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“Idle Hands Are The Devil’s Workshop”

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Daily reading assignment – Proverbs 10

The following study is taken in part from my devotional commentary post on the Book of Proverbs dated December 10, 2014.

Today’s study in proverbs features what I will call three “stand alone proverbs” – three proverbial statements of “Uncommon Common Sense” communicating three distinct observations.

Proverbs 10:15  “The rich man’s wealth [property; possessions; savings] is his strong city [a fortified city]: the destruction [ruin; dismay; terror] of the poor [needy; helpless] is their poverty.”

“You didn’t build that!”, was an adage employed by liberal politicians in the 2012 election cycle in the United States.   Hoping to stir up class envy, the statement taunted the successful while dismissing the sacrifices and risks taken by employers and business owners.  I accept the statement if the intent is to acknowledge divine providence; however, an ideology that taunts hardworking entrepreneurs, spawns an expansive welfare state, inevitably makes citizens debtors and slaves of big government.   How tragic!   While excoriating the successful, the poor are left weak, dependent and one crisis from destitution!

Proverbs 10:15 is a statement of fact—a rich man finds comfort and security in his wealth.   In the same way citizens of a medieval city found refuge behind the walls of a city, a rich man finds security in riches providentially provided to him by God.   By contrast, the working poor are often a crisis away from desperation (an incentive to be a “saver” and not a “spender” or “debtor”).

Proverbs 10:16 – “The labour  [wages; reward] of the righteous [just; law-abiding] tendeth to life [strength; satisfaction]: the fruit [result; reaping] of the wicked [ungodly; guilty] to sin [punishment; i.e. leads to greater sin].”

Though the curse of sin left man laboring for food by the sweat of his brow (Genesis 3:19),  the reward of an honest day’s labor brings its own satisfaction.   I am not sure who to credit with the quote, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop”; however, there is a lot of truth in that statement.   The prevalence of depression in our society is, I believe, directly related to the gross amount of leisure time we enjoy as a society.  Too few of us come to the end of a day and enjoy the reward of having accomplished anything that is lasting!

Proverbs 10:17 – “He is in the way [path] of life that keepeth [heeds] instruction: but he that refuseth reproof [refuses to hear and heed correction] erreth.”

Solomon continues a common theme in verse 17—God blesses a man who heeds correction and rebuke; however, a rebel will inevitably follow a path to his own destruction.

As Solomon challenged his son to take the path of righteousness, it is the duty and responsibility of parents and spiritual leaders to challenge men and women with the same enduring truths from God’s Word (2 Timothy 4:2)!

Two questions to ponder: What path are you taking?  Is your heart open to correction? 

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith

“Common Sense is Wisdom in Overalls”

Farmall tractorThursday, July 06, 2017

Daily reading assignment – Proverbs 8-9

Of all the chapters in the Book of Proverbs, among my favorite is today’s scheduled reading, chapters 8 and 9.  Before presenting today’s devotional commentary, I invite you to remember I have posted a verse-by-verse commentary on Proverbs on this “From the Heart of a Shepherd” blog in 2014-2015.

Knowing it is an impossible task to address two full chapters in Proverbs, I limit this devotional commentary to a brief introduction of Proverbs 8, a chapter that personifies “Wisdom” delivering a soliloquy on godly wisdom.

I am at a loss to know to whom to attribute the insightful quote that is the heading of today’s devotional proverb, but I love the definition: “Common Sense is wisdom in overalls.”   My late maternal grandfather, Roland Whitley of Monroe, NC, wore overalls throughout my childhood.  Hardworking, diligent, self-sacrificing, faithful to the wife he called “Sugar”, loving to his family, a no-nonsense man of the soil [he always had a beautiful garden]…a common, hardworking, industrious man—he personified Common Sense in overalls!

Common Sense is nigh nonexistent today, not because overalls are out of vogue, but because our society scorns godly wisdom!   

What is wisdom?   Solomon taught his son, “The fear [reverential fear] of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”(Proverbs 1:7) and is the “principal [highest] thing” (Proverbs 4:7).  According to Proverbs 8:11 and Job 28:18, wisdom is priceless, “above rubies” and the acquisition of wisdom is possible only if we are willing to acknowledge God and seek Him.  By definition, a man may possess a brilliant intellect and acquire a lot of knowledge; however, if he denies the existence of God he is a fool and wholly lacking in wisdom.  After all, The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God…” (Psalm 53:1).

Wisdom implies the “skillful use of knowledge” or the right use of knowledge.   A man who knows Christ as Savior and is a student of God’s Word has the potential of becoming a man of wisdom though he has no formal education (James 1:5).

Solomon introduces Proverbs 8 with two rhetorical questions: “Doth not wisdom cry? And understanding put forth her voice?” (Proverbs 8:1).  The implied answer to the questions is “YES!”  Wisdom does cry and raise her voice yearning to be heard and heeded.

Proverbs 8:2-3“She [Wisdom] standeth in the top of high places [where cities were built in ancient times], by the way in the places of the paths [where roads meet or intersect]. 3 She crieth at the gates [where city elders sat in judgment], at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors [in shops and places of commerce].”

Where can wisdom be found today?

Wisdom’s voice is silent in the halls of academia and expelled from the majority of churches and pulpits.  However, godly wisdom is found where she has always been— “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do His commandments…”  (Psalm 111:10).

Godly wisdom belongs to those who have knowledge of God through His Word and His revelation of Himself in His Son Jesus Christ.

An old farmer wearing overalls and driving a Farmall tractor might lack the education of a college graduate; however, he is the personification of godly wisdom if he knows the Lord as His Savior, meditates on God’s Word, and walks according to the law and commandments. farmer on tractor

Godly wisdom belongs to those who fear the Lord” [lit. revere, worship—implying a personal, intimate knowledge of God, made possible through His Son Jesus Christ] and align their lives with His Word.

James 1:5 – “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”

Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith

Divorce: Don’t Do It!

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Daily reading assignment – Luke 15-16

Today’s devotional reading is from the Gospel of Luke, chapters 15-16 and contains some of the most beloved parables taught by our LORD:  The Lost Sheep (15:4-10); The Prodigal Son (15:11-32); The Unfaithful Servant (16:1-13); and The Rich Man and Lazarus (16:19-31).  The latter is believed by some to not fall into the category of a parable because it uses a man’s proper name, Lazarus.

In the midst of Luke 16 we come to five verses that seem an interruption in the passage until we remember they come as a response to the Pharisees (16:14) who were adversaries of the LORD and often used occasions He taught the people in public to confront Him.   Having listened to the parable of “The Unjust Steward” (16:1-13), the Pharisees “who were covetous” (16:14) chose the occasion to “deride” the LORD (i.e. to openly mock, sneer, scoff).

Rather than retreat, the LORD answered the derision of the Pharisees using the occasion to expose their hypocrisy.  Accusing them of aspiring for men’s venerations, Jesus unmasked the hypocrisy God knew was in their hearts (16:15).

Having rebuked the Pharisees who considered themselves experts in the law of God, I believe Jesus turned His focus to His audience and said, 16  The law and the prophets were until John [the Baptist]: since that time the kingdom of God is preached [marked by the coming of Jesus Christ], and every man presseth [pushes by force; forcing his own way] into it. 17  And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle [small stroke of a pen] of the law to fail” (Luke 16:16-17).

After addressing the transition between the Old Testament Law bridged by John the Baptist to the LORD’s ministry and His preaching concerning the gospel of “the kingdom of God” (16:16-17), Jesus addressed an issue of Old Testament law the Pharisees had distorted… marriage and divorce (16:18).

Luke 16:18 “Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.”

Rather than being strong advocates of the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman as God designed (Genesis 2:21-24; Matthew 5:31-32; 19:4-10; Ephesians 5:28-33), the Pharisees misinterpreted Deuteronomy 24:1-4 and gave liberty for men to divorce their wives for the silliest of reasons.

I close with a few parting thoughts on marriage, divorce and remarriage.  The first, there is no doubt God’s will and design is that marriage is a lifetime covenant between one man and one woman.  The second, God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16 – “For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that He hateth putting away”).

Finally, although there is heated debate over this point, I believe the only grounds for divorce is unrepentant adultery and I cite three passages of scripture for my authority in this matter.

Matthew 5:31-32 “It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: 32  But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.”

Matthew 19:9 “And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.”

1 Corinthians 7:15 – “But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.”

Some might ask, “What if my adulterous spouse claims to be a believer, does 1 Corinthians 7:15 apply?”  My answer is, “Yes”; but you must be a member of a church that is willing to address the sins of its members biblically and follow the guidelines for restoration found in Matthew 18:15-17.  When a professing believer refuses to repent after repeated attempts for restoration, the church is to declare that one “an heathen”, an unbeliever.

