praised as Absalom for his
              beauty: from the sole of his foot even to the crown of his head there was no
              blemish in him. 26) And when he polled his head, (for it was at every year's end
              that he polled it; because the hair was heavy on him, therefore he polled it:) he
              weighed the hair of head at two hundered sheckels after the king's weight. 27)
              And unto Absalom there were born three sons, and one daughter, whose name
              was Tamar; she was a woman of a fair countenance.

       Once again we see Satan choosing someone who fits the role. When

Israel wanted a king Saul was chosen because he looked the part. Absalom also

looked the part of a king. Absalom had it all! There was nothing wrong with

Absalom having beauty or wealth. The problem was that Absalom placed a

greater emphasis on what he had then on the God who gave him what he had. It

has been said that the greatest burden one must bear is potential. It has also

been said that ones greatest ability is ones dependability. Well, Absalom had all

the potential but none of the dependability.

       Absalom is not unlike believers of today.                        We too can be drawn into

Satan's trap to change the emphasis of God‟s work. In our enthusiasm for the

work we often either overlook or excuse the two most common forms of this trap.

       One form of this trap is that bigger is better because it shows that God is

blessing.   This philosophy can lead God‟s man into using gimmicks to

accomplish Spiritual ends. The flaw in this theory is that size is not the yardstick

by which we determine God's blessing. The growth of a congregation can be

accomplished by physical means as well as by spiritual ones.

       Another form of this trap is that smaller is better because it is spiritual.

The flaw with this theory is the same as the first. Size has nothing to do with

spirituality. In fact, every congregation will have people who walk in the spirit as

well as those who walk in the flesh.                     Neither philosophy is true, they are

extremes used by Satan to divide the body of Christ.
       People often place more emphasis on the appearance of a work than on

the content of a work. We do the same thing in our relationships with other

believers. We establish certain rules. If another‟s action conforms to our rules

then they are said to be spiritual. While it is true that what is in the heart will

manifest itself outwardly. So let us be careful not to use a proper illustration to

draw a false conclusion. In doing so we become guilty of the same type of

reasoning as the woman of Tekoah. If there is a problem with a person's attitude

then the attitude should be dealt with. Simply forcing ones actions to conform is

not change or maturity. Once the problem has been corrected then the actions

will conform to God's standards not our preconceived ideas of spirituality. Let‟s

also not assume that just because ones actions conform that their heart is right

with God. When we emphasize the physical, mistakes are inevitable. The sad

thing is that like Absalom, those who make the mistake do it in the name of

justice and righteousness. Somehow they never see the hurt they cause others.

       Now, God's work is ready for the third and final step toward a split. It is at

this point God writes "Ichabod" over the work. It is now that God will use the

split, started by Satan to destroy God's work, to purge it. Just as God started His

work with the breath of life in Genesis. He has committed to us the continuance

of that life giving process. Once that life giving process stops, the work then

becomes destructive. It‟s at that point that God has to purge it. It is now time for

God to purge the kingdom II Samuel 14:28-33.
              28) So Absalom dwelt two full years in Jerusalem, and saw not the king's face.
              29) Therefore Absalom sent for Joab, to have sent him to the king; but he would
              not come to him; and when he sent again the second time, he would not come.
              30) Therefore he said unto his servants, see Job‟s field is near mine, and he has
              barley there; go and set it on fire. And Absalom's servants set the field on fire.
              31) Then Joab arose, and came to Absalom unto his house, and said unto him,
              Wherefore have thy servants set my field on fire? 32) And Absalom answered
              Joab, Behold, I sent unto thee, saying, come hither, that I may send thee to the
              king, to say, Wherefore am I come from Geshur? It had been good for me to
              have been there still, now therefore let me see the king's face; and if there be
              any inquity in me, let him kill me. 33) So Joab came to the king, and told him:
              and when he had called for Absalom, he came to the king, and bowed himself on
              his face to the ground before the king: and the king kissed Absalom.

       Let‟s see how this purging process takes place.                                First we see that

Absalom is still a wolf. Absalom had two full years in which to repent. His only

desire each and every day was to replace the king. He had 730 days for the

cancer of sin to grow and consume him. He is tired of waiting. He wants to be

king and he wants it now.

       Once again we see Absalom circumventing God's way. He could have

gone to the king at any time. All he had to do was repent, but Absalom had not

changed. He expected everyone else to conform to his desires. After all, if

everyone else would do what they were suppose to do he would be alright.

Absalom still considered everything and everyone expendable for his glory. He

was still a user. He had Joab's field burned to get what he wanted. This is the

same Joab that brought him back into the kingdom. This is the same Joab that

judged God's will according to his emotions. Well, he wanted Absalom back.

Maybe this is God's way of rewarding Joab for his efforts on Absalom‟s behalf.

       Instead of using this time to repent and prove himself worthy so God could

give him the kingdom. He used the time to advance his own desire. Absalom

had the desire to lead. He had the ability to lead. The only thing he did not have

was the attitude of a leader. Notice Absalom's response to the burning of Joabs

field. “I sent for you but you did not come”. Look, Joab, it was your fault I had to

burn your field. If you would have just come when I called then everything would

have been fine. Oh well, your here now so forget it. Here‟s what I want you to
do.' The arrogance of this man! Keep in mind that in his mind he really is

innocent. Everything that has happened to him is someone else's fault. Well,

Absalom has gotten his way again. He got his audience with the king. He goes

before the king, bows and receives a kiss. God's man has to beware of those

who would pat him on the back. First make sure they do not have a knife in their

hand.

        Just an observation in closing. I am not sure of the application or even if

there is an application. Here we have a king kissing a wolf. In the Gospels we

have a wolf kissing a king.

                                   CONCLUSION

        We have seen how Satan uses sin to destroy God's work, how Satan

uses a wolf to challenge the king's authority and how Satan uses others to get

the wolf back into the fold once he has been removed. We have seen how the

king's lack of action contributed to the problem. David could not act for two basic

reasons:

        1. He could not forgive himself for past sins.

        2. He was too close to the situation.

        David's inability to accept God's forgiveness for his sin was a weight he

did not have to carry. God forgave him and put his sin away but David could not

forgive himself.     Whether it was because the people he had hurt were

continuously in his thoughts or because he no longer felt worthy of the position

he was filling. Whichever the case, David had only four options open to him.

        1. To get help from someone who could help him live with his past
      actions.

      2. To forgive himself and perform the task God left him to do.

      3. To resign as king and let the cancer of self pity consume him.

      4. To remain in office and allow events to meander without direction.

      Unfortunately David chose the last of these options. It was his lack of

action at the start of this chain of events that allowed the wolf to gain enough

influence in the kingdom to threaten the king's very existence.

      Satan well understands the principle of "binding the strong man of the

house" Matthew 12:29. Satan has bound David and is now ready to split the

kingdom. All the preparations have been made. Everyone is in place. Absalom

now knows the king is not a serious threat to his challenge. He is now ready to

take by force what God has deemed him unfit to have.

      This time God does nothing. He drove the wolf out and God‟s man invited

him back now God‟s man will have to deal with him. God will strengthen him but

he will suffer the consequences of deliberate sin.
                           Satan’s fourth attack - The work

                         A. Turning the heart’s of the people

      To split a log a woodsman uses wedges. He drives them into the log.

   First cracking the log then completely splitting it. In the same manner Satan

   uses wedges to split God's work. To prevent this God‟s man needs to know

   what wedges Satan is using and how to counter them.

      The first wedge Satan drives is between the God‟s man and the people.

He does this to gain a following for the wolf. These followers are then used as

soldiers in the upcoming battle. It is at this point that people start taking sides.

Battle lines are drawn. Issues begin to be brought up. These issues do not have

to be true, only emotional. The first issue Satan raises is that of authority II

Samuel 15:1-2.
             1) And it came to pass after this that Absalom prepared him chariots and horses,
             and fifty men to run before him. 2) And Absalom rose up early, and stood beside
             the way of the gate; and it was so, that when any man that had a controversy
             came to the king for judgement, that Absalom called unto him and said, Of what
             city art thou? and he said, Thy servant is one of the tribes of Israel.

      Absalom presents himself as having the same authority as the king.

Satan knows a divided kingdom can‟t stand. Once the issue of leadership is

raised Satan has a divided kingdom. All he has to do now is to drive another

wedge and enlarge the crack.

      In his first steps toward overthrowing the kingdom Absalom has laid the

groundwork for his own defeat. He has miscalculated in three areas. Absalom's

first miscalculation was in misjudging Satan. Absalom thought himself to be

more important than he was. He sees himself as unexpendable. Everyone is

expendable to Satan. Satan will use anyone or anything to lead people astray.
He has no greater feeling for the one he uses than the one he leads astray. He

hates them all equally. Once their usefulness is over he will discard the leader

as easily as the followers. Satan gives no second chance to those he uses.

       Absalom's second miscalculation was in misjudging God.                                   God, unlike

Satan, is in the business of forgiveness and second chances. God may be slow

to anger but He does anger. Absalom has mistaken God's patience for God's

approval.   Just because God doesn‟t punish a person immediately does not

mean He approves of their actions.

       Absalom's third miscalculation was in misjudging himself.                                  Absalom

wanted the privileges of being king without the responsibilities. That is why he is

willing to take shortcuts to obtain the office.                    He is not willing to earn the

kingdom.     He wants the authority over people but not the responsibility for

others lives. It was these miscalculations that lead to his downfall.

       This brings up a very interesting question. Since God knew the rebellion

would fail, why allow it? The answer to this question lies in I Kings 18:25-41. In

the contest between Jehovah and Baal, Elijah tells the people in verse 40-41,

"You let them in, you must drive them out". God had already driven the wolf out

and his being allowed back was a conscious act of the king against God's will.

Now the wolf must be driven out. God will also use the split to remove future

stumbling blocks to the kingdom (Romans 14:13).

       Once Satan has another authority among God's people the question is

how does he get the people to follow him? The answer is simple. He has the

false leader point out the king's errors II Samuel 15:3.
              3) And Absalom said unto him, See, thy matters are good and right; but there is
             no man deputed of the king to hear thee.

      The only problem with Absalom's accusation was that it was true. It is one

thing for a leader to have enemies trying to take his people. It is quite another

for him to provide them with the ammunition they need to accomplish the task. If

God‟s man is not performing his God given responsibilities someone else will.

Everyone has aspects of their job they don‟t like. The pastorate is no different.

These are usually the areas that need the most attention. God‟s man has to set

aside the time to perform these task. He needs the discipline that comes by

doing them. It is usually in performing these tasks that he learns new truths

about God.

      Once Absalom has pointed out the king's errors he can now tell everyone

how well he would have performed these tasks II Samuel 15:4-6.
             4) Absalom said moreover, Oh that I were made Judge in the land, that every
             man which hath any suit or cause might come unto me, I would do him justice!
             5) And it was so, that when any man came nigh to him to do him obeisance, he
             put forth his hand, and took him, and kissed him. 6) And on this manner did
             Absalom to all Israel that came to the king for judgement: so Absalom stole the
             hearts of the men of Israel.

      It is easy to know how a job should be done. It is quite another to be able

to perform that job properly day after day. Absalom's lack of ability caused God

to rule him unfit to be king. This ruling, however, did not stop Absalom's from

desiring to be king. Absalom set out t poison the people‟s confidence in their

king. He did this with promises. Promises he knew he would not have to keep.

He promised them a fair deal in verse four implying they are not getting one now.

God's man has to be fair with his people. He can‟t have two standards. He

already knows that when he judges 50% of the people will disagree with him.

The only way he can gain a reputation of being fair is by being consistent (II
Timothy 4:1-2). If he is consistent with his people they will find it easy to trust

and follow him.

       Absalom gave the people a friendly greeting. Absalom was available to

the people. He was not stand-offish. He made them feel like he cared about

them even though he didn‟t. His purpose was using them to get the kingdom

away from David. If a wolf can make people think he cares when he doesn‟t

then why can't God's man show he cares when he does? It could be that a wolf

does not carry the weight of the kingdom. He only carries the joy of his own

greed. God's man can learn a lesson here. He can‟t let the burden of the job

weigh him down. He has to treat each situation as a first time event. Once he

loses the joy he had when he first entered the ministry and it becomes just a job

he is ripe for the picking.

       Then Absalom takes away the last thing God's people have, their hope.

He then replaces it with a false hope. Once the people lose faith in their leader

there is nothing to prevent them from scattering. Once scattered, they will follow

any strong personality. That is why Absalom was able to steal the hearts of the

people. In any kingdom with more than one strong personality, only one will

dominate. If neither one will submit then one will have to go. If God's man shows

fear or weakness Satan will use it to drive a wedge between him and his people.

       Once Satan has taken the king's people it is then time for him to drive his

second wedge into the crack. In doing so he will completely split the work. Until

this wedge is used, the king can still be victorious without a split. The work may

splinter but a split can be avoided.    However, once the wolf gets the king's
throne, his authority, the king is in a battle for his life.

                                 B. Taking the king’s throne

       The wolf has two means at his disposal to take the king's authority. First

he lies to the king II Samuel 15:7-9.
               7) And it came to pass after forty years, that Absalom said unto the king, I pray
               thee, let me go and pay my vow, which I have vowed unto the lord, in Hebron. 8)
               For thy servant vowed a vow while I abode at Gershur in Syria saying, If the Lord
               shall bring me again indeed to Jersalem, then I will serve the LORD. 9) And the
               king said unto him, Go in peace. So he arose, and went to Hebron.

       He does this by misrepresenting spiritual facts. (Note in verse 7 the term

forty years should read four years.)                    Notice how the wolf places an air of

spirituality around his actions. "I made a vow, now let me pay it." What gall!

Instead of letting God use him he is using God. Absalom was in rebellion while

in Geshur. How could he have made a spiritual decision while walking in the

world? God's man has to be on guard against those who use spiritual lies for

their own good. Taking verses out of context or even lying about scriptural facts

is not beneath a wolf. A wolf can always point to a Scripture to prove that what

the king is doing is wrong. Remember Satan used Scripture in an attempt to

mislead Jesus. One puzzling fact is if the wolf is so convinced that what God's

man is doing is wrong, then why does he work with him? Surely the work can be

straightened out without harming God‟s people or God‟s work.

       On this matter of making spiritual decisions I would like to interject a

personal thought. I will confess two things before I do. First, I know this will not

set well with the majority of people in today's churches. Second, I do not have a

simple answer to the question. I just offer it as food for thought. I can't help but

wonder about the matter of church votes.                        I know that in America we value
everyone's right to make there own decisions. However, I question the wisdom

of placing spiritual decisions in the hands of carnal believers.                                    I am not

suggesting that people have no say in the governing of the church. I simply

wonder if most decisions shouldn‟t be made by a governing board. The only

problem with this is that the wolf is usually on the board. This is just one of the

things I think about.

       In the passage before us we find another way Absalom tricked the king.

Absalom falsely raised the king's hopes. David had been praying for Absalom

for the last four years. Absalom now leads the king to believe his prayers have

been answered. When in actuality this is only the lull before the storm. God's

man has to keep in mind that he is dealing with a wolf, not just a backslidden

Christian. Anyone who has been in God's service very long has learned that

when things appear to be going God's way, watch out. God's man has to be led

by the Holy Spirit and not by the way things appear.

       Absalom is now prepared to drive the third wedge into God‟s work. He is

going to take the king's authority. He is now going to place worldly people in

Spiritual places II Samuel 15:10-12.
              10) But Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel saying, As soon as
              ye hear the sound of the trumpet, then ye shall say, Absalom reigneth in Hebron.
              11) And with Absalom went two hundred men out of Jerusalem, that were called:
              and they went in their simplicity, and they knew not any thing. 12) And Absalom
              sent for Ahithopel the Gilonite, David's counselor, from his city, even from Giloh,
              while he offered sacrifices. And the conspiracy was strong; for the people
              increased continually with Absalom.

       Absalom knows that if the rebellion is to succeed it has to have the

appearance of being Godly. If people who have authority are behind a rebellion

then it will appear to have God's backing. However, God never approves of

rebellion, no matter who is behind it. "For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft..." I
Samuel 15:23. God will use the rebellion to accomplish His will but He never

approves of the rebellion. Absalom knew that what he was doing was wrong.

That is why his plans were made in secret. God's man has to keep in mind that

wolves are carnal, not stupid.

       Absalom did another thing that was intelligent on his part. He infiltrated

the king's inner circle verse 12. Absalom knew where to find a kindred spirit.

When we see who Ahitaphel was, we understand why he was only too willing to

help. When II Samuel 11:3 is compared with II Samuel 23:34 we discover that

Ahiphaphel was Bathsheba's grandfather. He had reason to hate David and to

help Absalom. This is another case of David's past actions coming back to haunt

him.

       This brings us back to a previously discussed problem. That is letting

carnal believers make spiritual decisions.    What has to be done with carnal

believers is to minimize their influence. This means not placing them in positions

of authority. If they already have positions of authority remove them as soon as

possible. There will be trouble in removing them if not done in a Godly manner.

It must be both in God's way and in God's time. I had one pastor tell me of a

case where it took over three years to remove a wolf. But by waiting it was the

wolf's supporters that demanded his removal, thus preventing a confrontation

between the pastor and the wolf.

       In this passage we discover how people with kindred spirits find each

other. People, like water, will seek their own level. Therefore God's man needs

to be constantly aware of who is spending time with whom. We have all heard
the expression that "One person is not good for another person". Well the truth

is that they are not good for each other. Rebels bring out the rebellion in other

rebels.

                                    C. Attacking the king

      It has finally happened Absalom has split the kingdom and war has been

declared. Absalom first took the king's people and then the king's authority. He

is now secure enough to attack the king himself II Samuel 15:13-14.
             13) And there came a messenger to David, saying. The hearts of the men of
             Israel are after Absalom. 14) And David said unto all his servants that were with
             him at Jerusalem, Arise, and let us flee; for we shall not else escape from
             Absalom: make speed to depart, lest he overtake us suddenly, and bring evil
             upon us, and smite the city with the edge of a sword.


      David was taken by surprise. He did not allow himself to see the obvious.

With all Absalom had done, David never allowed himself to believe that things

could have ever gone this far. David was hoping that sin would do something

that sin never does, get better on its own. David's lack of action has brought war

to Israel. David did not want the war but it is now upon him. David now must do

something he has put off for four years. He has to face Absalom's rebellion. Is it

not amazing how God forces us to eventually face those things we put off. No

matter how long we put them off, God brings us face to face with them. We also

notice that our fears are like a river. They are small at the beginning and can be

easily crossed. However, the longer they are allowed to meander, the wider they

become and more difficult to cross.

      David no longer has to decide what to do with Absalom. Absalom has

made that decision for him. David now only has to decide where and when to

fight. Once the war is forced upon God‟s man the only advantage left to him is
the decision of where and when the battle will take place. "Do I fight now or do I

run to fight later or do I give it all to the wolf without a fight?" Remember John

10:12 the hireling runs when the wolf comes. That verse eliminates one decision

for God's man. He can‟t run. He will fight. It takes courage to face a wolf. It

takes wisdom to know when to face him. David knows that this was just the first

battle in what will be a long costly war. It was wisdom not cowardice that caused

David to leave Jerusalem. If he had stayed he would have been captured and all

would have been lost. You see the only thing worse than God‟s work having two

strong leaders is God‟s work having only a wolf for a leader.

       David also knew something else about splitting God's work. Splitting is

not the way God increases His work. When God is directing a division within His

work there is peace and harmony. The outcome of such a division is best for

everyone. David knew there was no harmony here. He knew a war would be

costly. A war would take its toll in sleepless nights. In money that could be better

spent in advancing the kingdom. The greatest cost of all would be in causalities.

Yes, David would lose friends. Once his worst fear was losing his son. He will

now lose much more. It is hard to say, but sometimes you must sacrifice parts in

order to preserve the body. Yes, sacrifices will be made and for that reason

God's man can never afford to lose the war. David knows that if he loses the

war, he also loses his ministry. He may not have wanted to lead. He has tried

ever since his sin with Bathsheba to feel sorry for himself.         He has tried

everything in his power to get out of doing what God called him to do. That is

now behind him. Now he will fight. He can no longer say "If only I had....". He
will now face God's enemy, his son, the wolf, Absalom. Thank God that He will

not allow his king to run forever. God not only allows the war so the king will act

like a king but God promises the victory if the war is conducted His way. That is

the rest of this study. God's campaign against a wolf.
                            Response to Satan’s attack

                              A. The kings response


       We have all heard the saying “It‟s always darkest just before the dawn”.

Unfortunately for David dawn is a long way off. Satan has used the wolf to split

God‟s work. David is in a fight for his life. It is at this point that the cavalry

should come to the rescue of the encircled wagon train but this is not about to

happen. Things are going to get a lot worse before they get better. You see God

has used the events to work in David‟s life. David must now take a refresher

course in God‟s boot camp before he can again perform as a king. Since time is

at a premium, David has to relearn a great deal in a short period of time. It is

from these early decisions that victory will come. David has to relearn how to

follow God. David has to now react in a Godly manner to everything God allows

in his path, proving he once again can lead. Not to God but himself as well as

others. If God had been through with David He would have removed him long

ago. David has to regain confidence in himself. He has to exercise his spiritual

muscles in order to rule in a Godly manner. The wolf has God‟s man in a fight

for his life and God has him in the training session of his life.

       David‟s response is crucial.      His response under these conditions is

justification of God‟s confidence in him. Some may say, “If that is so, why did he

run? Could not God deliver him from Absalom as He did from Goliath?” The

question is not could God but rather would God. Does not the same Bible that

says, “resist the Devil” (James 4:7) also say, “flee youthful lust” (II Timothy 2:22)?

David knew that different enemies have to be fought in different ways. You never
fight an enemy from within the same way you fight one from without. Problems

arise when God‟s leaders run when they should resist and resist when they

should run. In either case they will lose. David was calm in the midst of turmoil

thus allowing the Holy Spirit to direct him. David now makes five very important

decisions that lead to his eventual victory.

       First, David accepts the help of his proven servants II Samuel 15:15.
              15) And the king‟s servants said unto the king, Behold, thy servants are ready to
              do whatsoever my lord the king shall appoint.


       Goliath was not too big for David to tackle alone but Absalom was and

David knew it. In the case of Goliath it was God‟s people against Satan‟s forces.

This time it is God‟s people against God‟s people. It is for that reason David

knew he needed help. Not just help from anyone but from those servants who

had proven themselves in the past. They would make up the nucleus of his

future army. He does not have time now to regain the loyalty of the majority. He

must have those about him that still love him and understand that no matter

what, David is still God‟s anointed king in Israel.

       The second thing David did was to provide for his own peace of mind II

Samuel 15:16-18.
              16) And the king went forth, and all his household after him. And the king left ten
              women, which were concubines, to keep the house. 17) And the king went forth,
              and all the people after him, and tarried in a place that was afar off. 18) And all
              his servants passed on beside him; and all the Cherethites, and all the
              Pelethites, and all the Gittites, six hundred men which came after him from
              Gath, passed on before the king.


       In II Timothy 2:4 Paul said:
              “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may
              please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”
      David took Paul‟s advice several hundred years before Paul gave it. David

knew he had to put everything out of his mind except Absalom. That did not

mean forsaking all that he had just prioritized. David entrusted his home and

even his own safety to people on whom he could depend.

      Today‟s leaders, when faced by a wolf have the same concerns. God has

always proven Himself faithful, but our human nature is still with us! The leader

has a family to provide for. He has obligations that have to be met. He has

placed himself between God‟s people and a wolf. Oh, he has a promise of

ultimate victory but he does not have a promise of no wounds. If the wounds

cost him his livelihood, what then? Well, he can always sell insurance. Then we

have another potential wolf on our hands. Please, do not misunderstand me, I

am not minimizing God‟s provision, I only want to show the danger involved in

the upcoming battle. Satan does not mind loosing a wolf. He knows that if the

battle is costly enough he may be able to transform the former king into a wolf.

Satan only wants to harm God‟s work. What better way to hurt God‟s work then

to transform shepherds into wolves. This is why God‟s leader provided for his

own peace of mind. God even places people there for that reason. David did

not let his bruised ego overwhelm him. He accepted God‟s way out. He used

what God provided in doing so he provided for his household and allowed his

efforts to be focused on the upcoming campaign. David did not choose a good

course of action, he chose the best course of action.

      The third course of action David takes shows he is starting to get serious

about Absalom II Samuel 15:19-22.
              19) Then said the king to Ittai the Gittite, wherefore goest thou also with us?
              return to thy place and abide with the king; for thou are a stranger, and also an
              exile. 20) Whereas thou camest but yesterday, should I this day make thee go
              up and down with us? seeing I go whither I may return thou, and take back thy
              brethern: mercy and truth be with thee. 21) And Ittai answered the king, and
              said, As the LORD liveth, and as my lord the king liveth surely in what place my
              lord the king shall be whether in death or life, even there also will thy servant be.
              22) And David said to Ittai, Go and pass over, And Ittai the Gittite passed over,
              and all his men and all the little ones that were with him.
       David releases his friends from any false sense of loyalty. David wants to

know exactly where those around him stand. He does not want their allegiance

because of what they hope to gain. He does not call in any past favors they may

owe him. He wants them where they feel comfortable. He wants them to make

up their own mind without any pressure. David also knew that he could only use

those who understood the true need of the hour. David wanted Ittai to settle the

issue with himself and with God. Once Ittai did this he could not then blame

David for any hardships to come.                     David allowed his friend the freedom of

choice. He understood that he may disapprove or even be hurt by their choice

but David allowed God to direct them. He did not try to twist their arm.

       David knew he had made some serious mistakes. He also knew that his

sins might have caused his friends to lose confidence in him. That is why David

allowed them to choose for themselves. David‟s reward for allowing God to do

the directing came immediately. Ittai will follow David as long as they and God

lives. This is the same answer Naomi got when she allowed Ruth the same

freedom. Ah, you say, but Orpah decided to leave. That was okay. There was

only one Boaz and he did not have any brothers anyway. Nothing can be more

rewarding than the faithfulness of a friend that has seen you fail, but still believes

in you. He is one who knows all about you and loves you in spite of what he
knows. God allows a friend like this as a special reward. If God‟s man has never

had a friend such as this, he has missed one of the greatest joys of the ministry.

      The fourth action David takes is to keep a proper perspective of God II

Samuel 15:23.
             23) And all the country wept with a loud voice, and all the people passed over;
             the king also himself passed over the brook Kidron, and all the people passed
             over, toward the way of the wilderness.


      David does two things here that shows he has regained his perspective of

God. That same freshness he had as a youth. That same confidence that

sustained him while protecting his father‟s sheep. That same understanding that

caused him to reply to Saul, “Is there not a cause?” That same courage that

enabled him to defeat Goliath. David is no longer the indecisive king that aided

the wolf in his rebellion. He has gained his second wind. He has a new desire

and determination to see this thing through. No, this time David will not quit

because he knows who the real loser will be, God‟s people.

      David knows that no matter the outcome, it is always God‟s work and

God‟s people that lose during a split. Even if the wolf and God‟s man get half the

people each, there is a looser. Even if there is no loss of life or property, God‟s

people loose! Yes, there will be those who say, “Now we have two works going

on for God”. That simply just is not the case. What we have is a sudo-work born

of rebellion trying to outwardly appear to be Godly. The problem will be that they

may conform to the letter of God‟s law but they can never conform to the spirit of

the law. They will always have the same spirit as their founding father, the wolf,

the spirit of rebellion. The only cure for the spirit of rebellion is the same cure

their father rejected. They must repent and submit but this is not easy for a wolf
to do. Even sadder than the work itself is the number of Godly men these works

have swallowed up in the course of their life time. Just as Israel devoured and

stoned the prophets these works will destroy Godly men that could have born

fruit elsewhere. Let me add here that there have been exceptions but very few.

There is a scriptural way to bring these works back to a Godly path but that is

another study.

        Then there is the group who followed God‟s appointed leader and they too

are losers. They will carry the stigma of the split for years. Instead of advancing

they will have to retake old ground. They will have to heal before they can

advance.

        If the wolf had not been allowed back then the work would not have split.

Things would have been different. The parasites that were sapping the life from

the body would have been removed and the body would have started the healing

process. How fast the body heals will depend upon how healthy it was before

the split.

        The second thing that David does that shows he is getting back to his old

self is that he starts obeying God‟s Word again II Samuel 15:24-26.
              24) And lo Zadok also, and all the Levites were with him, bearing the ark of the
              covenant of God: and they set down the ark of God; and Abiathar went up, until
              all the people had done passing out of the city. 25) And the king said unto
              Zadok, Carry back the ark of God into the city: if I shall find favour in the eyes of
              the LORD, he will bring me again, and shew me both it, and his habitation: 26)
              But if he thus say, I have no delight in thee; behold, here am I, let him do to me
              as seemeth good unto him.


        David‟s first act of obedience was in obeying an old truth. He had to do

this before he could expect God to give him any new insights. David knew from

Numbers 4:15 that the ark belonged in the tabernacle of the congregation. He

understood all to well that the ark was not the king‟s private plaything. The ark
was given to the people not to the king. The king was given to protect the people

and direct them to God. How could David do this if he takes the ark - God‟s

symbol of His presence. Besides, David remembers all to well that misusing of

the ark cost lives.

       David knew the story in I Samuel 4 where Israel tried to force God to do

things their way. He understood that the ark was not something that man could

use to get God to do his bidding. Today we do not have the ark so this is not a

danger in our congregations. We do not have such a weapon to turn upon God

and say “The ark is here now you must obey”. Today believer only have to pray

and everyone knows that if you have faith then God has to grant whatever you

ask. Right! Yes, Believers in our day can be thankful that we do not have

anything to misuse and abuse like the ark.

       The next step David takes out of the slim pit is to tell Zadok to stay in

Jerusalem II Samuel 15:27-29.
              27)The king said also unto Zadok the priest, Art not thou a seer? return into the
              city in peace, and your two sons with you, Ahimaaz thy son, and Jonathan the
              son of Abiathar. 28) See, I will tarry in the plain of the wilderness, until there
              come word from you to certify me. 29) Zadok therefore and Abiathar carried the
              ark of God again to Jerusalem: and they tarried there.


       It is interesting that David sent the priest back. It is easy to lose sight of

the fact that God has people on both sides of an issue. Even those who are

wrong are still His and need to be cared for. David realized that Zadok and

Abiathar had jobs to do and made it possible for them to obey God‟s will for their

lives. No king can be successful if he prevents others from performing their God

given duties. Even if those duties are to the king‟s enemies. David and the

priest remained friends. The priest‟s actions of staying in Jerusalem were not out
of rebellion but of duty. I also believe that these men prayed for David and his

men daily which had no small part in the victory. Allowing them to perform their

God given assignments they were willing and able to help the king regain his

rightful place as head of God‟s work when he came back to Jerusalem.

        The third step David takes out of the slime pit was to start worshiping God

again II Samuel 15:30-32.
              30) And David went up by the ascent of mount Olivet, and wept as he went up,
              and had his head covered, and he went barefoot: and all the people that was
              with him covered every man his head, and they went up, weeping as they went
              up. 31) And one told David, saying, Ahithophel is among the conspirators with
              Absalom. And David said, O LORD, I pray thee, turn the counsel of Ahithophel
              into foolishness. 32) And it came to pass, that when David was come to the top
              of the mount, where he worshipped God, behold, Hushai the Archite came to
              meet him with his coat rent, and earth upon his head:


        I would like to know the number of times in the last four years that David

tried to reason things out. The number of times he has argued with God. The

number of times he screamed, “WHY?” out of sheer desperation. How many

times, in total frustration, he just did nothing. Well, that is all behind him now.

He has relearned the art of worship. Worship comes from both the heart and the

head.    When worship comes from the head alone you have cold orthodoxy.

When worship comes from the heart alone you have sentimentality. Worship

has to be a balance of faith and knowledge.

        David is now allowing the problems he faces to direct him back safely into

the arms of God. David is regaining his perspective of who God is. Oh, for

awhile, David allowed the flesh to harden his heart against God. Then in verse

30 we see that God is wetting David‟s heart with his tears. Thereby causing

David to become pliable in the hands of God. And God can and will accomplish

great thing with anyone who is pliable in His hands. This process does not
happen all at once. Just as backsliding does not happen all at once. It happens

step by step, heartache by heartache but David is climbing out of the slim pit so

Absalom look out David is back.

         We should not loose sight of why David was weeping before God. He

was not only weeping because of what had happened but also because of who

God is. David knew that God was in total control. David knew that only God

could turn Ahithaphel‟s counsel into foolishness. But how God would accomplish

it David did not know nor did he care. He only knew that God could and would

do it.     David was looking beyond the circumstances to the God of the

circumstances. If he couldn‟t have looked beyond the circumstances I am sure

he would have quit trying and given up.

         Every pastor under attack has to be able to look beyond the attack and

discover what God is doing, and to honestly look into his own life in order to

discover why God has allowed the attack. He has to submit to God allowing God

to work in his life. This is a very difficult process but for God‟s man, as well as

the work to become fruitful, it must be done.

         The fifth thing we see David doing that assures victory is preparing for the

battle. It is interesting that this is the last thing we see David doing. First David

prepared himself, then he prepared for the battle. David understood that the

upcoming battle was God‟s and to properly prepare for it he had to be right with

God, because God will be directing the battle.        It is only after the king has

prepared himself and cares for those under him can he then turn his attention to

the battle. The nature of a shepherd is God first, sheep second, himself last. A
hireling would care for his own needs first then with the time left he would care

for the sheep. David may not have always been right but he has always been a

shepherd first. With an attitude like this no wonder people will follow him. King

David was not a hireling.

       David prepared for the battle by placing people where they could be best

used by God II Samuel 15:32-37.
              32) And it came to pass, that when David was come to the top of the mount,
              where he worshipped God, behold, Hushai the Archite came to meet him with his
              coat rent, and earth upon his head: 33) Unto whom David said, If thou passest
              on with me, then thou shalt be a burden unto me: 34) But if thou return to the
              city, and say unto Absalom, I will be thy servant, O king; as I have been thy
              father‟s servant hitherto, so will I now also be thy servant: then mayest thou for
              me defeat the counsel of Ahithophel. 35) And hast thou not there with thee
              Zadok and Abiathar the priests? therefore it shall be, that what thing soever thou
              shalt hear out of the king‟s house, thou shalt tell it to Zadok and Abiathar the
              priests. 36) Behold, they have there with them their two sons, Ahimaaz Zadok‟s
              son, and Jonathan Abiathar‟s son; and by them ye shall send unto me every
              thing that ye can hear. 37) So Hushai David‟s friend came into the city, and
              Absalom came into Jerusalem.


       David was not using people. He was placing them where God could use

them. David knew that he was responsible for the damage done to God‟s work

and he wanted to fix it. He also knew that the removal of the wolf was his

responsibility. David knows that the Kingdom is God‟s not his. That makes the

upcoming battle God‟s not David‟s. Once David was able to communicate this

truth to the people he did not have to beg for their support they gave it willingly.

       David knew that Husha could best be used in getting information to him.

Let me say here that I don‟t have an answer for verse 34 where David asked

Husai to lie. This you will have to work out for yourself. The fact is Husha did lie

and God did use it. David knew his people. He knew their ability and where God

could use them. He could have only learned this by spending time with them.

David‟s wisdom in putting the right person in the right job could have only come

from God. Putting the wrong person in a job will only lead to disaster. It‟s never
enough to have someone fill an office it has to be the person God wants there

the time God wants them there. Moses, the son of pharaoh‟s daughter, was the

wrong man to deliverer Israel but Moses, the shepherd, was the right man for the

job. The person and the office have to match.


                              B. The response of the people


      There are four basic attitudes expressed by the people involved. First,

people who will not take sides. Second, people who want God's man to get his.

Third, people who remain loyal to God and His chosen leader. Fourth, people

who only want to advance their own goal. God‟s man has to know how to deal

with each group.

      First we look at those who want get involved II Samuel 16:1-4.
             [1] And when David was a little past the top of the hill, behold, Ziba the servant of
             Mephibosheth met him, with a couple of asses saddled, and upon them two
             hundred loaves of bread, and an hundred bunches of raisins, and an hundred of
             summer fruits, and a bottle of wine. 2) And the king said unto Ziba, What
             meanest thou by these? And Ziba said, The asses be for the king's household to
             ride on; and the bread and summer fruit for the young men to eat; and the wine,
             that such as be faint in the wilderness may drink. 3) And the king said, And
             where is thy master's son? and Ziba said unto the king, Behold, he abideth at
             Jerusalem: for he said, To day shall the house of Israel restore me the kingdom
             of my father. 4) Then said the king to Ziba, Behold, thine are all that pertained
             unto Mephibosheth. And Ziba said, I humbly beseech thee that I may find grace
             in thy sight, my lord, O king.


      To understand what is going on in these verses, we must understand who

Ziba and Mephibosheth are. For background you need to read II Samuel 4:4

and 9:1-13. In these verses, we discover that Mephibosheth was Jonathan's son

and Saul's grandson. Ziba was once one of Saul's servants. Mephibosheth was

lame from infancy because of an accident. Because David and Jonathan were

very close David gave Mephibosheht all of King Saul's land and Ziba to care for

him. This all took place about twenty years prior to Absalom's rebellion.
      While David was running from Absalom, Ziba met him a little past the top

of the hill. Ziba presented David with food, drink and transportation, verses 1-2.

When David inquired as to the whereabouts of Mephibosheth's son, he was told

the young man was safe in Jerusalem, verse 3. This is typical of someone who

does not want to get involved. They will give reasons why they want get involved

but in this case his reasons were personal. Mephiobsheth's son was hoping that

David and Absalom would kill each other and the people would return him to the

throne once held by his great grandfather Saul. He cared nothing of the cost to

God's people. He cared only for himself. As long as he did not have to pay he

did not care who did. He did not care that he could not advance the kingdom.

He only cared for his own goals.       Believing that more things brings more

happiness. He didn‟t understand that happiness and joy are both functions of

the spirit and not dictated by circumstance. Changing circumstances will not

produce happiness but changing the attitude will.

      Mephibosheth's son was not a wolf, nor could he ever be. He would

never have the courage to openly attack David. He knew it was David's hand

that fed him. Strange, but the very thing that kept him from being a wolf, also

disqualified him from ever being a king. God's man has to have the courage of

their convictions. Mephibosheth's son was willing to let others do the fighting

while he played both sides. When God was looking for a man to make up the

hedge and stand in the gap Mephibosheth's son declined.

      Ziba, on the other hand, understood exactly what God was doing. He

wanted to align himself and his household with God's action. He knew that he
could not fight but he did what he could.                     He was a faithful steward of his

master's goods. With or without Mephibosheth's approval we are not told, he

used his master's goods for his master's benefit. The reason for his action was

not rebellion. He was working for his master, not against him. He used his

master's wealth for this master's benefit. It‟s a sad thing when a servant has

more understanding than his master. The problem with being a master is that it

is too easy to forget that you also have a master. Ziba did serve two masters

and by serving the greater, he served them both very well.

      Second, we look at those who oppose God‟s man. This person has the

attitude, "Now you get yours". They differ from Mephibosheth's son in that they

are not necessarily out for their own gain. They are just happy to see God's man

in trouble. They only want to see God‟s man hurting. This person has been

offended by something that has happened. Since they are driven by that offense

there will be no reasoning with them. They do not want to hear the facts their

mind is made up. They can‟t see beyond their own rage to comprehend the truth

II Samuel 16:5-6.
             5) And when king David came to Bahurim, behold, thence came out a man of the
             family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shemei the son of Gera: he came
             forth, and cursed still as he came. 6) And he cast stones at David and at all the
             servants of king David; and all the people and all the mighty men were on his
             right hand and on his left.


      This person can‟t and won‟t see what God is doing. He refuses to see

that God is working on the king.                 He only wants God‟s man punished, not

corrected, just hurting like he is hurting. No matter what disaster God allows into

His leader‟s life it is not enough. He does not want justice. He wants a pound of

flesh. The only cure he sees for his hurt and pain is to hurt God‟s man. He
blames God‟s man for his condition. He refuses to accept any blame. Since he

can‟t punch God in the nose, he will settle for the next best thing - punching

God's man. He loves it when the king is down and will do all in his power to keep

him there. Since he has no victory in his life, he resents anyone who is willing to

put forth the effort to climb out of the slime pit of despair.

       The thing he does best is to judge the king's past life. Forgiveness for

others is not in his vocabulary II Samuel 16:7-8.
               7) And thus said Shimei, when he cursed, Come out, come out, thou bloody
               man, and thou man of Belial: 8) The Lord hath returned upon thee all the blood
               of the house of Saul, in whose stead thou hast reigned; and the Lord hath
               delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom thy son: and behold, thou are
               taken in thy mischief because thou are a bloody man.


       In verse 7 the term Belial means worthless or wicked man. Shimei here is

judging David for his past actions. Some of his accusations were right and some

were wrong. His accusation in verse 8 that God has placed David in this trouble

is correct. However his reasoning is incorrect. This is an excellent case of a

man reaching a correct conclusion for all the wrong reasons. David was in this

mess because of his sin in chapter 11, not for replacing Saul. It was God who

replaced Saul, not David. David was just the man God chose to fill the vacancy

created by Saul being removed.

       The way David responded to Shimei is the way God‟s man has to respond

to the Shimeis within the church II Samuel 16:9-10.
               9) Then said Abishai the son of Zeruiah unto the king, Why should this dead dog
               curse my lord, the king? Let me go over, I pray thee and take off his head. 10)
               And the king said, What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah? so let him
               curse David, who shall then say, Wherefore hast thou done so?


       David shows a great deal of grace. He held the power of life and death

over Shimei.     If it is true that meekness is power under control then David
showed a great deal of meekness. The question that comes to mind is why did

David react the way he did? First of all David looked beyond Shimei to the God

who was directing him. David may have been innocent of Shimei's charges but

he was guilty of sin. David remembered what God had said in II Samuel 12:11.

Therefore David accepted the rebuke as from God and protected the one who

delivered it. This is proof of David‟s character. He protected Saul twice. When

God uses someone to point out something in our life whether we like the

message or not, we must not strike back.                       If we do then we force God to

reemphasize the message.

         David understood that a recipient of God's mercy has the obligation to be

merciful to others. David understood the principle found in Proverbs 16:7. He

knew that anyone could repay evil for evil but God requires good for evil. Since

David had accepted God's protection, he then was required to give that same

protection. David was willing to let God settle the account and collect any debt

owed II Samuel 16:11-12.
               11) And David said to Abishai, and to all his servants, Behold, my son, which
               came forth of my bowels, seeketh my life: how much more now may this
               Benjamite do it? let him alone, and let him curse; for the LORD hath bidden
               him. 12) It may be that the LORD will look on mine afflictions, and that the
               LORD will requite me good for his cursing this day.


         If Shimei owed David anything, he owed God much more. By allowing

God to collect any debt, David grew in stature before God and in the sight of his

men. David refused to be drawn into a debate that he could not win. He did not

try to "...answer a fool according to his folly". This incident was directed by Satan

to further draw David down. But David used the incident to help him grow in

grace.
       Each time the king meets a person such as Shimei he has to regain his

perspective of the battle II Samuel 16:13-14.
              13) And David and his men went by the way, Shimei went along on the hill's side
              over against him, and cursed as he went, and threw stones at him, and cast
              dust. 14) And the king, and all the people that were with him, came weary, and
              refreshed themselves there.


       At this point the temptation is to throw up your hands and say, "Who

cares" or "What does it matter". All David needs is for someone to tell him how

sorry he is. This could have only added to his depression. God‟s man can‟t

afford the luxury of self pity. Satan will attack him with self pity but he can‟t afford

to be overcome by it. He has to quickly come back to reality. The only way to

come back to reality is to be refreshed. If God‟s man has no one to go to he has

to learn to draw on the Holy Spirit. If God‟s man does not learn the art of self

refreshing Satan will work him to death. David had a battle to fight, a kingdom to

defend.   He could not be side tracked by Shimei nor could he afford to be

overtaxed by Shimei's attack. God‟s man can‟t afford to get so involved in minor

battles that he looses the war. He can‟t let himself be spread so thin that he

becomes ineffective. He has to learn to let God refresh him, to mount him upon

eagle wings. God's man must rest and he can‟t allow Satan to trick him into

believing that he is wasting time when he does rest.

       Third we look at those who serve God. God always has a remnant who

have not bowed a knee to Baal II Samuel 16:15-19.
              15) And Absalom, and all the people the men of Israel, came to Jerusalem, and
              Ahithophel with him. 16) And it came to pass, when Hushai the Archite, David's
              friend, was come unto Absalom, that Hushai said unto Absalom, God save the
              king. 17) And Absalom said to Hushai, Is this thy kindness to thy friend? Why
              wentest thou not with thy friend? 18) And Hushai said unto Absalom, Nay: but
              whom the LORD, and this people, and all the men of Israel, choose, his will I be,
              and with him will I abide. 19) And again, who should I serve? should I not serve
              in the presence of his son? as I have served in thy father's presence, so will I
              be in thy presence.
      Now that the going has gotten tough, the tough have gotten going. In the

midst of great personal danger, Hushai wanted to be used of God. No matter the

cost to him personally, he wanted to advance God‟s work. He was willing to

place himself in the gap. He would make up the hedge. He was willing to go

into the dragon's den for God.

      Hushai must have been smiling when he watched Absalom enter

Jerusalem. Absalom thought he had accomplished what a lion, a bear, Goliath

and even Saul could not. He has removed David.

      Hushai's reply to Absalom's question in verse 17 is priceless. "Why are

you not with David, is this how you show your friendship?" Hushai's reply in

verse 18-19 was "I serve the king of the people the one God chose to rule

Israel." Absalom was so blinded by his own arrogance that he thought Hushai

was referring to him. Hushai then must have realized how easy his task would

be. This man was so vain he would have believed anything. Hushai would have

no problem defeating the counsel of Ahithlphel.

      When God‟s man can inspire men to this quality of service God's work will

progress. There will be no need for tricks or gimmicks. God Himself will bless

the work. He will not need to fear when he is away. The work is safe and well

guarded. This man is not just another sheep, he is a ram that will fight off a wolf

until his last breath. Hushai was the type of man who spent time with God. He

would pray. He would go where needed. He would give of his wealth to advance

God's work. With men like this God's work can with stand anything thrown at it by

the kingdom of darkness.
                                    C. The Wolf’s response

              We have all seen a dog chase a passing car. My mother used to

say, "I wonder what he would do if he caught it?" That is the position Absalom

finds himself. He is no longer chasing the throne. He now has it. The question

is what is he going to do with it II Samuel 16:20-23?
              20) Then said Absalom to Ahithophel, Give counsel among you what we shall do.
              21) And Ahiphophel said unto Absalom, Go in unto thy father's concubines,
              which he hath left to keep the house; and all Israel shall hear that thou are
              abhorred of thy father: then shall the hands of all that are with thee be strong.
              22) So they spread Absalom a tent upon the top of the house; and Absalom went
              in unto his father's concubines in the sight of all Israel. 23) And the counsel of
              Ahithophel, which he counseled in those days, was as if a man had enquired at
              the oracle of God: so was all the counsel of Ahithophel both with David and with
              Absalom.


       Absalom is about to learn the same lesson that all do who allow their

passion to rule their life. Wanting is one thing, having is quite another. It is the

thrill of the chase not the trophy on the wall that gives pleasure. The problem is

that the trophy has to be dusted. All conquest brings responsibility. Beware of

those who reject that responsibility. A study of Absalom's life will show that he

has rejected responsibilities all his life. God gave him beauty. He used it to

advance his own goal instead of drawing people to God. God gave him wealth.

He used it to commit murder instead of advancing God‟s kingdom. God even

tried to break his rebellious spirit by using Tamar but he refused to trust God for

the outcome. He only wanted to be king not to help his sister. A wolf will always

use others to get what he wants.

       The conclusion reached about a wolf is simple. He has knowledge but not

wisdom. He has a ravenous appetite but is never satisfied. He appears to have

self control but doesn‟t. He wants privileges but not responsibilities. We find his

problem in Proverbs 1:7. I find it interesting that God chose to reveal this truth to
the one who later became the rightful king. The wolf does not fear God. Oh, he

gives lip service to God but his lifestyle proves him a liar. He does not have the

wisdom to use his knowledge. This is proven with one simple question. If he is

wise then why did he become a wolf?

       Another question raised by this passage is why didn't Hushai rebut

Ahithophel's advice to Absalom.      Why let him take his father's concubines?

There were probably three reasons for Hushai's action. First, there is a time and

a place to give counsel. When doing battle with a wolf you had better chose

your battles carefully. If you give counsel at the wrong time all future counsel will

be rejected.

       Second, eventually every wolf will go too far. When he does God uses his

actions to turn his supporters against him. Those former supporters will either

leave or return to God‟s man.

       Third, Absalom did not have time to earn the position of king. God gave

David time to learn to be king.      No such time was given to Absalom.         The

difference between God's blessing or cursing with the same gift is how fast and

easily God gives it. If something comes too quickly or easily there is a tendency

to forget the price paid by others to get God's work to this point. There is usually

a lack of appreciation for what God has given. There is a hopeless gap between

a wolf‟s knowledge and wisdom. If knowledge is knowing facts then wisdom is

the ability to use those facts. It is in the area of wisdom that a wolf is lacking.

Fact, Absalom is now the king. Fact, Absalom has no idea of how to be a king.

Fact, Absalom turned to Satan's advisors for advice. I would like to raise a
question here, one for which that I don‟t have a clear answer. I wonder how

much of a part Ahithophel played behind the scene in Absalom's rebellion. One

of the main reasons for my curiosity is because God sees to it that Ahithophel is

the first one removed. He seems to be the only one in Absalom's camp that

really understands what is going on. We will discuss this in more detail later

when we get into II Samuel 17. This is an excellent argument in favor of an

internship program for those called to make their living of the Gospel.


                                 C God’s response

       It did happen.      God's work did split.     We now have two diametrically

opposed forces fighting for control of God‟s work. But there is nothing new about

that this battle dates back to the garden. I do not pretend to know or understand

why God allows His work to split.        It would seem logical to me for God to

intervene and prevent the split entirely. The only thing I am sure of is that I reject

totally the theory of some well meaning Christians that try to justify a split by

saying, "God's work doubles when there is a split".       The only sound reaction to

that theory is, "hog wash". God's work doubles when it divides not when it splits.

Division is accomplished under the direction of the Holy Spirit. It is done in

harmony and with love expressed by all involved.            Then afterwards, all are

friends and work to advance God's purpose, not only in their life, but also in the

lives of those who left.

       A split occurs when two or more opposing wills clash head on. It is done

in spite of the leading of the Holy Spirit.        There is no love for the brethren

afterwards and the ones no one side don‟t want to see the other side prosper.
The only other fact I am sure of is that early in the process there was something

God's man could have done that could have prevented or at least minimized the

split. That is not an easy thing to say or face but face it we must. David could

have prevented this chain of events entirely if he had only dealt with his sin

before Israel. He could have prevented Amnon‟s sin with Tamar if he had not

been so wrapped up in guilt and self pity and been more attentive to his own

household.    He could have prevented Ammon‟s murder if he had dealt with

Amnon‟s sin of rape. He could have prevented Absalom‟s rebellion if he would

have dealt with Absalom‟s sin of murder. He could have prevented the split if he

had not let Absalom back into the kingdom once God had seen to his removal.

       The bottom line here is that God‟s man has to deal with sin whether it is

his or someone else‟s. Once he deals with his own sin then God can use him to

deal with the sins of others. God has given much to His leaders and as a result

He requires much from them.      God‟s man will never enjoy dealing with the sins

of others. He only has to do it. As a shepherd of God‟s flock he protects the

flock by dealing with sin. If he does not deal with sin then he is simply a hireling.

A hireling will stick his head in the sand and say, "It's not my job” and hope things

will get better but apart from dealing with sin things will never improve. I am

convinced that the way of escape that God provides is simply dealing with the

sin. It is an awesome responsibility to lead God's people.

       The time has come for God to respond. God uses His people to respond

to Satan‟s attack. He moves people like a chess master would moves pieces on

a board placing them where they will be the most effective. At this point in the
match there are only six moves to checkmate. These next six moves by God are

quick and decisive. Let me list them.

      1. Uncovering Satan's plan

      2. Spoiling Satan's plan

      3. Revealing Satan's plan to David

      4. Removing Ahithophel, a very powerful man

      5. Providing for David

      6. The battle for "Checkmate"

      God‟s first move to checkmate is to expose Satan's plan of attack II

Samuel 17:1-4.
             1) Moreover Ahithophel said unto Absalom, let me now choose out twelve
             thousand men, and I will arise and pursue after David this night: 2) And I will
             come upon him while he is weary and weak handed, and will make him afraid:
             and all the people that with him shall flee and I will smite the king only: 3) And I
             will bring back all the people unto thee: the man whom thou seedest is as if all
             returned: so all the people shall be in peace. 4) And the saying pleased Absalom
             well and all the elders of Israel.


      It only takes a casual glance to see that Ahithophel wanted more than

David's defeat. He wanted David's head. And he did not want just anyone to

remove it he wanted that pleasure himself. The counsel Ahithophel gave to

Absalom would have led to David's defeat and for that reason God had to stop it.

God has promised that no weapon formed against His own would prosper.

However, in Satan‟s plan we see some insight into the way Satan attacks God's

people.

      First, Ahithophel wanted to attack David while he was weak and weary.

Satan does not bother attacking a Christian when he is expecting it or when he

has prepared his line of defense. Satan first finds a weakness and then he

exploits it. He waits until the believer is weak and weary and then attacks. A
Christian has to always be on the alert for Satan's attack especially when he

does not feel like fighting.

       There are two times when the believer is more vulnerable than usual.

One is after a spiritual victory. At this time the believer is usually up and will let

his guard down. The other time is during a time of depression. It is normal for

everyone to get depressed but it is not healthy for anyone to stay depressed.

When a believer is depressed he is weak. Keep in mind that once Satan starts

an attack, he will continue to press it until the matter is settled.

       The second phase of Satan's attack is to instill fear in the believer. Over

and over in the Scripture God admonishes the believer to "fear not". Fearing the

enemy is to believe that he can defeat you. If someone believes he will lose a

battle he has already lost. To fear Satan is to give him more power than he

actually has. To resist Satan is to deny him the advantage of fear. A word of

caution here, courage in the face of an enemy is one thing but stupidity is quite

another. Stupidity is to deny that Satan has any power in our lives. As long as

we have the old nature Satan has an influence in our lives. We are tempted

when we are first drawn away of our own lust (James 1:14).

       The third phase in Satan‟s attack was to separate God‟s man form God‟s

people. Satan accomplishes this by either getting them to sin or discouraging

them. Either way Satan has to remove their influence. When the influence of a

Godly leader is removed it is easy to scatter the sheep. With no one to 'make up

the hedge and stand in the gap' the sheep can be driven out of the sheep pen

into Satan's waiting jaws. Once this happens it is every sheep for himself. The
confusion itself will be enough to accomplish Satan's plan. We also notice that

Ahithophel promised to bring the people back. Without a godly leader the sheep

will follow any false cult that comes along.

       The fourth phase of Satan's attack is to offer peace. If there is one thing

everyone wants it is peace. Peace with others and peace with ourselves. When

Satan offers peace the first question should be "At what price?". The problem is

that peace is a function of the spirit and is not controlled by circumstances.

Satan can offer a pacifier or something to numb the pain momentarily but he can

never give peace. How can there be peace without the prince of peace? Still we

hear "If it were not for these outdated ideas there would be peace”. The sad

thing is that these cries come from God‟s people. If God‟s people would only

follow these out dated ideas there would be peace with in the church and the

world would be beating down our door.

       Now that Satan‟s plan of attack has been exposed God is ready for His

second move to checkmate. This move will foil Satan's plan. To do this God

uses three character traits of a wolf against him II Samuel 17:5-7.
              5) Then said Absalom, Call now Hushai the archite also, and let us hear likewise
              what he saith. 6) And when Hushai was come to Absalom, Absalom spake unto
              him, saying, Ahitophel hath spoken after this manner: shall we do after his
              saying? if not, speak thou. 7) And Hushai said unto Absalom, The counsel that
              Ahithophel hath given is not good at this time.


       Hushai used Absalom's own insecurity against him.                                   He was smart

enough to see that Absalom had reservations about Ahitophel's plan. If Absalom

was convinced the plan would work he would never have asked Hushai for his

advice.   Hushai was also smart enough not to openly challenge Ahithophel.

Ahithophel was still a very powerful influence for evil in the kingdom and Hushai
did not want to say anything that would lead to his own death. His position in the

court has not yet been established and if the real reason for his being there were

revealed he would surely be put to death. This is typical of our God to place

those who wish to be used under the most adverse conditions and then use

them to turn the tide long before the battle begins. Just keep in mind that those

who risk nothing gain nothing.

        Hushai walked very circumspectly in the court of Absalom. He used the

only weapon at his command. Absalom's own insecurity. If there is one thing a

wolf has plenty of it is insecurity. This is exactly what David talked about in

Psalms 73. When he said he was envious of the gain of the wicked until he saw

their destiny. Then he realized they were on the slippery place. A wolf can never

enjoy what he has taken because God pricks at his conscience and another wolf

is always trying to take it away from him. So with victory within his grasp the

wolf's own nature cost him that victory.

        Hushai, one man submitting to God, was able to halt the advance of the

wolf. He simply said that Ahithophel's course of action would be better carried

out later. It is a great idea but put it off. He did not change the counsel. He only

changed the time. This is what Satan does every time the Holy Spirit brings

conviction to a heart. He does not say "Don't do it" instead he says, "Don't do it

now".

        Doubt and lack of wisdom are two powerful weapons that will always work

against a wolf.   They will not prevent the battle, only assure the outcome.

Psalms 13 and James 1:6 reinforces this. The wolf will never be safe or secure.
Time is always his enemy but time is an ally of God‟s man. He never has to

hurry. He serves the God that controls time. Time is the servant of God, not the

other way around. When something has to be done immediately, be careful.

God never hurries. I must admit that sometimes I wished He would hurry just a

little.

          David needed the time to gain his strength. He needed the time to gather

his forces. He needed the time to prepare his battle plan. God saw to it that

David got all the time he needed. David could not waste the time, God expected

him to do all he could to prepare. Preparing was David's part giving him the time

to prepare was God's part.

          God also uses time to expose a wolf. Any wolf can cover his identify for a

while but he can never stand the test of time. God‟s man does not need to hurry

or fret. If he thinks he has a wolf among the sheep he should never corner him.

If he does the wolf will attack and hurt the sheep. Just give him time. The sheep

will see him for what he is and stay away and the ones who do follow him you

don't need or want anyway. Just keep doing God‟s work. The wolf‟s actions will

come to naught. So don't make a danger where none exist. In His own time,

God will remove the wolf. Just make sure you don't invite him back, as David did

with Absalom.

          The second character trait of the wolf that God uses against him is fear II

Samuel 17:8-10.
                8) For, said Hushai, thou knowest thy father and his men, that they be mighty
                men, and they be chafed in their minds, as a bear robbed of her whelps in the
                field; and thy father is a man of war and will not lodge with the people. 9)
                Behold, he is hid now in some pit, or in some other place: and it will come to
                pass, when some of them be overthrown at the first, that whosoever heareth it
                will say, There is a slaughter among the people that follow Absalom. 10) And he
                also that is valiant, whose heart is as the heart of a lion, shall utterly melt: for all
              Israel knoweth that thy father is a mighty man, and they which be with him are
              valiant men.


       Hushai dwelt upon David's war-like character, which Absalom knew all too

well. Hushai made David's ability as a general seem even greater when he

pointed out that David would fight for Israel like a bear for her whelps. This

Absalom understood because from a child he knew of his father‟s love for Israel.

Hashai also pointed out that if Absalom`s first strike was not decisive then Israel

would turn again to David. Fear cost Absalom the throne.

       Hushai paints a verbal picture of David lying in a pit ready to ambush

Absalom and his men. Nothing arouses fear like the unknown. Absalom did not

know where David was. He could not choose the time or the place for the battle.

Remember in 17:1, it is night. Which added to Absalom‟s fear after all you can‟t

fight what you can‟t see. The fear that Absalom is experiencing is from God.

Absalom is starting to experience the terror of falling into the hands of the living

God.

       Isn't it strange that David who is running for his life with only a handful of

men is safe and secure while Absalom who is sitting on the throne in a walled

city is the one in danger. God does not give his leaders a "...spirit of fear but of

power and a sound mind". God‟s man may have to run for his life at times but he

must never back down. The wolf may growl and show his teeth but remember it

is fear, not courage that drives him.

       God's man can‟t afford the mistake of assuming the wolf will back down.

The time for that has passed. Absalom would have backed down earlier but now

he can‟t. He would have backed down until II Samuel 15:7ff. Once the rebellion
goes that far there will be a fight. You see, the wolf may be afraid but he is

driven by a greater emotion. His ravenous appetite. Once aroused, it will either

be satisfied or the wolf will die in the process. God's man can use the wolf's fear

to his advantage but don't count on it to stop him. It will not. Once the wolf has

tasted blood only death will stop him.

       The third character trait that Hushai uses against Absalom was his pride II

Samuel 17:11-14.
              11) Therefore I counsel that all Israel be generally gathered unto thee, from Dan
              even to Beersheba, as the sand that is by the sea for multitude; and that thou go
              to battle in thine own person. 12) So shall we come upon him in some place
              where he shall be found, and we will light upon him as the dew falleth on the
              ground: and of him and of all the men that are with him there shall not be left so
              much as one. 13) Moreover, if he be gotten into a city, then shall all Israel bring
              ropes to that city and we will draw it into the river, until there be not one small
              stone found there. 14) And Absalom and all of the men of Israel said, the
              counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahitophel. For the
              LORD had appointed to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, to the intent that
              the LORD might bring evil upon Absalom.


       Ahithophel has not challenged Hashai up to now so he decided to press

his counsel. He uses Absalom's pride against him. If there is one thing you can

count on the wolf having, it is pride. This was the sin of his father and it is his as

well. Hushai tells Absalom to rely on numbers. "Look at how much larger your

army is than David's. Your army is larger because God is on your side. Is it not

numbers that make the victory?" Hashai convinces Absalom that with him as the

commander-in-chief he can‟t lose. "Absalom, your victory is assured. Look what

you have already accomplished". Poor Absalom. He has begun to believe his

own press reports.

       Hashai has aroused Absalom‟s appetite for blood. “You don't have to bring

anyone back” he said, “You have the power to kill them all”. On the other hand

Ahithophel understood that you can never completely kill an enemy. Oh, you
may kill the individual but then you have to fight his family and friends then their

family and friends etc. The destruction grows like a snowball rolling downhill. It

gets larger and larger until it rolls over everything in its path. The logical thing is

to keep a conflict as small as possible to minimize the destruction. However,

Absalom wanted to be king not sound advice. Absalom only has an appetite for

blood and Hashai used that appetite against him.

       Hashai convinced Absalom that everyone would turn against David. And

why not, wasn't he the better leader? It's nice to believe in yourself but it's

dangerous to be to easily convinced. In Proverbs 21:1 we are told:
              1) The king‟s heart is in the hand of the LORD as the rivers of water: he turneth it
              whithersoever he will.


       Here is an excellent example of that truth. God is using Hushai to turn

Absaolm‟s heart. God is getting just the reaction He wants out of Absalom and

Absalom thinks he is making the decisions.

       In verse 14 a duel purpose for the upcoming battle is given. Absalom

gathered his supporters together to destroy David.                               God gathered them to

destroy them. This will break the back of the rebellion making the kingdom safe

for years to come. Allowing the next king to advance the kingdom.                                    In the

upcoming battle God not only protects David. God also prepares the way for

Solomon to become the next king by removing anyone powerful enough to be a

serious threat to him. In doing so God also sets the stage for Israel to reach its

greatest heights as a world power. God even uses the sinfulness of men to

accomplish His purpose Psalm 76:10.
              10) Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou
              restrain.
      God‟s third move to checkmate is revealing Absalom's plan to David II

Samuel 17:15-17.
             15) Then said Hushai unto Zadok and to Abiathar the priest, Thus and thus did
             Ahithophel counsel Absalom and the elders of Israel; and thus have I counseled.
             16) Now therefore send quickly, and tell David, saying, Lodge not this night in the
             plains of the wilderness, but speedily pass over; lest the king be swallowed up,
             and all the people that are with him. 17) Now Jonathan and Ahimaaz stayed by
             Enrogel; for they might not be seen to come into the city: and a wench went and
             told them; and they went and told David.


      Let us see what insight we can gain about how God gives a warning.

First we see that the warning did not just appear in the clouds. It came from a

logical and reliable source.            In this case these men were both godly and

dependable. Over the years they had proven their faithfulness to God‟s work.

      Second we see that the information was complete and accurate. Ahimaaz

and Jonathan not only had their facts straight but they presented them in a clear

an understandable way. These men were well prepared. There would be no

unclear sound from their trumpet.                  They gave David information that would

enable him to be victorious.

      Third we see that Ahimaaz and Jonathan were capable of carrying out the

assignment. They had the ability both physically and mentally to perform what

was required of them.          They were the right men for the job.                                Considerable

damage has been done because the wrong person was doing the job. When the

wrong person is doing a job they not only prevent the right person from doing the

job. They are not doing their job.

      Fourth we see that Ahimaaz and Jonathan were willing to be used. They

like Hushai, were willing be placed in harms way for the God‟s work. God will

always accomplish great deeds with anyone who is willing.

      God never places anyone in harms way without protecting them. Let‟s
look at how God protects His own II Samuel 17:18-21.
              18) Nevertheless a lad saw them, and told Absalom: but they went both of them
              away quickly, and came to a man's house in Bahurim, which had a well in his
              court; whither they went down. 19) And the woman took and spread a covering
              over the well's mouth, and spread ground corn thereon; and the thing was not
              known. 20) And when Absaolm's servants came to the woman to the house,
              they said, Where is Ahimaaz and Jonathan? And the woman said unto them,
              They be gone over the brook of water. And when they had sought and could not
              find them, they returned to Jerusalem. 21) And it came to pass, after they were
              departed, that they came in out of the well, and went and told king David, and
              said unto David, Arise, and pass quickly over the water: for thus hath Ahithophel
              counseled against you.


        God has two ways of protecting those who will submit to His will. First, He

can protect them from the harm. Second, He can protect them through the

harm.    There are examples of both types of God's protection, not only in

Scripture, but also in the life of believers. Personally I prefer the first if I am

involved but the latter makes for a better story. God will always protect those

who will align themselves with His appointed leader.

        For just a moment I would like to deal with the faith exercised by Ahimaz

and Jonathan in their undertaking.                  Although they probably didn‟t see there

actions as an act of faith.

        A good reporter will answer four questions in a story - Who, What, Where

and Why. Well, let's look at their exercise of faith and discover the answer to

these four questions.

        First, who exercised faith? Faith is not the work of a superman. It is when

ordinary Christians performs a task for God. The task here was to warn the king.

These men were the logical choice. They were probably scared. They knew

their lives were on the line but they went. There was no great fanfare on their

part.   Fanfare always draws attention to the one performing the task.                            Faith

draws attention to the one for whom the task is performed. Please keep in mind
that when faith becomes a show it has ceased being faith and has become a

gimmick.

      I can hear my critics now "but what of the men that took the roof off of the

house to get their sick friend to Jesus. Wasn't that a show?" To that I can only

say, “No”. That was ordinary men getting their sick friend to Jesus using the only

avenue available to them. They did not draw attention to themselves. They did

not interrupt the service until they lowered their friend down to Jesus. All the

attention was focused on one individual, Jesus. Jesus became the center of

attention, not the men on the roof. I repeat, when faith becomes a show it is not

faith, it is a gimmick. And don‟t forget that the man‟s roof had to be repaired. I

doubt that these men left before that job was done.

      We note that Ahimaaz and Jonathan were not out to change the world.

They were out to warn their beloved king of pending danger. They were godly

men, not showmen. They had an understanding of God's Word and was acting

within that understanding. They were submissive to the authority God placed

over them. They understood the importance of their task. They simply did what

had to be done. They were not out for any personal gain. They were simply

doing God's will. So, to answer the question of "who" the answer is easy -

anyone who is submissive to God's written will.

      Next we look at the question of what is faith. Before we discuss what faith

is we have to first look at something‟s faith is not. Faith is not a leap into the

dark. I shutter to think of the damage done to God's work by this attitude. Faith

is based on sound information not irrational reasoning. Faith is knowing and
trusting what God has said, not what we would like to happen.

      Faith also is not a weapon. Some of us try to use faith like a cocked pistol

to God's head.        I have a pastor friend who has the attitude, let's obligate

ourselves to it then God has to Pay for it. No Christian would ever attempt to

limit God but a Christian of understanding works with in the regulations God has

placed in His Word Psalms 138:2.
             I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness
             and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy Word above all thy name.


As to what faith is. Faith is simply knowing and believing what God said He

would do.

      Where did these men exercise faith? They were not out to perform a

great act of faith.    They were simply doing what had to be done. To often

believers are looking for great deeds to perform while walking over the task God

wants him to do. Faith must be exercised in our daily lives. Faith in our daily

lives is what the world needs to see not great miracles. They wouldn‟t believe

the miracles anyway but they can‟t deny consistency Luke 16:19-31. People will

flock to see a show but only for the same reason they followed Jesus. The

multitude followed Jesus for the bread not for the Word. People go to a show

because it makes them feel good. The only problem with this is that eventually

there feelings change. Then they need another fix to pick them up. Each time

they need a bigger fix to get high again. The time wasted by pastors just in baby-

sitting is an abomination before God. Note I did not say "caring for" but "baby-

sitting". There is a big difference in the two terms. God needs faithfulness in our

daily life not a greater show. God is a great enough show if we would exercise
faith in our daily lives. Then people would be drawn to Him.

       Why did these men exercise faith in God? Simple, because after doing all

they could it was not enough. They left quickly. They went someplace to hide.

They had to trust God would not let them be discovered. If you want to deal with

the woman‟s lying, yes she did. We exercise faith when human endeavor falls

short of the need. This is God‟s plain. God is faithful after we have done all we

can. He never does for us what we could do for ourselves. God rewarded their

actions by allowing them to see David delivered II Samuel 17:22.
               22) Then David arose, and all the people that were with him, and they passed
               over Jordan: by the morning light there lacked not one of them that was not gone
               over Jordan.


               When God gives a warning take it. Don‟t let some false idea about

being a man cause you to lose everything. When God says run, RUN! God‟s

people need a live leader who obeys God not a dead martyr. Some day God

may call on you to be a martyr. If He does then He will give you the grace to do it

but if you stay and fight when God says run then you suffer the consequences

alone. Run to prepare for the war not to prolong your life. Only a hireling runs to

prolong his life.

       God‟s man can‟t allow Satan to choose the time or the place for the battle.

Note here that God's deliverance was complete everyone got away. God never

loses anyone that is His. If we look ahead for just a moment, we will discover

that some die in a battle. I will stand by my statement that God never loses

anything that is His.

       In a game of chess long before the king can be checkmated the pieces

that protect the king have to be removed. This is exactly what God does in His
fourth move to checkmate II Samuel 17:23.
             23) And when Ahiphophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his
             ass, and arose, and gat him home to his house to his city, and put his household
             in order, and hanged himself, and died, and was buried in the sepulchure of his
             father.


      Those who side with the wolf have placed themselves in opposition to

God. With Ahithophel around to give Absalom advice, he has a chance to win. I

believe that Ahithophel was the real force behind the rebellion. I can see his

hand directing events.            He hated David for what he had done to his

granddaughter, Bathsheba. I can see him leading Absalom on, feeding his ego.

I can see him using Absalom to reach his own end, the destruction of David. He

was the brains behind the wolf. That is why he had to be the first one removed.

      Even in his death we can note something about him that gives insight into

a rebellion. First, Ahiphophel was not a leader. He was a mover. He was the

power behind the rebel. Absalom never really understood what was at stake but

Ahiphophel did. He knew how to defeat David. He understood that the real

conflict was the battle for control of God's people, not the ego trip Absalom was

on. When his advice was not taken, Ahiphophel knew the rebellion was lost. He

knew that his end was at hand. He was not going to wait for David to take his

life. He, like any good Judas, would reserve that act for himself. He knew that

Jonathan could never defeat David. He knew that time was on David's side. He

knew that time is the one great ally of God's leader. He knew that time would

expose everything. He knew that he had gambled and lost. He felt God's heavy

hand of judgment. He had been boxed in by his own cleverness. He had made

Absalom a king and now he would die because he could not control his creation.

      How gracious of God to invest this power in two enemies instead of just
one. Absalom had the personality and Ahithophel had the brains. Together they

were a powerful force for Satan but separately they were just so much noise. If

there is a lesson here for God's man, it is that time is his ally. When he grows

impatient and says, "Why not now" he has to be careful not to sacrifice the

permanent on the altar of the immediate. Allow God the time to bring about a full

end. Allow God the time to divide His enemies. Ego and lack of character only

need time to be exposed and if there is one thing all those that oppose God have

in common, it‟s ego. Let God make your enemies your footstool. Remember,

you are "more than conquerors".

      There are only two moves to checkmate.                             God is about to bring this

rebellion to an end. One would think to end the rebellion all God would have to

do is kill Absalom. Not so, God knows that Absalom is only a chess piece. God

knows that if Absalom were removed, Satan would have another to challenge His

work. God doesn‟t want to just remove the danger. He wants his people to learn

to deal with rebellion. In God‟s work wolves do accomplish one thing. They drive

God‟s people to Him. It is during that time before God that we learn our most

valuable truths about God. We also learn that The king's heart is in the hand of

the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will Proverbs

21:1, Even a king like Absalom.

      It‟s God who directs Absalom to choose inferior leaders for his army II

Samuel 17:2426.
             24) Then David came to Mahanaim. And Absalom passed over Jordan, he and
             all the men of Israel with him. 25) And Absalom made Amasa captain of the host
             instead of Joab: which Amasa was a man's son, whose name was Ithra an
             Israelite, that went in to Abigail the daughter of Nahash, sister to Zeruiah Joab's
             mother. 26) So Israel and Absalom pitched in the land of Gilead.
      We are not told why Amasa was chosen over Joab or even why Joab was

being considered. Joab had proven himself as a military leader. Joab had led

Israel against Ammon II Samuel 11:1.                        Maybe it was because of Joab‟s

relationship with David that kept Absalom from placing him over the army.

Whatever the reasoning Absalom used to make his decision it‟s clear that God

directed his decision. God could not afford to let Joab lead the army against

David. Joab would have known by experience how David would react in battle

and would know how to counter each move.

      If there is one point that comes through it is that those who alien

themselves against God‟s appointed leaders are inferior leaders. That statement

may be contrary to outward appearances but we have to learn not to trust

appearances. It is at this point that God‟s man has to walk by faith. He has to

trust God to work among his enemies. Godly men are quick to point out that

God works among His people but often miss the fact that God also works among

those who are opposed to Him.

      The greatest enemy facing God‟s leader during a split is not the wolf but

his emotions. The feeling of being all alone and the pressure of all those that are

depending on him. Add to that the inability to see as God sees or to understand

the big picture he gets very confused and frustrated. It is at this time that God

steps in and provides for the king‟s physical needs II Samuel 17:26-29.
             26) So Israel and Absalom pitched in the land of Gilead. 27) And it came to
             pass, when David was come to Mahanaim, that Shobi the son of Nahash of
             Rabbah of the children of Ammon, and Machir the son of Ammiel of Lo-debar,
             and Barzillai the Gileadite of Rogelim, 28) Brought beds, and basons, and
             earthen vessels, and wheat, and barley, and flour, and parched corn, and beans,
             and lentiles, and parched pulse, 29) And honey, and butter, and sheep, and
             cheese of kine, for David, and for the people that were with him, to eat: for they
             said, The people is hungry, and weary, and thirsty, in the wilderness.
              God saw to it that David and his men were properly fed and rested

for the upcoming battle. God has promised to meet all our needs and so far He

has not failed. True, we may want Him to meet them a little quicker or with a lot

more but that is another study. God, unlike us, has the ability to distinguish

between our needs and our wants. It‟s to God David must turn for his needs not

the people.    When God‟s man decides that he works for the people and

becomes dependent on them he has lost the battle. God knows his needs and

when and where they have to be met. God is never early or late He always

chooses the proper place and time to meet those needs.            David needed

Mahanaim as much if not more then he needed the food. Mahanaim seem to be

important throughout Scripture. It was at Mahanaim that Jacob was wrestled

with the angel of God who changed his name to Israel. It was at Mahaniam

where Abner crowned Ishbosheth, Saul‟s son, king. With these facts in mind let

us look at how they might have affected David.

              In John 4 Jesus and His disciples were hungry. While the disciples

went to get food Jesus met and dealt with the woman at the well. When the

disciples returned they noticed that Jesus had been refreshed. When asked

from where He had received food He said, “I have meat to eat ye know not of”. It

is of this meat that God‟s man is privileged to partake. It was at Mahaniam that

Jacob learned to eat of that meat and as a result got his name changed to Israel

“Prince with God”.   It was at Mahanaim where Jacob saw the spiritual meet the

physical. When this happens to anyone not only their name but their life will be

changed forever. The story of Jacob was well known to David and as David
walked Mahaniam he must have thought of Jacob because he needed the God

of Jacob now more than ever.

      It was at Mahanaim that David met his first serious challenge to his

throne. That challenge came from Saul's son Ishbosheth.            This time at

Mahaniam David faces the challenge of another son, his own Absalom.

      In Joshua 3:1-17 we are told the advantages of creating memorials along

life's way. To gain some insight into the meat that David is eating at Mahaniam

that others knew not of, we will need to understand why God instructs His people

to place memorial stones along the way.

      1. Because memorial stones will cause us to live Holier Joshua 3:1-3.

      2. Because memorial stones will enable us to help others Joshua 3:6-8.

      3. Because memorial stones will glorify God Joshua 3:9-13.

      4. Because memorial stones will verify God's word Joshua 3:14-17.

      Each person called of God has a special place to refresh himself and eat

of the meat that others know not of. This place will become their Mahaniam.

This is a place where he is at one with God and himself. To a missionary friend

of mine it was a camp in North Carolina where God called him to France. While

in college he loved to go back there and renew and relive the freshness of his

call. Even years later when home on furlough he still refreshed himself with a

meat that others knew not of. He no longer needs to refresh himself there as he

is now at home with his Savior. I now refresh myself in his memory with a meat

that others know not of.

      Truly, Mahaniam is David's place of refreshment. As he eats the food
prepared for him and his men he must have thought of Jacob. He must have

thought about the two bands, the one visible and the one invisible but both very

real. He must have thought about how God gave him victory over Ishbosheth.

When God‟s man finds himself in a struggle with a wolf he needs to look to his

memorial stones.         Remember why you took this work in the first place.

Remember how God called you to this particular work. Remember you are in a

struggle over eternity. If you are not in such a struggle then make your calling to

this place a memorial stone so you will be prepared when a challenge comes.

Once you do you will understand as David did that he could not lose the

upcoming battle. He stood with giants, men who walked with God as well as

God Himself. What a blessing God has allowed His own in allowing them to eat

of the meat that others know not of.

       Absalom has been placed in check. The next move God makes will be

checkmate. Checkmate takes place in the form of the pending battle. This is a

battle over the direct will of God. It is a battle between God and Satan. It is a

battle for millions yet unborn. It is a battle for eternity. It is a battle between

God's will and Satan's desires. Yet, it is the same battle Christians face day after

day. As we look at how David prepared for the battle we will gain some insight

into a life of victory. First we note that David realized his personal limitations and

trusted God for what he could not accomplish II Samuel 18:1-2a.
              1) And David numbered the people that were with him, and set captains of
              thousands and captains of hundreds over them. 2a) And David sent forth a third
              part of the people under the hand of Joab, and a third part under the hand of
              Abishai the son of Zeruiah, Joab's brother and a third part under the hand of Ittai
              the Gittite.
       David may be living in the wilderness but he is not living under the

circumstances. David may not be on the throne but he knows that the battle

belongs to his God. He did not have any money but he saw God raise an army

that fought for him without the promise of reward or even their own lives.

       Now that David has an army, an army who is fighting for God and not for

gold, he delegates the responsibility of running the army. Only a foolish man

tries to do everything himself. God's work is too large for any one person. It has

to be understood by everyone involved that a delegation of responsibility is not a

surrender of authority.    The king is still God's appointed leader.        The one

receiving the responsibility does not become the king's equal. He is still just as

answerable to the king as the king is to God. Notice that David did not place

unqualified men in leadership. That is a mistake a novice would make. This is a

mistake that many pastors make. They allow pressure to force them into filling

an office with people not qualified just to have someone in that office. If God has

not provided qualified people then He is not ready for that office to be filled.

       God‟s man can make an application of this in his own ministry. No one

can do all of the work nor should he try. I do not believe the problem in the

church is a lack of concern or willingness on the part of the people but a lack of

leadership. Too often pastors take a shotgun approach instead of finding out

what a person can do or is led of God to do. Keep in mind that if the pastor

attempts to do everything the congregation will gladly let him.            When he

delegates responsibilities then the people will work harder and accomplish more

than he could alone. The key is finding the right person for the right job. Don't
fall into the trap of filling an office because some book says you have to fill it.

God's person in God's time - that is the formula for success in the life of a

church. It may be a bit of a strain but it is worth it in the long run.

       The next event in preparation for the battle proves the value of placing the

right people in the right job. These men are now protecting the king II Samuel

18:2b-4.
              2b) I will surely go forth with you myself also. 3) But the people answered, Thou
              shalt not go forth: For if we flee away, they will not care for us; neither if half of us
              die, will they care for us: but now thou art worth ten thousand of us: therefore
              now it is better that thou succour us out of the city. 4) And the king said unto
              them, What seemeth you best I will do. And the king stood by the gate side, and
              all the people came out by hundred and by thousands.


       These men knew David was God's chosen leader. They knew that the

battle would be won or lost on David‟s standing with God. They saw themselves

as expendable but knew God‟s work must survive. It was David‟s position that

made him worth 10,000 of them. David was not a superman, an angel or a devil.

He was a man with feet of clay. Like anyone God has chosen to do His work

David was simply a man called by God to do a supernatural job. That is why

those under God‟s man are commanded to pray for him I Timothy 2:1-3. As an

individual he is just another sinner for whom Jesus died. However, God‟s man

takes on another role. He is the one that God, not the people, has placed over

that congregation I Peter 5:1-3. He is the under shepherd of God's local church.

As the under shepherd he has importance that can‟t be measured. Just as he

had a responsibility to feed and care for the flock, they have a responsibility to

him Romans 13:1-2.

       Please allow me the privilege here to follow a rabbit trail. I see people

jumping from church to church. I would like to leave them with one thought and
two passages of Scripture. A person only matures when he plants roots and

becomes committed to something. God does not call them to follow a man. He

calls them to a work. It is the work they join not a man. True, the work will rise or

fall on the leader‟s ability to follow God but sheep only have to produce other

sheep and wool.

       In Matthew 7:15-20 we are warned to beware of false prophets who come

in sheep‟s clothing and are ravening wolves. We are told we shall know them by

their fruits, not by their teachings. His words may be perfect. His doctrine may

be as straight as an arrow. You can‟t tell a wolf in sheep‟s clothing by what he

says. It is only by seeing the result of his actions that you can tell that he is a

wolf. If sheep are not careful instead of being feed they will end up a dinner.

       In Acts 20:29 Paul says he knows that when he leaves, the wolves will

come in. Now, no sheep opens the door and says, "Come in, Mr. Wolf and

please eat me for dinner". They are brought in by those sheep who think they

are bees, they go from church to church. They join a church and decide what it

needs. They are not spiritually maturity enough to know a wolf but they know

what the church needs. They live by their emotions not by God‟s word. They

see some one who is bright and exciting and they follow him.            They never

consider that he could be a wolf in sheep's clothing. Then when trouble starts,

they are among the first to leave. They start talking about how unspiritual that

group really was and how they are glad they saw it in time. They join another

church and repeat the process. They never see the damage they are doing nor

do they ever remain to help make the repairs.          The repairs are left to the
wounded sheep. The bee-sheep just goes from church to church with is head in

the clouds praising God and doing Satan's work.

       Let me add here that some pastors are so anxious for numbers that they

are willing to take these bee-sheep. They have become so number oriented that

they fail to properly protect themselves or their sheep. Another thing that works

to the advantage of the bee-sheep is our "sue crazy" society. A pastor may not

be willing to be honest with another pastor because he is afraid of being sued.

He may be so glad to be rid of the bee-sheep that he doesn‟t want anything to

prevent his leaving. Pastors have to face the fact that their first responsibility is

to the sheep God has given them. Involved in this responsibility is the obligation

to be honest when these bee-sheep leave your church.

       To think David a coward would be a serious mistake. He wanted to be

with his men. It was his failure that placed Israel in this danger. And he wanted

to be the one to right that wrong. No, David was not a coward nor was he a

hireling. He would never ask his men to face death and not be at their side.

David had been in many battles and had learned to face death.

       Just before the battle David makes a strange request II Samuel 18:5.
              5) And the king commanded Joab and Abisai and Ittai, saying, Deal gently for my
              sake with the young man, even with Absalom. And all the people heard when
              the king gave all the captains charge concerning Absalom.


       David demonstrated that rare quality called compassion. Today David

would be said to have a `pastor's heart'. David could not stop loving Absaolm

because of his actions any more than God stops loving us because of ours.

       David saw beyond Absaolm‟s actions.                       David saw everything that had

happened as God chastisement for his sin II Samuel 12:11. David did not try to
squirm out of his responsibility. He accepted it. He only wanted to make sure

that Absalom gets the same chance to repent. He did not want revenge, an eye

for an eye. He only wanted Absaolm to walk with God. Was this not the same

request that Abraham made for Ishmael Genesis 17:18?

       It is normal for a father to be concerned for his children. It‟s difficult for

God‟s man to balance his time between God‟s work and his family. This often

becomes a case of not seeing the forest for the trees. Several of God‟s men

have lost their children because of their ministry. The sad thing is that this does

not have to be but that is another study. Let me simply say here that Proverbs

22:6, Ephesians 6:4 and Colossians 3:21 are still true. Try as we will to explain

them away. The truth is that there is still something you can do to win your

children if you are willing to do it. But that also is another study.

       In the passage ahead of us we see the battle engaged II Samuel 18:6-8.
              6) So the people went out into the field against Israel; and the battle was in the
              wood of Ephraim: 7) Where the people of Israel were slain before the servants
              of David, and there was there a great slaughter that day of twenty thousand men.
              8) For the battle was there scattered over the face of all the country: and the
              wood devoured more people that day than the sword devoured.


       The mountain men knew the terrain and used it against Israel. We are

not given the exact number killed by the army but we are told that God killed

more of His enemies than David‟s army. When God sends an army into battle,

He will always do the majority of the fighting. We are also not told if any of

David's men were killed. We only know that God led them to accomplish His will.

God not only fought for His army, He protected those who went out in His name.

       I wish I could promise from this passage that there will be no losses in

God‟s army but I can't. The truth is that we do lose good people because of
splits. If God‟s man dwells on the losses he will lose his effectiveness in the

ministry. He has to maintain a balance between concern for those that were hurt

and God's call to go on. What does he do to help who are wounded? He cries

for their pain. He ministers where he can. He bandages when needed. Then he

does the hardest thing of all, he steps back and allows time for God to heal their

wounds. If the sheep returns, then he rejoices. If the sheep are lost to him he

must remember that they are not lost to God. God cares more for them than he

does. God‟s man has to care but if the wounded sheep don‟t see or believe that

he cares then to them the care does not exist.

       God demonstrated His disapproval of Israel by the slaughter in the woods.

Now God will deal with the individuals involved. We have four types of people

involved in a church split. First, those who will die. This is a drastic measure,

one that God does not enter into lightly. As with Absalom, God gives a warning

and a space of time to repent before He takes his life. God‟s first warning came

when He trapped Absalom II Samuel 18:9.
              9) And Absalom met the servants of David. And Absalom rode upon a mule, and
              the mule went under the thick boughs of a great oak, and his head caught hold
              of the oak, and he was taken up between the heaven and the earth; and the
              mule that was under him went away.


       If it were not for the fact that Absalom was about to die, this story would

be funny. Here is a man that thought he could rule a kingdom now caught in a

tree by his hair. We are not told how long Absalom hung there but he had plenty

of time to reflect upon his past actions.

       God has His way of boxing people in. He has trees, whales and other

diverse ways to stop people from running. God wants us to be still and know

that He is God. Activity is the wolf's only defense against the Spirit of God. As
long as the wolf stays active he does not have to think. Now Absalom has

nothing to do but hang around (please forgive) and think. What would seem to

us as a cruel act is not. It is really gracious of God to give Absalom time to

repent. God can only give time, it is up to the individual to repent.

       God now begins to draw the net around Absalom II Samuel 18:10-13.
              10) And a certain man saw it, and told Joab, and said, Behold, I saw Absalom
              hanged in an oak. 11) And Joab said unto the man that told him, And, behold,
              thou sawest him, and why didst thou not smite him there to the ground? and I
              would have given thee ten shekels of silver, and a girdle. 12) And the man said
              unto Joab, Though I should receive a thousand shekels of silver in mine hand,
              yet would I not put forth mine hand against the king's son: for in our hearing the
              king charged thee and Abishai and Ittai, saying, Beware that none touch the
              young man Absalom. 13) Otherwise I should have wrought falsehood against
              mine own life: for there is no matter hid from the king, and thou thyself wouldest
              have set thyself against me.


       When this day began Absalom could taste the victory. Like all those who

oppose God Absalom thought himself enviable.                                 He thought himself the

exception.   He would be the one to oppose God and win.                                       Now Absalom

discovers the sad truth that he is not the exception. How quickly the sweetness

of victory sours in the light of reality. Absalom is now helpless in a tree and

exposed to whatever God wishes. When this day began Absalom thought he

was safe surrounded by his army and anticipating the days end when he would

be the king of all Israel. Actually, he was no safer then, surrounded by his army

then he is now, hanging all alone from a tree. We know that circumstances can‟t

limit God from performing His Divine will. How foolish are those who oppose

God.   They take refuge in fleshly things such as, human strength, human

wisdom, human wealth and human delight. When God is ready He will expose

them as He did Absalom and deal with their sin.

       Before we move on let‟s look at the unnamed servant who found Absalom.

He was one who understood God's chain-of-command. He stood up to Joab
when offered a reward and a commission. All he had to do was to disobey the

king. God‟s man needs followers like him. Not men or women who follow a

leader with blind obedience but with the ability to discern who and when to follow.

       Checkmate II Samuel 18:14-15.
              14) Then said Joab, I may not tarry thus with thee. And he took three darts in his
              hand, and thrust them through the heart of Absalom, while he was yet alive in the
              midst of the oak. 15) And ten young men that bare Joab's armour compassed
              about and smote Absalom, and slew him.


       These two verses deal with the taking of Absalom's life. They also raise

more questions then they answer. The taking of a life is a serious matter. It

should be done only by God or His appointed authority. This is the only way to

be sure that it is justice and not revenge. Revenge can never be justified before

God.

       First in Joab's favor he knew that the safety of the kingdom was more

important than an order from David. He knew that Absalom death would put an

end to the fighting. Joab also allowed Absalom to die like a soldier instead of

being stoned Deuteronomy 21:18-21. These are important facts in Joab's favor.

However, some other facts that need to be address are:

       1- David said not to harm Absalom.

       2- The soldier who discovered Absalom knew if he killed Absalom, his life

       would be required.

       3- Joab placed himself above the authority of God's appointed leader.

       4- Joab involved others in his act.

       Now the question is “Was Joab's action directed by God or by revenge?”

I think the answer is obvious. Joab was determined to settle matters himself.

David recognized this character trait in Joab. He knew that Joab was a potential
wolf. He knew that Joab had to be watched. In I Kings 2:5-6 David warned

Solomon that Joab had to be kept on a short leash.

       Even with all his faults, Joab did have David‟s best interest at heart. True,

he had his personal goals and was strong willed but he never sacrificed David to

reach those goals. He also knew the only way to end the war and save lives was

to kill Absalom. Whether Joab killed Absalom to end the war or for his personal

satisfaction I do not know. I only have two facts to go on. First, it was Abishai

and Ittai, not Joab that were instructed to spare Absaloms life. Second, that the

taking of Absalom‟s life did save other lives II Samuel 18:16.
              16) And Joab blew the trumpet, and the people returned from pursuing after
              Israel: for Joab held back the people.


       It takes a wise leader to know when to fight. However, it takes a wiser

leader to know when to stop fighting.                God‟s man can never forget that the

people on the other side of a split are also God‟s children and as such are still

his responsibility.   This fact can be easily over looked in the heat of battle.

God‟s man can‟t afford the luxury of picking and choosing to whom he will

minister. God has called him to minister to all of the people. Once the battle is

over God‟s man must immediately take steps to minimize the damage. Revenge

can never become a part of his vocabulary. If it ever does, he has removed his

hands from the plow and looked back.

       John Greenleaf Whittier said "The saddest words Of tongue or pen Are

these four words It might have been". That is what I see in Absalom‟s requiem.

If you fail to see the tragedy of a wasted life then you will never be able to

understand David's reaction to Absalom's death II Samuel 18:33 - 19:8. The
temptation is to get caught up in the victory and lose sight of the destruction.

One thing God's man can never do is lose sight of those who were hurt by the

rebellion. Every rebellion destroys lives and it‟s our job to help put those lives

back together. Despite his faults, a wolf has qualities that could be greatly used

by God. Instead of a life of service to God, Absalom‟s path has brought him to

an unmarked pit in the woods II Samuel 18:17.
             17) And they took Absalom, and cast him into a great pit in the wood, and laid a
             very great heap of stones upon him: and all Israel fled every one to his tent.


Here lies the body of one,
David's fair haired son, Absalom.
He lies in this lonely place,
because he died in sin and disgrace.
He was opposed to God,
and the path of a wolf he did trod.
God's sheep he did try to eat,
now he lies beneath their feet.

      How sad, Absalom could have had it all. He tried to demand and take by

force what could have been his by birth. This will be the end of all of who refuse

to learn. God will freely give all but will have nothing taken from Him. Keep in

mind, James 4:2 says, “... ye have not because ye ask not”. It does not say “Ye

have not because you are not strong enough to take”. God raises those up who

ask. He humbles those who force. Those who ask, receive greatness, but those

who force receive memorials II Samuel 18:18.
             18) Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and reared up for himself a pillar,
             which is in the king's dale: for he said, I have no son to keep my name in
             remembrance: and he called the pillar after his own name: and it is called unto
             this day, Absalom's place.


      Memorials are usually placed as a reminder of great deeds. Absalom's

memorial is to a wasted life. Absalom could have had the kingdom because of

Amnons sin but all he received was a pile of stones. The real tragedy is the
uselessness of it all. Absalom never used his influence to inspire anyone to

achieve greatness instead he used his influence to advance his own end. This is

not a fitting end for a king's son but it is the end of all wolves. Their life is a

waste, their end is a tragedy and their memorial is a joke. This is what David

saw, not the death of a wolf, but the tragedy and waste of his son. The people

will rejoice in the victory. God's man mourns the loss of time, money, effort and

potential. The only one who wins in a church split is Satan. The only way to

prevent Satan's victory is to stop the wolf in Chapter 13, not to defeat him in

Chapter 18.

      Acts of destruction can be done by anyone. However, it takes a leader

with special insight to rebuild. Now that the fighting is over there is a work to

rebuild. Before the work can be rebuilt the king will have to be rebuilt. The king

will not have the luxury of time to prepare himself. He will have to perform his

duties or defeat may still be snatched from the jaws of victory. The king, whose

lack of action brought these events to pass must now get tough and act like a

king. The next twenty three verses deal with God‟s forcing David to once again

take the reigns and direct the kingdom.

      First, the king has to be told of the victory and of Absalom's death. The

standard way of getting information from the battle to the king was by

messenger. The runner would only repeat what he was told II Samuel 18:19-23.
              19) Then said Ahimaaz the son of Zadok, Let me now run, and bear the king
              tidings, how that the LORD hath avenged him of his enemies. 20) And Joab said
              unto him, Thou shalt not bear tidings this day, but thou shalt bear tidings another
              day: but this day thou shalt bear no tidings, because the king's son is dead. 21)
              Then said Joab to Cushi, Go tell the king what thou hast seen. And Cushi bowed
              himself unto Joab, and ran. 22) Then said Ahimaaz the son of Zadok yet again
              to Joab, But howsoever, let me, I pray thee, also run after Cushi. And Joab said,
              Wherefore wilt thou run, my son, seeing that thou hast no tidings ready? 23) But
              howsoever, said he, let me run. And he said unto him, Run. Then Ahimaaz ran
              by the way of the plain, and overran Cushi.
      Two questions that arise In this passage are:

      Why did Ahimaaz want so desperately to run?

      Why didn't Joab want him to run?

      As we seek to answer these questions we learn something of Ahimaaz's

character. He was David‟s friend and wanted to be the one to tell David of the

victory. He was one of the two that warned David to pass over Jordan. His

loyalty was to the king that is why he wanted to be the runner II Samuel 17:16ff.

      Since the king had to be told of Absalom's death would it not be better

coming from a friend who could prepare him for the news? However, Joab did

not want Ahimaaz, a man David trusted, telling David more than Joab wanted

David to know. Particularly the circumstances of Absalom's death. Joab would

rather have someone run that he could control, so he denied Ahimaaz‟s request

and sent Cushi.

      Ahimaaz did not rebel against the authority over him. He, unlike the wolf,

knew how to let God work through others. Ahimaaz allowed God to change

Joab's heart.

      Ahimaaz had been faithful to the things God had called him to do, so he

was now trusting God to grant him the desire of his heart. Cushi may have had a

head start and Ahimaaz had to take a longer route but Ahimaaz had a passion to

be the one to tell David of the battle. God can always use runners who:

      1- Are faithful to whatever task God gives them.

      2- Submit to authority.

      3- Know how to make an appeal.
      4- Accept the challenge and trust God to see them through.

      5- Love God‟s appointed leader.

      6- Will put himself out in God's service.

      Not only can God use runners like this but so can God‟s man. Ahimaaz

won his race to bring tidings to his king II Samuel 18:24-29.
             24) And David sat between the two gates: and the watchman went up to the roof
             over the gate unto the wall, and lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold a man
             running alone. 25) And the watchman cried, and told the king. And the king said,
             If he be alone, there is tidings in his mouth. And he came apace, and drew near.
             26) And the watchman saw another man running: and the watchman called unto
             the porter, and said, Behold another man running alone. And the king said, He
             also bringeth tidings. 27) And the watchman said, Me thinketh the running of the
             foremost is like the running of Ahimaaz the son of Zadok. And the king said, He
             is a good man, and cometh with good tidings. 28) And Ahimaaz called, and said
             unto the king, All is well. And he fell down to the earth upon his face before the
             king, and said, Blessed be the LORD thy God, which hath delivered up the men
             that lifted up their hand against my lord the king. 29) And the king said, Is the
             young man Absalom safe? And Ahimaaz answered, When Joab sent the king's
             servant, and me thy servant, I saw a great tumult, but I knew not what it was.


      It turns out that Joab had nothing to fear from Ahimaaz. Ahimaaz only told

David of victory. He knew that to hear of Absalom would only bring pain to his

friend and king. To minimize David‟s pain was his reason for running. Ahimaaz

was not about to tell of Joab's act of murder.                          He knew that David would

eventually hear of the act. God can use runners who know what to say and

when to keep silent. Ahimaaz was the type of man who could sit in on a board

meeting and leave everything that was discussed, in that room. He would not go

home and discuss the events with his wife or in front of the children.                            Only

eternity will reveal the damage done by those who find it necessary to feed their

ego by telling others how much they know. Ahimmaz was not in the race to feed

his ego. He was running for the betterment of his king and God‟s work.

     The inevitable has to happen.                  David now hears of Absalom II Samuel

18:31-32.
             31) And, behold, Cushi came; and Cushi said, Tidings, my lord the king: for the
             LORD hath avenged thee this day of all them that rose up against thee. 32) And
             the king said unto Cushi, Is the young man Absalom safe? And Cushi answered,
             The enemies of my lord the king, and all that rise against thee to do thee hurt, be
             as that young man is.


      Here we begin to see what David is made of. God has promised not to

place more on His own then they can bear. David is at his breaking point. David

is at the end of himself. During the last fourteen years David has punished

himself because of his sin. David must now either sink or swim. He will either

bounce back and save the kingdom or he will give up. If he gives up he will go

under and take the kingdom with him.

      God at one time or another places all of His shepherds in this place.

David has no way out. He now has to rest in God and accept the forgiveness

that was offered fourteen years ago. I will never understand why God‟s man

finds it difficult to accept God's forgiveness when it is directed toward them.

They tell others, “God forgives no matter the sin” but beat themselves when they

sin. As difficult as it is for them to accept God's forgiveness, I am thankful that

God does not give up on them.

      Before the king will be able to accept God's forgiveness, there are three

things he must face. First he has to face his own desires II Samuel 18:33.
             33) And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate,
             and wept: and as he went, thus he said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son
             Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!


      David never saw Absalom as his enemy. He saw him as a father sees his

son. He blamed himself for Absalom‟s actions and saw Absalom‟s actions as

God's judgement upon his household (II Samuel 12:11). David's desire was for

Absalom to be restored to God and him. This was the third son he had lost

because of his sin. The first was because of his sin with Bathsheba II Samuel
12:14.      The other two was because of self pity that prevented David from

accepting God‟s forgiveness.                His self pity forced God to take harsher and

harsher measures intended to force him to once again respond as a king and not

a hireling. Now, David has nothing left. He is all used up. As unpleasant as this

process is it is mandatory if God‟s man is to come to understand that God still

cares for him. Before he drew strength from doing God's work now he will have

to draw strength from God Himself.                     Once God takes his man through this

process he will never be the same again.

         The next eight verses deal with the two choices before God‟s man at this

time. First he has to face the consequences of his actions II Samuel 191-4.
                1) And it was told Joab, Behold, the king weepeth and mourneth for Absalom. 2)
                And the victory that day was turned into mourning unto all the people: for the
                people heard say that day how the king was grieved for his son. 3) And the
                people gat them by stealth that day into the city, as people being ashamed steal
                away when they flee in battle. 4) But the king covered his face, and the king
                cried with a loud voice, O my son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son!


         The only good thing that can be said about hitting bottom is that the only

direction left to you is up. However, it seems that when some people hit bottom

they are determined to dig deeper. That is exactly what David tries to do here.

It‟s easy to tell someone to get up and try again. It is quite another to do it

yourself.    When one falls from the height that David did it there is serious

damage and takes time to heal. The healing process is the hardest. The king

remembers the relationship he once had with God. He longs for it again but it is

always just out of his reach. It seems as if the harder he tries to climb out of the

smile pit the deeper he sinks.

         A person does not stop sinning until sin cost them more than they are

willing to pay. This is where David finds himself. His sin has cost him three sons
his self respect and almost cost him the kingdom. However, God left him on the

throne to lead so lead he will either into another disaster or into victory the choice

is his. God has forgiven bitterness, laziness, adultery and even murder. God

even drove the wolf out and took his life after he was invited back but here we

have David about to throw it all away. David is about to snatch defeat out of the

jaws of victory because of his reaction to the death of Absalom. The victory was

his but his men are about to walk out on him. If David wishes to prevent a

greater disaster then he faced with Absalom he had better start acting like a king.

David is thinking “I wanted things to go differently”. Well so did God. So things

did not go the way you wanted, so what, deal with it. David was so caught up in

self pity that he could not see the forest for the trees. Don‟t forget this war was

brought about by David's lack of action not God's judgment. David could have

prevented everything by simply accepting God's forgiveness and making a public

confession of a public sin. If David had done this he and all of Israel may have

been spared.

       The story that comes to mind is the story of the woman taken in adultery

John 8:1-11.    When Jesus asked her, "Where are those that accuse thee?"

“They are all gone my Lord”, was her reply. If the same question had been put to

David he would have said, "Here I am". If God's people would learn to stop

condemning themselves or listening to Satan‟s accusations most of the wars

would stop.

       Each act of sin has a consequence. And each Christian who chooses sin

and does not repent will have to face that consequence. Thankfully, David is
about at the end of these consequences. There are lessons to be learned on

this path but there are easier ways to learn them. It is during this time that

Christians will either learn great things about God or will leave the church. My

heart breaks for these believers who leave because that path doesn‟t have to be

traveled and the brick wall at the end of the path does not have to be hit head

on. Unfortunately other Christians find it too easer to condemn them thereby

building themselves up in the process. God forbid that the believer walking this

path should be a pastor. Because “Everyone knows he was only in it for the

money”. “I did not trust him in the beginning”. “Well, he could not hold down a

real job anyway”. When the sheep have a problem they have the shepherd to go

to but to whom does the shepherd go?

      Secondly, it is time for the self pity to stop. It is now time for the tough to

get going. David now must face his duty and perform as a king II Samuel 19:5-8.
              5) And Joab came into the house of the king, and said, Thou hast shamed this
              day the faces of all thy servants, which this day have saved thy life, and the lives
              of thy sons and of thy daughters, and the lives of thy wives, and the lives of thy
              concubines; 6) In that thou lovest thine enemies, and hatest thy friends. For thou
              hast declared this day, that thou regardest neither princes nor servants: for this
              day I perceive, that if Absalom had lived, and all we had died this day, then it had
              pleased thee well. 7) Now therefore arise, go forth, and speak comfortably unto
              thy servants: for I swear by the LORD, if thou go not forth, there will not tarry one
              with thee this night: and that will be worse unto thee than all the evil that befell
              thee from thy youth until now. 8) Then the king arose, and sat in the gate. And
              they told unto all the people, saying, Behold, the king doth sit in the gate. And all
              the people came before the king: for Israel had fled every man to his tent.


Joab's actions were not out of line.                       He was not rebelling against God's

appointed authority. He was acting on God's behalf. However, some insight can

be gained on how to rebuke one who is over you in authority.

      First, Joab went to David.                  He did not carry his complaint to another

person.     Beware of those who come to you with a complaint about God's

anointed.
        Second, there are clear acts of repeated sin by David. This was not the

first time David had indulged in self pity nor the first time that his self pity has hurt

the kingdom. The problem was not a difference of opinion between David and

Joab. There was a clear case of "thou shalt not" involved.

        Third, the sin was a public matter. Everyone knew of David's sin. Joab

was not the one to tell them. David‟s actions were public everyone knew of his

actions.

        Fourth, Joab had no selfish motive and was not trying to make himself

look good at the king's expense. He only wanted to advance God's work. He did

not want to replace the king. He only wanted to help his friend and protect God‟s

work.

        Fifth, the rebuke was done in private. Joab took David aside proving that

he understood where he fit in God's chain of command. He knew that only God

had the right to publicly rebuke David. Joab's intent was not to embarrass David

but to point out the situation.

        Sixth, David's actions were hurting God's work. David was driving people

away. The work was suffering. Sin had so affected David's judgment that he

could not see what was happening and needed a friend who would point it out to

him.

        Seventh, Joab gave steps to correct the situation. Joab was not just there

with criticism. He had a plan. His plan involved the king's remaining in control,

not being replaced. Joab never wanted to take David's office, he only wanted

David to once again start acting like a king.
         It should be clear that the key to rebuking one over you in authority is your

attitude. Not only in having the proper attitude but also in conveying the proper

attitude.   A person may have the proper attitude, but if that attitude is not

conveyed to the one with the authority then the proper attitude might as well not

exist.

         Now the king is facing his duties. His first responsibility is to face the

people God placed in his care. The very ones he let down. The same ones he

should have faced at the end of chapter 12. David now faces a greater task then

winning the battle. Like the Phoenix that arose from it's own ashes, he has to

trust God to rebuild his congregation. The king has to now act like a leader and

allow God to direct his actions. It will be through David‟s actions that the Holy

Spirit will be able to pour oil upon the troubled waters. His actions have to be

calm and encourage all of the people, not just those who stood with him, but also

those who were taken in by the wolf. He has to bring these two groups back into

one united force for God. Is he seared? Only if he is human.

         The worst thing David has to deal with is the fear II Samuel 19:9-10.
                9) And all the people were at strife throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, The
                king saved us out of the hand of our enemies, and he delivered us out of the
                hand of the Philistines; and now he is fled out of the land for Absalom. 10) And
                Absalom, whom we anointed over us, is dead in battle. Now therefore why speak
                ye not a word of bringing the king back?


         The people of Israel did not know what David would do next. He has won

the battle and to the victor belong the spoils. What could they expect from a king

they had just tried to dethrone? They knew what David could have expected from

them if they had won the war.                    But what would David do? It is always the

unknown people fear the most. David has to now take steps to remove that fear
by forgiving them and informing them of his plans. David will find it easy to

forgive them now that he has forgiven himself. If fear is the weapon Satan is

using to prevent unity it is noteworthy how David overcomes that fear.

      First, he uses someone they all trust II Samuel 19:11.
               11) And king David sent to Zadok and to Abiathar the priests, saying, Speak unto
               the elders of Judah, saying, Why are ye the last to bring the king back to his
               house? seeing the speech of all Israel is come to the king, even to his house.

      He did not sugar coat his words. His words were both truthful and honest.

He placed the issue before them. He let them know what was expected of them

and by sending Zadok they knew that David was there to help them meet that

expectation.

      Second, the king reminded them of their common bond II Samuel 19:12.
               12) Ye are my brethren, ye are my bones and my flesh: wherefore then are ye
               the last to bring back the king?

      We are brethren because we have a common goal and a common enemy.

The battle is over and now that is behind us. Do not place blame anymore, let's

get on with the work God has called us to do. The things we have in common far

outweighs the things we disagree over. This was David's message to the people.

He let them know that he needed them to accomplish God's will. He knew

firsthand what self pity and self doubt would do and he wanted no part of that for
his sheep. Get on with your own life and get on with the work of God was his

message

      Third, there will be no reprisals II Samuel 19:13.
               13) And say ye to Amasa, Art thou not of my bone, and of my flesh? God do so
               to me, and more also, if thou be not captain of the host before me continually in
               the room of Joab.

      God's man does not need or want revenge. These people are not his

enemies. They were simply misled by the wolf. The anguish that God used to

bring David to this point was great. David has learned that all he needs is God.
He does not now, and will never need revenge.                              God has extended to him
another chance and he will do the same to his sheep. David is now anxious to

see God's people serving their God once again. He was now determined to

devote as much energy as it takes to unite Israel. This may be the hard way to

learn a lesson but it‟s the only way to change a king back into a shepherd.

       David has made his plea for unity. The question now is how will the

people respond?        Will they lay down their weapons or continue the fight II

Samuel 19:14-15.
              14) And he bowed the heart of all the men of Judah, even as the heart of one
              man; so that they sent this word unto the king, Return thou, and all thy servants.
              15) So the king returned, and came to Jordan. And Judah came to Gilgal, to go
              to meet the king, to conduct the king over Jordan.


       It has been said that a king never stands taller than when he humbles

himself. The people knew what they deserved and contrasted that with what the

king was offering. When God‟s man acts as David did, he removes the last

obstacle to unity. The outcome is assured. I like the phrase in Verse 14 "And he

bow the heart of all the people...".             It was David‟s, response to their needs that

bowed their hearts. David knows that after a split the important thing is to rebuild

lives not to prove who was right or wrong. David had the military might to force

them to bend their knee but instead he got them to bow their hearts. Once the

heart is bowed the knee will follow.

       I have seen pastors use the time after a split as an opportunity to clean

house and to push through a new constitution that gives them total control. "This

is to prevent another split", they say. The only problem with this is that it doesn‟t

work. The only way to prevent another split is to get the people to bow their

hearts not to push through a constitution that allows one to go from pastor to

pope. Rules can be passed to force people to conform but until the heart is
bowed there is a problem to be addressed.

       The next to come before the king is Shimei.                              Shimei opposed God's

leader and now repents, or does he? He gets a stay of execution. I say a stay

because if we look ahead to I Kings 2:36-46 we see that Shimei was eventually

put to death for his actions. One thing that should be pointed out here is that

God does not withhold forgiveness based on future actions and neither should

we. However, Shimei does give us some insights as to the criteria to be used in

accepting someone back who has opposed the ministry II Samuel 19:16-17.
              16) And Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjamite, which was of Bahurim, hasted and
              came down with the men of Judah to meet king David. 17) And there were a
              thousand men of Benjamin with him, and Ziba the servant of the house of Saul,
              and his fifteen sons and his twenty servants with him; and they went over Jordan
              before the king.


       The first thing we examine is that Shimei's still has a positive influence

over the people. When he came before the king he brought others with him.

Just as there is no way to see his heart, there is no way to see the heart of those

who came with him. As long as he uses his influence to advance the work, his

actions have to be taken at face value. To reject Shimei at this point is to reject

those who came with him. Even if there are questions about his repentance,

God‟s man is called to minister to those who came with him. If his repentance is

not true or if he becomes a danger later he can then be removed. God's man

has to give him time to either prove himself or „hang himself‟ either way this gives

God‟s man the time to win the hearts of the people.

       The second thing we examine is his words II Samuel 19:18-20.
              18) And there went over a ferry boat to carry over the king's household, and to do
              what he thought good. And Shimei the son of Gera fell down before the king, as
              he was come over Jordan; 19) And said unto the king, Let not my lord impute
              iniquity unto me, neither do thou remember that which thy servant did perversely
              the day that my lord the king went out of Jerusalem, that the king should take it
              to his heart. 20) For thy servant doth know that I have sinned: therefore, behold,
             I am come the first this day of all the house of Joseph to go down to meet my
             lord the king.


      We see Shimei repenting before the people. Once again his words ring

true. Was he sincere? I don‟t know, and am glad I don‟t have to decide. He has

done all that God demands of us. He sinned publicly. He repented publicly.

Who are we to place obstacles in the way of another brother, if he is a brother?

Give him a chance. "How many times?" Read Matthew 7:1 and chapter 18.

Keep in mind that whatever rule you use to decide if someone can be forgiven

the same rule God will use on you. Also don‟t forget that one earmark of a wolf

is to cry justice for Ammon and plead for mercy for himself.

      David grants Shimei‟s stay of execution II Samuel 19:21-23.
             21) But Abishai the son of Zeruiah answered and said, Shall not Shimei be put to
             death for this, because he cursed the LORD'S anointed? 22) And David said,
             What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah, that ye should this day be
             adversaries unto me? shall there any man be put to death this day in Israel? for
             do not I know that I am this day king over Israel? 23) Therefore the king said
             unto Shimei, Thou shalt not die. And the king sware unto him.


      It‟s note worthy to notice that God‟s man had the final say as to whether

Shimei is accepted back. He also should have the say as to what conditions

should be placed on his coming back. David received counsel from Abishai as to

what should happen to Shimei, but he and he alone will have to cast the final

vote. He is responsible for the sheep and will stand in judgment of his decisions.

If he decides that the benefit of having someone back outweighs the danger,

then he accepts him back. If he decides that the danger outweighs the benefits,

then they must leave. Some of the questions that has to answer to properly

respond to one who wishes to reunite are as follows:

      1. Is the repentance sincere, or better yet, do you have any reason to

doubt it? He can‟t be judged on the basis of whom he supported. Just as God
accepts us as repentant sinners a repentant enemy has to be accepted or

rejected on the basis of the moment, not past or future actions.

      2. Can he still contribute to God's work?

      3. Is his influence on the people positive or negative?

      4. Is he a threat at this time?

      5. If he becomes a threat what will his removal cause?

      These questions are just a few that God‟s man has to answer about

anyone who wishes to join the assembly, not just those who wish to reunite.

Each pastor has his own list of questions and dangers he has learned to look for.

If all the questions that each pastor has were compared, one common fact would

stand out. There is no human way to keep troublemakers out. Since you can‟t

keep them out the question becomes are you willing to deal with them once

exposed?

      In this next section we will look at those who get taken back. One might

ask the question, "What is the difference between one who gets taken back and

one who gets a stay of execution?" Let me say from the people‟s point of view

there is no difference but from God's point of view there is a big difference. God

knew that Shimei‟s action would eventually cause him to be put to death. God

also knew that the body needed to heal before any more blood was shed and

that Mephibosheth would aid in the healing process.

      This brings up another question, "What could Mephibosheth do?" I am

only beginning to learn the value of caring for people with special needs. It

seems that in caring for them God uses them as a calming influence. It is as
though they are the oil poured on troubled waters.                             The work of God who

attempts to meet the needs of these people is twice blessed. They are blessed

for their efforts to meet the needs and blessed in what they receive from God in

return. No one has the ability to show love more than those who need it the

most but have nothing tangible to offer in return.

       With this in mind, let us look at Mephibosheth. The first thing we notice is

his humility II Samuel 19:24.
              24) And Mephibosheth the son of Saul came down to meet the king, and had
              neither dressed his feet, nor trimmed his beard, nor washed his clothes, from the
              day the king departed until the day he came again in peace.


       We are not told if Mephibosheth's appearance was the result of a vow. If

he had made a vow not to care for his own physical needs until the king was

again in the palace, that would be in keeping with the times. No matter the

reason for his condition we are told that he came to David as he was. He did not

try to impress the king. He knew the urgency of getting to the king. In order to

set the record straight of II Samuel 16:1-4 he had to get to David.                               He

understood that there was only one source of mercy and he would not be denied

access to it no matter his physical condition. He did not come to David in spite of

this condition but because of his condition.

       Second, we see that Mephibosheth understood the power of the king II

Samuel 19:25-28.
              25) And it came to pass, when he was come to Jerusalem to meet the king, that
              the king said unto him, Wherefore wentest not thou with me, Mephibosheth? 26)
              And he answered, My lord, O king, my servant deceived me: for thy servant said,
              I will saddle me an ass, that I may ride thereon, and go to the king; because thy
              servant is lame. 27) And he hath slandered thy servant unto my lord the king;
              but my lord the king is as an angel of God: do therefore what is good in thine
              eyes. 28) For all of my father's house were but dead men before my lord the
              king: yet didst thou set thy servant among them that did eat at thine own table.
              What right therefore have I yet to cry any more unto the king?
         Mephibosheth knew that his only hope was the king's mercy. Ziba may

have lied to David but Mephibosheth had no way of knowing. He knew that

David was a fair man and could be trusted to do the right thing. When asked of

the king where he was in the king's hour of real need his reply was to present his

side of the story. He trusted the king to judge the situation correctly.

         At first glance one might think Mephibosheth was taking a big chance but

he knew he wasn't. You see Mephibosheth knew that the king would not act

based on his emotions but upon his promise. In II Samuel 9 David gave a

promise to Mephibosheth. Mephibosheth had the promise of a king what more

could he ask?

         We now come to David's response to Mephibosheth's request II Samuel

19:29.
               29) And the king said unto him, Why speakest thou any more of thy matters? I
               have said, thou and Ziba divide the land.


         David put Mephibosheth's mind to rest and dismisses the matter. It was

not lack of interest that brought about such a quick decision. It was concern for

the kingdom as a whole. Sometimes a leader gets into a situation where there is

no easy way out. Here David finds himself in such a situation. He has given his

word to Mephibosheth but now he is faced with conflicting stories. There is no

way to get to the absolute truth. At a time like this God's man should make a fair

decision as quickly as possible. He has to get on with the business of directing

God's work and can not afford to get bogged down in irresolvable details. The

longer such a situation is left unresolved the more people get involved.                      The

more people that get involved the closer you get to another split.
       In Mephibosheth's response we see the wisdom of David's decision II

Samuel 19:30.
                 30) And Mephibosheth said unto the king, Yea let him take all, forasmuch as my
                 lord the king is come again in peace unto his own house.


       Mephibosheth gladly accepted the king's decision. I don‟t know if it was

because he was guilty of Ziba's accusation or because he was totally committed

to God's man. I am sure that if David's actions were unfair to Mephibosheth then

God made it up to him. And Mephibosheth was willing to trust God to take care

of the matter.

       The second reward for a life of faithfulness is given in II Samuel 19:31-40.

This also brings us to the sixth and final group of people involved in a split. They

are of the household of faith. Barzillai remained faithful to God and to those

whom God placed over him. He accepted the task of advancing God‟s work and

remained faithful to that task.              From his actions we not only learn of God's

reward for faithfulness but what one has to do to receive that reward.

       From the text the reader quickly sees that Barillai did not expect a reward.

His reward was in serving his God.

       Let us now look at what great act of faith Barzillai performed to qualify for

a reward II Samuel 19:31-32.
                 31) And Barzillai the Gileadite came down from Rogelim, and went over Jordan
                 with the king to conduct him over Jordan. 32) Now Barzillai was a very aged
                 man, even fourscore years old: and he had provided the king with sustenance
                 while he lay at Mahanaim; for he was a very great man.


       Barzillai's act was not really one of greatness. He did not join in the battle.

He did not even help plan the campaign. To be completely frank about it he was

never in the forefront at all. All he did was to simply make what he had available
to God. Just as Jesus took the loaves and fishes from a boy and fed a multitude.

God can use whatever we bring Him in greater ways then we ever expected.

       It‟s not great deeds that make a great person. It‟s a great person that

makes great deeds. All a Christian has to do to be great is be obedient. In

Scripture obedience is call stewardship.                      An obedient Christian may never

achieve worldly fame but God will reward him accordingly. Obedience is the only

way to gain God‟s rewards. Ah, "But what are these rewards", you ask. In the

next eight verses Barzillai list the six rewards of faithfulness and obedience.

       The first reward of faithfulness we see is that God's anointed desires your

advice II Samuel 19:33.
              33) And the king said unto Barzillai, Come thou over with me, and I will feed thee
              with me in Jerusalem.


       In verse 33 David is not simply asking Barzillai home for dinner. David is

offering him a place at court. An opportunity to influence the matters of state.

David obviously valued Barzillai's options and wanted him around.                                  But the

question is why? Simply for his help before the battle. Many people helped

David. Many more fought for him. He did not offer them a place at court. Why,

Barzillai? We are not told why in the passage but allow me to propose a theory.

       During my early days in Bible College I worked at a place where four other

students worked.        During our lunch and breaks we would often congregate

together and discuss the things we were learning in class. There was another

gentleman working there who had been a believer longer than we have been

alive. He would always join in our conversations with some new truth he had just

learned.   Well we would all be polite but let's face it we were all F.B.S.A.'s
(Future Bible Scholars of America). We were studying the deep things of God's

Word. Why we were even being exposed to Greek! This man could hardly read.

What new truth could he hope to teach us?

       Then after a few weeks we all began to notice something. The things he

was sharing with us started coming up in class. To our surprise our professors

agreed with him. Soon we F.B.S.A. started keeping our mouth shut and listening

to him. He taught us some very profound truths. We all discovered that he had

learned on his knees what we were attending college to learn. He had learned in

practical terms what we were learning in theory. Then came the greatest shock

of all, one day he told some of us how he envied us. He said, "Someday you will

become Pastors while I am just an uneducated man who can't do anything for

God". Nothing could have been further from the truth. First of all, we had taken

notice that he had been with Jesus.

       Second, he made the same mistake that a lot of pastors make. They

assume that those in lesser positions of authority have nothing to teach them.

The more experienced pastor has learned to mine that wealth of knowledge and

experience to advance God's work. When one walks with God others will take

note of it. Smart pastors will desire to spend time with the faithful servant to

learn from him what he has learned while alone with Jesus. Smart pastors will

offer them a place at court.

       The second reward of faithfulness is the ability to discern God‟s will from

Satan‟s trickery II Samuel 19:34-35a.
              34) And Barzillai said unto the king, How long have I to live, that I should go up
              with the king unto Jerusalem? 35a) I am this day fourscoure years old: and can I
              discern between good and evil?
       In I John 1:7 we are commanded to walk in the light. An order from God

that seems easy enough. But in II Corinthians 11:14 we are told that Satan

himself is able to transform into an angel of light. So much for the idea that

walking in the light is easy. We have true light and counterfeit light. How do you

tell the difference? “That is easy” you say. “Okay if is so easy then why do we

have so many Christians that are deceived?”

       When I was a boy in Alabama on Friday all the men would cash their pay

checks and go to this one small store, gas station combined. I liked being there

when all the men came in. I would listen to their stories and watch all the activity.

The store was owned by a man and his wife who worked behind the counter.

This one Friday as usual the store was busy with people everywhere telling jokes

and paying their bills when one man handed her a twenty dollar bill. The bill had

no sooner touched her hand when she tossed it back on the counter and said

“That bills no good”. She never even looked at it she just touched it and told the

man the money was counterfeit. Something by the way he did not know.

       Later that week I asked her how she knew that the twenty was a

counterfeit when she had not even looked at it.        Her response was “I have

handled enough of the real stuff that I don‟t have to look”. Boy, what a truth for

Christians. We need to become so familiar with the truth that we will recognize a

counterfeit as soon as we touch it. We may not know what is wrong immediately

but we know that something is wrong. The challenge for the world is to be able

to recognize counterfeit light.

       To answer Barzillia‟s question “...can I discern between good and evil?”
Based on his actions that helped keep the king on the throne I would say the

answer is an overwhelming YES! Barzillai had learned to tell the real from the

counterfeit. He had learned to recognize the wolves and to stay away for them.

He learned that at times God‟s will may be hard to find but it can be found. He

learned that all that glitters is not gold. He learned to look for substance and not

just a show. He learned that Satan‟s counterfeit always had flaws in it. He

learned that Satan‟s gifts always have hooks in them. How did he learn all of

this? He learned it the same way that everyone learns it. He was trapped by the

snare. He was caught by the hook. He was left bankrupt by the glitter but he

saw God‟s faithfulness through it all. He learned to find God‟s will by seeking

long and hard for it. After all if it was simple or easy we all would do it. It‟s never

easy to deny oneself and take up your cross and follow Jesus. If it was easy

then broad would be the way to eternal life and narrow would be the way to hell.

       The third reward to faithfulness is to see the things of this world grow

strangely dim in the light of eternity II Samuel 19:35b.
              35b) can thy servant taste what I eat or what I drink? can I hear any more the
              voice of singing men and singing women? wherefore then should thy servant be
              yet a burden unto my lord the king?


       Several years ago I read an interview by Nelson Rockafeller. At the time

he was worth over 1 billion dollars. When ask how much money is enough his

answer was “Just a little bit more”. Here is a man who could have anything in the

world but wanted. Never having had a billion dollars I may not be qualified to

speak on the subject but my question would be “How much more is there”?

Obviously Mr. Rockafeller knew there was more and he wanted it.

       Each of us wrestles with the question "How much is enough?" or “If we
only had... then we would be happy.” In mankind‟s search for happiness two

constants have emerged:

       1. Happiness somehow involves material things.

       2. You never get enough things.

       Obviously happiness eludes anyone who searches for it in things. When

forced to face the facts we says sarcastically "He who dies with the most toys

wins". But the truth is he who dies with the most toys is still dead.

       David rendered honor to whom honor was due Romans 13:7 but Barzillai

declined David‟s offer. As you read Barzillai response to David one thing is clear.

Barzillai is more interested in a new journey that in a new job.        He is not

interested in a new vocation but in a new destination. Along with being able to

discern between good and evil he can also discern between temporal and

eternal. He was no longer blinded by the glitter but is now able to see the gold.

A man or woman with these attributes could never be a burden only a blessing.

No, Barzillai was not interested in starting a new career. He was interested in

successfully ending the one he had.

       What an impact Christianity would have on the world if we could become

more interested in our heavenly journey than our material possessions. If we

could put our standing with God before our standing before men we would then

impact the world for Jesus. But alas things do get in the way don‟t they.

       The conflict between good and evil dates before the Garden of Eden. And

if there has been one weapon that Satan has used very successfully it has been

the blurring of the line between right and wrong. This brings us to fourth reward
of a faithful life. Eventually see right prevail II Samuel 19:36.
              36)Thy servant will go a little way over Jordan with the king: and why should the
              king recompense it me with such a reward?


        Barzillai served the king well and in doing so he has served God well. By

being faithful Barzillai was allowed to see firsthand what most of us have to

accept by faith. He did what was right and saw right prevail over evil. Barzillai

has seen his faith turned to sight. He has seen his king placed back upon the

throne. Like Simeon, in the temple, he has seen God‟s salvation. He has grown

from faith to faith. He has escorted the king back to Jerusalem. With all that has

happened, what was his reaction? "Why should the king recompense me?" He

was not surprised by the outcome he expected it. I do not know which is the

greatest reward to have seen right prevail or to have really expected it all of the

time.

        There is a little booklet called "Quotations of Famous Infidels" that could

be used to introduce the fifth reward of faith that is to die a peaceful death II

Samuel 19:37a.
              37a) Let thy servant, I pray thee, turn back again, that I may die in mine own city,
              and be buried by the grave of my father and of my mother.


        To the Christian death is not the end it‟s just the beginning.                               It‟s a

triumphant march into eternity. Paul tells us that to the believer the grave has

lost it‟s sting (I Corinthians 15:55). David tells us in the Psalms that death is a

passing through ".. yea, tho I walk through the valley of the shadow of death...".

Imagine the very thing that most people fear the most is just a valley to be

passed through to the believer. Death is nothing more than the highway from

earth to the eternal presence of God. It‟s not just the destination that has taken
the sting out of death it is the grace of God. What kind of grace can take the fear

out of dying? What kind of grace can turn a final end into a glorious beginning?

I don‟t know for only the dying believer has experienced it. In reading of the

experiences of the believers who have passed through this valley that grace has

to be something special. I am not sure that a Christian should be anxious to

miss such an experience.

      The sixth reward we see to a faithful life is to be able to trust those whom

God has placed over you II Samuel 19:37b-38.
               37b) But behold thy servant Chimham; let him go over with my lord the king; and
               do to him what shall seem good unto thee. 38) And the king answered,
               Chimham shall go over with me, and I will do to him that which shall seem good
               unto thee: and whatsoever thou shalt require of me, that will I do for thee.


       Barzillai was willing to entrust Chimhan into David‟s care. What greater

compliment can one pay then to entrust their child to them? You don‟t have to

go very far in David‟s past to find a time when he was not trust worthy. Barzillai,

then like all of us at one time or another, had a leader that he wanted God to

change. He did not want a new leader. If that were the case he would have

supported Absalom‟s rebellion. He wanted God to change David so he would

once again have a shepherd as well as a king. Too often churches ask God to

change the leader instead of changing the leader. I have seen God answer their

prayers with a new leader and real soon the people found that they went from

the frying pan into the fire.

       The seventh reward for a faithful life is to have your presence valued by

God's anointed II Samuel 19:39-40.
               39) And all the people went over Jordan. And when the king was come over, the
               king kissed Barzillai, and blessed him; and he returned unto his own place. 40)
               Then the king went on to Gilgal, and Chimham went on with him: and all the
               people of Judah conducted the king, and also half the people of Israel.
      In verse 33 we saw that David valued Barzillai‟s advice. In verses 39

and 40 we see that David valued Barzillai‟s presence. Has God blessed you

with someone who walks so close to God you just enjoy being around them?

Not to discuss any great theological issues but to just be with them. A friend so

close that you don‟t even have to talk but to just enjoy their presence. If you

have then you understand how David feels about Barzillai. David just wanted

him around.

      I have a pastor friend whose father was also a pastor. His father finished

Bible college but did not continue his formal education. But on more that one

occasion my friend has told me of the times men with more formal education

sought his father out. Sometimes for advice sometimes just for the fellowship.

After meeting his father I can understand why. The man walks with God and he

taught his son to do the same. I enjoy being in their presence. It‟s almost as

though you hope to get some of the overflow.
                                         D. AFTERSHOCK

       During this study we have looked at what happens when God‟s work is

split. Now we will look at how a congregation as a whole responds to the attempt

to destroy God's work II Samuel 19:4l-43).
               41) And, behold, all the men of Israel came to the king, and said unto the king,
               Why have our brethren the men of Judah stolen thee away, and have brought
               the king, and his household, and all David's men with him, over Jordan? 42) And
               all the men of Judah answered the men of Israel, Because the king is near of kin
               to us: wherefore then be ye angry for this matter? have we eaten at all of the
               king's cost? or hath he given us any gift? 43) And the men of Israel answered
               the men of Judah, and said, We have ten parts in the king, and we have also
               more right in David than ye: why then did ye despise us, that our advice should
               not be first had in bringing back our king? And the words of the men of Judah
               were fiercer than the words of the men of Israel.


       When I started this study, I thought this was the end.                                     It was my

impression that each split ended with the people ready to rebel. I thought that

each victory, like the Book of Judges, only led to another defeat. As I continued

to read the remainder of the book of II Samuel, searching for a reason for all of

the destruction, I discovered that Israel's reaction to David was not another act of

rebellion.

       Like an earthquake, church splits have aftershocks. This was only the

beginning of the first of these aftershocks. God‟s man can‟t afford to be caught

off guard. Just because the wolf is defeated and there is an appearance of unity,

the danger is not yet passed. There will be aftershocks.                                Each one will be

coming from a different direction and each accomplishing a different purpose.

Each of them will have to be dealt with differently or the work can still be

destroyed. That will be the next study, the study AFTERSHOCKS II Samuel

19:41-24:25.
                    SATAN’S ATTACK UPON GOD’S WORK

                               II Samuel 11:1-19:43

I. Satan‟s first attack - Binding the strong man of the house 11:1-12:31

   A. How does Satan bind the strong man of the house 11:1-25

      1. By causing him to lose his vision 11:1-5

          a. The sign of a strong man who has lost or is loosing his vision 11:1-5

             1. He fails to perform the duties of his office 11:1

             2. He lets down his personal relationship with God 11:2a

             3. He replaces God‟s call with other things 11:2b-3a

             4. He does not accept Godly advice 11:3b

             5. He sins 11:4

             6. He‟s caught 11:5

             7. He covers his sin instead of confessing it 11:6-25

                 a. By confusing the issue, create doubt 11:6-13

                    1) Deception form the throne (It‟s not my baby) 11:6-8

                    2) The strong man meets a noble man (It‟s definitely not my

                    baby) 11:9-13

                 b. By removing the opposition 11:14-25

                    1) The murder planed 11:14-15

                    2) The friend complies 11:16-17

                    3) The plain carried out 11:18-21

                    4) The strong man is safe 11:22-25

      2. Living with the sin 11:26-27
   B. How does God restore the fallen believer 12:1-31

      1. Restoration or removal? II Samuel 7:16

      2. First by providing access to Himself

      3. Second by allowing time for the offender to repent on his own 12:14

      4. Third by brining the sin to light 12:1-12

         a. First God reveals the perpetrator of the sin 12:1-7a

         b. Second God reveals the cause of the sin 12:7b-9

         c. Third God reveals the consequences of the sin 12:10-12

             1) The sword shall not depart for David‟s house 12:10

             2) Raise up evil in David‟s house (12:11a)

             3) Take David‟s wives and give to another 12:11b

             4) God does everything in public 12:12

      4. Forth by showing mercy 12:13-23

         a. Forgiving David 12:13-14

             1) David repents 12:13

NOTE:                            Evidence of true repentance
1. A need to spend time alone with God. 16
2. Remorse over the damage caused by your sin. 16
3. Your relationship with God becomes more important than anything else. 17
4. Others will recognize your sincerity. 18
5. An acceptance of God will. 19-20
6. Resting in God‟s mercy. 21-22
7. Trusting God for the future. 23
8. A new peace with God. 24
9. God will put His approval upon your actions. 25

             2) God forgives 12:14

         b. David Restored 12:15-31

             1) With God 12:13-16
             2) With the elders 12:17-23

             3) With Bathsheba 12:24-25

             4) Not with Israel 12:26-31

Note: The rest of Satan‟s attacks have to be within the guidelines God laid down

in II Samuel 12:10-12

II. Satan‟s second attack - Finding someone with an agenda and giving him

reason and opportunity.

   A. Reason 13:1-37 XXXX

      1. How does Satan raise up evil within a work 13:1-18

          a. Step one uncontrolled emotions 13:1-2

          b. Step two giving an audience to Satan‟s advisor 13:3-5

          c. Step three believing the lie 13:6

          d. Step four betraying s trust 13:7-9a

          e. Step five making the act a secret 13:9b-10

          f. Step six committing the act 13:11-14

          g. Step seven paying for the act 13:15-18

      2. How Satan uses sin in a house 13:19-37

          a. By misdirecting the victim 13:19-20

          b. By preventing God‟s man from dealing with the sin 13:21

          c. By having another deal with the sin 13:22-37

             1) Nursing a grudge 13:22

             2) Scheming for revenge 13:23-27

             3) Using others to do his work 13:28-29a
             4) Using confusion to aid him 13:29b-33

             5) Not facing his deed 13:34

             6) Knowing his enemy 13:35-37

   B. God‟s counter – Removing the wolf 13:37-39

III. Satan‟s third attack - Satan‟s scheme to bring Absalom back 14:1-33

   A. How does Satan get God‟s man to accept the wolf back?

      1. By having someone who is trusted plead his case 14:1-3

      2. By misdirecting the focus away from his acts14:4-20

          a. False information 14:4-8

          b. False urgency 14:9-11

          c. False conclusion 14:12-17

          d. False decisions 14:18-20

   B. Satan‟s purpose in bringing the wolf back - to change the direction of

God‟s work 14:21-33

      1. From God‟s Word to feelings 14:21-24

      2. From Spiritual to physical 14:25-27

      3. From life giving to destructive 14:28-33

Note: God does not counter the wolf‟s return because he provided for the

protection of his people by his removal. To invite him back is to go contrary to

God‟s actions.

IV. Satan fourth attack - the work (The Sword) 15:1-14

Note: How does Satan attack God‟s work?

   A. By turning the hearts of the people15:1-6
Note: How does Satan turn the hearts of the people away from God?

       1. By presenting himself as having the authority of the king 15:1-2

       2. By pointing out the king‟s errors 15:3

       3. By poisoning the people‟s faith in the king 15:4-6

          a. By promising a fair deal 15:4

          b. By giving a friendly greeting 15:5

          c. By giving false hope 15:6

   B. By taking the king‟s throne 15:7-12

       1. Lying to the king 15:7-9

NOTE: In verse 7 it should read four not forty.

          a. Misrepresented spiritual facts 15:7

          b. Made spiritual decisions while in the world 15:8

          c. Raising the king‟s hope 15:9

       2. By placing worldly people in spiritual positions 15:10-12

          a. Doing it in secret 15:10-11

          b. Infiltrated the king‟s inner circle 15:12

   C. Attacking the king 15:13-14

V. Response to Satan‟s attack 15:15-19:40

Note: God has restored the king, given him the charge to protect the work and

drive the wolf out. Since the king allowed the wolf back, God will strengthen the

king for the battle but does not take any action until the king does.

   A. The king‟s response to Satan‟s attack 15:15-37

Note: How should the leader of a work under attack react?
      1. By accepting help 15:15

      2. By providing for his peace of mind 15:16-18

         a. His home 15:16

         b. His safety 15:17-18

      3. By finding out where everyone stands 15:19-22

         a. David releases his friends 15:19-20

NOTE: David allows them to decide.

         b. His friends decide to help 15:21

         c. David accepts their help 15:22

      4. By keeping a proper prospective of God 15:23-31

         a. Knew who the real losers were 15:23

         b. Obeying God‟s Word 15:24-31

            1) The ark in Jerusalem 15:24-26

            2) Zadok and the Levites had jobs to do in Jerusalem 15-27-29

            3) Worshipping God 15:30-31

      5. By placing people where they could be used by God 15;32-37

         a. Wrong place 15:32-33

         b. Right place 15:34-37

   B. People‟s response to Satan‟s attack 16:1-23

      1. The response of people who are uncommitted 16:1-4

NOTE: They use the confusion to advance their own purpose.

         a) They will give money 16:1-2

         b) They will not give themselves 16:3-4
       2. The response of people who oppose God‟s man 16:5-14

NOTE: Now you get yours. They hate you, justly or unjustly it does not matter.

          a) They can‟t see what God is doing only what they have lost 16:5-6

          b) They judge your past life 16:7-8

          c) David looked beyond the man 16:9-14 (Proverbs 16:7)

       3. The response of people who support God‟s man 16:15-19

       4. The response of people who advance their own goal 16:20-23

   C. God‟s response to Satan‟s attack 17:1-19:43

       1. God‟s intervention 17:1-18:8

NOTE: Not to stop the destruction but to direct it.

          a. Uncovering Satan‟s plan 17:1-4

          b. Foiling Satan‟s plan 17:5-14

              1) Doubt 17:5-7

              2) Fear 17:8-10

              3) Pride 17:11-14

          c. Revealing Satan‟s plan 17:15-22

              1) Warning the king 17:15-17

              2) Protecting the king‟s allies 17:18-21

              3) Delivering the king and his allies 17:22

          d. Death to the betrayer 17:23

NOTE: The first death even before Absalom.

          e. Providing for the king 17:24-29

              1) Choosing inferior leaders 17:24-26
      2) Physical needs 17:27-29

   f. The battle 18:1-8

      1) The king‟s provision 18:1-2a

      2) The king protected 18:2b-4

      3) The king‟s request 18:5

      4) The battle engaged 18:6-8

2. God‟s dealing with those involved 18:9-19:40

   a. God‟s dealing with the wolf 18:9-18

      1) Absalom caught 18:9

      2) Absalom discovered 18:10-13

      3) Absalom‟s requiem 18:14-18

          a) Absalom dies 18:14-15

          b) The battle stopped 18:16

          c) Absalom buried 18:16

          d) Absalom‟s Memorial 18:18

   b. God‟s dealing with the king 18:18-19:8

      1) The king told 18:19-32

          a) The runners 18:19-23

          b) The king told of victory 18:24-30

          c) The king told of Absalom 18:31-32

      2). The king‟s grief 18:33-19:8

          a) The king faces his desire 18:33

          b) The king faces the consequences of his actions 19:1-4
               4) The king faces his duty 19:5-8

         c. God‟s dealing with the congregation 19:9-15

            1) Their fear 19:9-10

            2) Their unity 19:11-15

NOTE: How God used David to unite the people.

               a) Used someone they all trusted 19:11

               b) Reminded them of their common bonds 19:12

               c) Promised no reprisal 19:13

               d) The response to David‟s action 19:14-15

         d. God‟s dealing with those who get a stay of execution 19:16-23

            1) Still has a position of influence over the people 19:16-17

            2) Repented before the people 19:18-20

            3) His stay of execution granted 19:21-23

NOTE: I Kings 2:36-46

         e. God‟s dealing with those who get taken back 19:24-30

            1) Came as he was did not put on 19:24

            2) Requested mercy 19:25-28

NOTE: He understood the king‟s power.

            3) The king‟s response 19:29-30

         f. God‟s dealing with those who get rewarded 19:31-40

            1) Performed a service before the battle 19:31-32

            2) The reward of faithfulness 19:33-40

               a) To have your presence valued but God‟s anointed 19:33
                   b) The ability to discern God‟s will from Satan‟s trickery 19:33-

                   35a

                   c) To see things of this world grow dim in the light of eternity

                   19:35b

                   d) To have done right and seen right prevail 19:36

                   e) To die a peaceful death 19:37a

                   f) To be able to trust those whom God has placed over you

                   19:37b-38

                   g) To have your presence valued by God‟s anointed 19:39-40




                              AFTERSHOCKS 19:41-24:25

Unfortunately once the original attack is over the war has only just begun. The

AFTERSHOCKS that follow an attack can be more destructive than the original

attack. To discover what happens to a people after an attack and discover what

they   can   and     should    do   to   prevent   even    greater   destruction      see

AFTERSHOCKS.

				
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