2 Samuel 19-21, Psalm 92
We see such a contrast between 2 men who were wronged. In yesterday’s reading we read of Ahithophel. If you follow the genealogies of Bathsheba in 2 Samuel 11:3 (“…Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?”) and 23:34 (“…Eliam the son of Ahithophel the Gilsonite,”) you realize that Ahithophel was the grandfather of Bathsheba. Though he was initially a friend and counselor to David, you can understand his anger over David’s dealings with her and Uriah. This would explain why he defected to Absalom, and why one of his first items of advice was for Absalom to sexually violate David’s concubines. Sadly, revenge and bitterness damages the person holding on to them, more than the object of their resentment. When Ahithophel lost his position and could not take his revenge any further, he turned the bitterness on himself and hung himself. We read this in 2 Samuel 17:23, “Now when Ahithophel saw that his advice was not followed, he saddled a donkey, and arose and went home to his house, to his city. Then he put his household in order, and hanged himself, and died;…”.
Though David deserved the problems with Absalom due to his sin, to the people of Judah and Israel he was a good and faithful king. Despite this the people practically all sided with Absalom. When David was reinstated in chapter 19 we see no bitterness or desire to seek revenge with his adversaries: Shimei ( 2 Samuel 19:18-23) the men of Judah, Amasa ( 2 Samuel 19:13, “And say to Amasa, ‘Are you not my bone and my flesh?), etc. we see only grace.
In Romans 12:17-19, Paul says, “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.” We must all ask ourselves, when we are wronged (and we all are), do we follow more closely the example of Ahithophel and seek revenge? Or do we more closely resemble follow the example of David and extend grace? The answer often rests on how accurately we estimate our own goodness. If we truly reflect on how much God forgives us for our sins, extending grace to others is the only logical option.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: