April 27 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“Absalom and all the men of Israel said, ‘The advice of Hushai the Arkite is better than that of Ahithophel.’ For the Lord had determined to frustrate the good advice of Ahithophel in order to bring disaster on Absalom.” ~2 Samuel 17:14

Absalom is determined to pursue his father and snatch the throne so he calls for wise counsel. Ahithophel offers a course of action that capitalizes on David’s weakness, but Absalom accepts the advice of Hushai, who is feigning loyalty to the usurper while maintaining his fealty to King David. Hushai’s grandiose plan not only appeals to Absalom’s pride, it also gives David sufficient time to eat and rest, gather thousands of loyal followers, and organize an offensive against the uprising. The king’s clever strategy to leave loyal advisors in Jerusalem works, as does his plan to defeat Absalom.

David will return to his throne, but he will never see his son again. Although Absalom was the cause of much pain, David almost cannot bear to face life without him. Such is the love of a father for his children. It is difficult to put that devotion into words, but David offers a heart-stirring expression of sorrow and love. “O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son! (2 Sam. 18:33). Guilt and grief well up in the aching soul of this man who has endured so much in his lifetime. David mourns the loss of his son; probably wishing he had done better as a father and as a king.

God will sustain David. But one cannot help but pause and stare for a moment at the awful consequences of rebellion. No one comes out a winner in such upheaval, and a lot of people get hurt. I believe that the heavy consequences that fall upon others are part of the reason that rebellion is such a great evil, as evil as the sin of witchcraft in the eyes of God (1 Sam. 15:23). In other words, it’s straight from hell, and it is hellish in its effects.

Rebellion will hurt us and everyone around us! We should not be rebellious people, or join with rebels in a bad cause (Ecc. 8:3). In fact, we should do all we can to prevent rebellion. Deterrence isn’t always possible because some people will do what they have decided to do. However, Christ-followers must make every effort to promote harmony, whether it is a man or woman trying to influence a friend’s child for good or a wise leader working toward a peaceful resolution to some difficulty. Rebellion brings too much pain for us to ignore it.

May God use us to prevent rebellion and the pain that it brings. But when we are unable to do so, let us find comfort in the experiences of great people like David. David mourned many times, but he endured always. It is okay to ask the Lord to take away a cup of suffering, but if it is His will that we drink from it, may He also give us the grace to bear it.

Lectio Divina is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of Calvary Church in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.