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith

Who You Gonna Blame? (a version of today’s post and title for this Sunday’s sermon)

Dear Hillsdale family and Heart of a Shepherd Readers,

One of my joys in writing daily devotional commentaries has been my edification from the disciplined readings and meditations in God’s Word.   A fruit of that discipline has been the opportunity of sometimes preaching on a current topic that has an ancient parallel; today’s devotional is such an example.

The subject and context of Ezekiel 18, part of today’s scripture reading, is as current as news headlines in this morning’s newspaper (and a lot more truthful)!   In fact, I have decided to make Ezekiel 18 the topic for this Sunday morning’s patriotic sermon.

As I read and meditated on Ezekiel 18 and observed how the youth in Israel blamed their troubles on their fathers, I realized the “victimhood” complaints of today’s millennial generation, their demands for “entitlements” and practice of blame shifting are a mirror of the depravity that has been in the heart of man since the fall.

I look forward to preaching, “Who You Gonna Blame?” this July 2, 2017 Sunday morning.  I conclude this post with an excerpt from my unabridged post for today.

There was no debate over the question of God judging Israel for sin; however, a question of responsibility for the calamities facing the nation rose among the people.

The younger population said,  “The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge?” (18:2).  In other words, some were blaming the nation’s troubles and miseries on the sins of their forefathers.  In our day when “blame shifting” is epidemic and everyone is a victim, Ezekiel 18 is applicable to the homes of believers and non-believers .

The universality of man’s wickedness and the inevitable consequences of sin are declared by the LORD: Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die” (18:4).  While all have sinned, nevertheless, the LORD is just and His judgments are right and He blesses the man who chooses righteousness and obeys His statues and judgments (18:5-9).

Herein is a spiritual lesson for us all: Every generation bears responsibility for its sins and God does not hold a father accountable for the sins of his son (18:10-13) no more than he holds a son accountable for the sins of his father.   When a son see his father’s sins, but chooses the way of righteousness, that son will not bear his father’s guilt (18:14-17); however, the father will be punished for his own sins (18:18-20).

So, who you gonna blame for your troubles?

I close with a challenge to parents who, though not perfect parents, are loving parents but find themselves burdened with an adult child that is a sorrow to their hearts.  Guard your heart against false guilt!  Don’t allow a child wallowing in the mire of self-pity give you cause to despair.  No man or woman has the privilege to blame others for the consequences of their own sinful choices.

God is just and He judges every man and woman “according to his ways” (18:30).   A family will suffer consequences for a family member’s sinful choices; however, the key is in how you respond to those troubles and sorrows.

Remember:  “The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son” (Ezekiel 18:20). 

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith

 

A Salute and Challenge to Gray-headed Saints

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Daily reading assignment – Psalms 69-71

Note from the author of “From the Heart of a Shepherd”:  Today’s post is the 900th blog post by this simple shepherd.  I pray the thoughts and spiritual ponderings of this pastor continue to be a blessing.  

Our scripture reading for today is a gold mine of truths and spiritual principles found in Psalms 69, 70 and 71; however, for the sake of brevity my focus will be two golden nuggets of truths taken from Psalm 71:9, 17 and 18.

Some believe king David is the author of Psalm 71 and I am inclined to lean that way; however, others make an argument its author is the prophet Jeremiah.  I will leave the debate of its authorship to others and am content it was written by a man of faith; a man who by God’s grace was young in spirit, but chronologically old in years.  The psalmist, confident in God’s providential care, had faith God’s hand had been upon him from his mother’s womb (71:6), through his youth (71:5) and was with him in the frailty of his old age (71:18).

Of the many fears that potentially haunt the elderly, surely the fear of being forgotten and forsaken is foremost.  The dynamics between youth and the aged presents a challenge; however, the technological revolution of the past 30 years with computers, iPads, cell phones and social media has made the generational divide a precipice.  The fast pace mobility of our 21st century society and an attitude of narcissism that dominates this generation has strained family ties and sadly, left as its victims millions of elderly who feel forgotten and forsaken.

Complicating the interaction of familial generations and contrary to what some aged might think, one is never too old to sin!   Many elderly fall into a sinful pattern and become cantankerous and difficult.  Because a negative, critical spirit only exasperates our loved ones and caregivers, let us who are grey-headed consider the prayer of the ancient psalmist to the LORD.

Psalm 71:9 – Cast me not off [down] in the time [season] of old age; forsake me not when my strength [power; vigor] faileth [consumed; finished].

The aged psalmist petitions the LORD for two things in verse 9. The first, “cast me not off in the time of old age” (71:9a).  Strength of youth inclines one to pursue independence…independent of family, friends and sadly, independent of God.  However, when the vigor of youth fails and the frailty of old age advances, we are reminded how much we need the LORD’s grace.

The second petition expressed by the psalmist is, “forsake me not when my strength faileth” (71:9b).  Visiting the elderly in nursing homes has been a pattern of my life from childhood.  I remember fondly accompanying my maternal grandparents, Roland and Sadie Whitley, in their Saturday visits to family and friends in nursing homes.  It comes as no surprise that, when they found themselves in those same beds, the Whitley’s were never lacking in visits from family and friends.

As a pastor\shepherd, my calling has me making frequent visits to hospitals, nursing homes and homes of shut-ins.  Sadly, there are many in those places that not only feel forsaken, they are all but forgotten.  At a time when their strength is gone, their eyesight is dim and hearing has failed…they are alone.  What a tragedy that our society looks upon its elderly as a burden rather than a blessing!

The elderly psalmist continues his prayer:

Psalm 71:17-18 – O God [Elohim; Mighty God], thou hast taught [instructed; goad or disciplined] me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared [tell as a messenger] thy wondrous works [miracles; acts that surpass human skill or works]. 18  Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed [declared; informed] thy strength [power] unto this generation, and thy power [might] to every one that is to come.

The psalmist declares in his old age, LORD, the things you taught me in my youth I continue to declare in my old age!  My elderly friend, when life affords you an opportunity to praise the LORD, whether in private or public, be among the first to declare God’s love, salvation, mercy and grace.

The psalmist’s prayer moves from affirmation and adoration in verse 17 to petition and purpose in verse 18.  Unlike the old sassy commercial that declared, “I’m going to wash the gray right out of my hair”, the psalmist acknowledges, “I am old and grayheaded” and petitions the LORD for His power and presence in his life (“forsake me not”).

Finally, the psalmist declares his purpose for living: “until I have shewed [declared; informed] thy strength [power] unto this generation, and thy power [might] to every one that is to come” (71:18b).  The old psalmist’s thoughts turned to his spiritual legacy.  Thirty-eight years of ministry has brought home to me the sad realization that few give any thought to the spiritual legacy they are leaving for the next generation.  They have their wills written, their possessions planned for parceling, but the urgency of declaring a lifetime testimony concerning God’s faithfulness and blessings seems forgotten.

Elderly believer, I know you and I share the sentiment of the psalmist…Oh Lord, don’t forsake me when I am old and frail; however, will you also purpose to declare to all who will listen God’s faithfulness? I close with an appropriate quote and challenge:

“How many people in our churches, at an age when they ought to be tearing the world apart, are instead sliding home?” – Dr. Howard Hendricks

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith

“Three Things That Are Good”

Friday, June 9, 2017

Daily reading assignment – Lamentations

The Book of Lamentations is only five chapters in length and is as its names suggests, five “laments” (i.e. cries; groanings; howls) over the destruction of Jerusalem and Judah.

The laments, cries and sorrows revealed in Lamentations are those of the prophet Jeremiah who, through the reigns of five successive kings, faithfully warned the people God’s judgment was inevitable if the nation did not repent, turn from her sins and turn to God.  Recorded in these five chapters are the laments of the prophet over the devastation suffered by the city, people and nation.

For those who might want to “dig a little deeper”; notice Lamentations chapters 1, 2, 3 and 5 are twenty-two verses in length. There are twenty-two letters in the Hebrew alphabet and each of the verses in chapters 1, 2, 3 and 5 begin with a word using successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet (in other words, like our A-Z in English). Lamentations 4 is sixty-six verses long and the Hebrew alphabet in that chapter begins couplets that are three verses each.

Before moving to a practical spiritual application, I invite you to read Lamentations 1-5 and ponder the laments of God’s faithful prophet as he witnesses the devastation and destruction of the city and nation he loved. The sorrows and disgrace suffered by the people as a consequence of their sins needs no explanation.

Lamentations 1 records the suffering and sorrows of the capital city summed up in this: Jerusalem hath grievously sinned; therefore she is removed” (Lamentations 1:8a). Lest some dismiss Jerusalem’s plight and credit Nebuchadnezzar and his army, the prophet makes it plain her destruction is the work of God’s judgment. Jeremiah writes:

Lamentations 1:15 – “The Lord hath trodden under foot all my mighty men in the midst of me: he hath called an assembly against me to crush my young men: the Lord hath trodden the virgin, the daughter of Judah, as in a winepress.”

God’s judgment against Judah, the testimony of His wrath against the city of Jerusalem, and the captivity of her king and elders continue in Lamentations 2:1-9. The focus turns from the city and her king to the people, the sorrows they suffer (2:10-14) and their humiliation before their enemies (2:15-16). Jeremiah reminds the people their sins had brought them to this for the “LORD hath done that which He had devised” (2:17).

Jeremiah’s lamentations became personal in Lamentations 3, the longest chapter in this book.   Jeremiah expresses his own distress and sorrow for the sufferings of His people and nation. He lived to see all he had prophesied against the nation come to pass; however, the plight of God’s people was his dilemma as well. In Lamentations 3:11-18, Jeremiah expresses his sorrows with the personal pronouns “I” and “me” and identifies the LORD as “He”.

In the midst of his sorrows, Jeremiah gives expression to one of the most beautiful and best-known expressions of worship and hope found in the Book of Lamentations and is the inspiration of the hymn, “Great is Thy Faithfulness”. Jeremiah writes:

Lamentations 3:22-23 – “It is of the LORD’S [Jehovah; Eternal, Self-Existent God] mercies [loving-kindness; grace] that we are not consumed, because His compassions [mercies; tender love] fail not [never ends or ceases].
23  They are [mercy and tender compassions] new every morning: great [sufficient; plenty] is thy faithfulness [steadfastness].”

I close with a brief exposition of three things Jeremiah states as “good” [Lit. – pleasant; pleasing; best; joyful] from Lamentations 3:25-27.

Lamentations 3:25 – “The LORD is good unto them that wait [tarry; patiently wait; hope] for Him [the LORD], to the soul that seeketh [follows; searches; asks] Him” (3:25).

It comes as no surprise that the “LORD is good”; however, notice the twofold condition for experiencing the goodness of the LORD.

1) The first condition: the LORD is good to those who “wait for Him” (3:25a).  Counseling others to be patient and wait on the LORD is easy; however, to practice the same is an exercise of faith, hope and trust.   Are you willing to wait upon the LORD when you have been hurt?   When you are ill?  When you have been misused or misunderstood?  Are you willing to wait upon the LORD when your spouse or child makes choices that break your heart.  Too many of us are where we are today because we were not willing to “wait for the LORD.”  “Patience is a virtue” is an old English adage and from my vantage point is in short supply.

2) The second condition for experiencing the LORD’S goodness is “to the soul that seeketh” the LORD (3:25b).  To seek the LORD is to read and meditate in His Word; follow in His ways and pray.

Lamentations 3:26 – “It is good that a man should both hope [expectant waiting] and quietly wait [wait and keep silent] for the salvation [help; deliverance] of the LORD.”

We find two things that are good in Lamentations 3:26.  It is good for a believer to “hope”.  This hope is more than an emotional and mental aspiration; it is a practice; a discipline of heart and soul.  It is a hope that waits with expectation for prayers to be answered knowing God is faithful to His Word and promises.

It is also good for a believer to “quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD” (3:26b).  Wait without complaining; literally, wait in silence for the LORD to answer prayer and move in His timing.  I am afraid the pews of American churches are filled with many who are neither patient nor quiet!

Lamentations 3:27 – “It is good for a man [lit. a man child; son] that he bear the yoke [disciplines; burdens] in his youth.”

Finally, we come to a third good thing and that is, it is good when a son bears the yoke of manhood.

Did you know a majority of 18-35 year olds live at home with their parents in 2017?  For the most part, the Millennium generation has yet to grow up and bear the yoke of adulthood with real-life burdens.  Too many parents coddle their sons and daughters and the result is a narcissistic, lazy generation ill prepared for the sufferings and trials that inevitably come and require discipline and endurance.

Mom and dad, you rob your teens and young adults of a “good” thing when you fail to make them bear the burdens and consequences of their choices.

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith

“Chickens Invariably Come Home to Roost!”

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Daily reading assignment: 2 Samuel 15-19

2 Samuel 14 concluded with David being induced to bring his wayward son Absalom back to Jerusalem (14:1-14).   Discerning Joab, his trusted advisor, had contrived a woman’s fictional tale (14:15-20), the king accepted his counselor’s flawed inducement to bring Absalom home (14:21-23).  Regardless of his good-intentions, the king’s decision set in motion an unfolding of events that proved tragic for David and the nation when he refused to receive Absalom upon his return to Jerusalem (14:24).

Absalom soon became the favorite of the people (14:25-27); however, his banishment from his father’s household inflamed his angry, rebellious spirit (14:28-33).  Absalom soon used his celebrity in Jerusalem to garner the affection of the people, setting in motion events that encouraged a rebellious uprising and David’s flight out of Jerusalem (2 Samuel 15:1-30).  David soon realized the breadth of the conspiracy against him when he learned one of his trusted advisors, Ahithophel, was one of Absalom’s counselors (15:31-34).

David received news from Ziba, a servant of Mephibosheth, the surviving son of Jonathon and grandson of Saul whom David had honored and enriched when he became king (2 Samuel 9:6), that his master (Mephibosheth) hoped to seize upon Absalom’s rebellion as an opportunity for him to ascend to the throne (2 Samuel 16:1-3).

Heaping shame upon shame, Shimei, a relative of Saul, the former king, cursed David and cast stones at David as he fled Jerusalem (2 Samuel 16:5-14).

Ahithopel revealed the depth of bitterness in his heart toward David when he counseled Absalom to disgrace his father by going into David’s harem and lying with his concubines (16:15-22).  For a time, as it often seems with the enemies of God’s people, it seemed Ahitophel’s counsel would stand unchallenged (16:23).

Hushai, a trusted friend of David and a spy in Absalom’s household (2 Samuel 15:23-37), worked to undermine Ahitophel’s counsel and turn it against him (2 Samuel 17:1-14).   Ahitophel recognized Absalom’s decision to heed Hushai’s advise and pursue David and his men would prove disastrous, went to his home and hanged himself (17:22-23) rather than suffer the shame of falling into the hands of David and his men.

David mustered his men to go to battle against Absalom and those who were confederate with him in 2 Samuel 18.  In spite of the great harm Absalom had committed against his father and Israel, David interceded that his generals would, “Deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom” (18:5).

Setting the armies in array against one another, the veteran generals and soldiers with David were victorious, slaying 20,000 men (18:6-8) and giving cause for Absalom to flee the battle where he was slain by Joab (18:9-17) contrary to the king’s orders.  When news of the victory came to David (18:18-28), rather than ask concerning the welfare of his generals, David requested news of Absalom’s welfare (18:29-32). Learning Absalom had died, David wept over his son saying, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son” (2 Samuel 18:33).

Receiving news that David’s response to the victory was overwhelming sorrow for Absalom, Joab rebuked the king and reminded him of the shame and sorrow his son had wrought against him and Israel (19:1-6).  Heeding Joab’s counsel (19:7-8), David gave the people an opportunity to come together and bring him back to Jerusalem as their king (19:9-15).

Evidencing he was a man after God’s “own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14), David extended grace and amnesty to the men who joined Absalom in the uprising.  When Shimei humbled himself before the king, David even spared him, the man who had cursed him when he fled the city,  (19:16-23).

Mephibosheth, knowing his servant Ziba, had slandered him and given David an impression he was disloyal to the king during the uprising, sought an audience with the king to declare his loyalty (19:24-30).

David also honored the men who had come to his aid in the midst of the uprising (19:31-40). The closing verses of 2 Samuel 19 (verses 41-43) give insight into the reality that, although David was returning to reign as king, all was not well in Israel.  Strife rose between Judah and the other tribes in Israel, even as they accompanied David to Jerusalem.

We have begun to see the fulfilling of Nathan’s prophesies that David’s adultery with Bathsheba and his murder of her husband Uriah would have far-reaching consequences (2 Samuel 12:9-12).  Sadly, the fulfillment of those consequences will haunt David the rest of his life.

An old adage states, “Chickens Invariably Come Home to Roost”; such is the same with sin…its consequences are unavoidable.

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith