Daily Devotional

July 22, 2019

Daybreak: 2 Samuel 17:1-29

“And Absalom and all the men of Israel said, The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel. For the Lord had appointed to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, to the intent that the Lord might bring evil upon Absalom.” (2 Samuel 17:14)

When we face opposition, betrayal, or attack, it is important to remember that God is in complete control. One woman testified of a recent challenge at the school where she teaches. The father of one of her students falsely reported that she had slapped his child in class. When this teacher was called in to see the principal, she was told there would be an investigation. That night she laid the matter out before the Lord in prayer. The next day, concerned about the impact on her, the principal said, “I was thinking about you last night.” This woman replied, “I did not come here by myself. Where God’s will places me, His grace will sustain me.” God answered prayer. Although this teacher never found out the motive, it was discovered that there was a conspiracy between the father and a teacher’s aid to implicate her. The Lord undertook in a wonderful way, even allowing this woman’s testimony to be a witness to the principal.

God is well able to defeat the devices and counsel of men. David had prayed fervently that God would “turn Ahithophel’s counsel into foolishness.” Today’s Bible text shows that God answered in a mighty way.

When we face adversity, we want to remember to take the steps that both this woman and David took — they prayed for God to intervene. Sometimes God may answer in a different way than we expect, but He will answer when we pray honestly and in faith. The situations we face may seem impossible to us, but so did David’s. Our focus verse indicates that Ahithophel’s counsel was “good” — in the natural, his strategy may have worked — but God defeated him. 

God wants to work in your life today. Will you trust Him to take you through to victory? 

Background

Absalom attempted to usurp the throne of King David, his father. He sought counsel from Ahithophel, whose outline for victory called for the use of just 12,000 light-footed soldiers. His plan was for these men to set out at once, so they would have the element of surprise in their favor and would capture David before he crossed the Jordan into the wilderness country on the other side. Ahithophel suggested that the sudden attack would presumably create panic among David’s followers, causing them to flee. He thought that David could be captured and killed. 

Although all the elders of Israel approved of Ahithophel’s counsel, Absalom hesitated and sought a second opinion. Absalom had good reason to fear and respect his father, because he had witnessed what his father had accomplished. God overruled when He caused Absalom not to proceed until he had consulted with Hushai, who was, in fact, a spy for David. Hushai advocated a prepared attack, which would take time. When Hushai said “at this time” (verse 7), he indicated that Ahithophel had counseled wisely in the past. 

In the natural, Ahithophel’s counsel would have spelled David’s death, but God swept that away. Hushai flattered Absalom, and Absalom became trapped by his own vanity. The counsel of Ahithophel was not the Lord’s will; it was defeated, and the minds of Absalom and the elders of Israel were clouded.

David and the people with him were camped approximately twenty miles from Jerusalem. En-rogel, where David’s runners were located, was less than a mile away from Jerusalem, and Bahurim was to the south about a mile from there. A “wench” (verse 17) means a female servant. 

Ahithophel had been one of David’s counselors. He realized that Absalom would be defeated, and then he would be judged for being a traitor. If Ahithophel followed Absalom to get revenge for David’s sin against Bathsheba and Uriah, Ahithophel payed dearly for harboring the bitterness in his heart. 

Amasa, who commanded Absalom’s army, was a nephew of David and a cousin to Joab. This was civil war with all its pain.

Amplified Outline

(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II.   The shame of King David
      B.   David’s problems with his family
            2.   Absalom’s revolt against David
                  d.   Absalom’s war against David
                        (1)   The preparations for the conflict (17:1-29)
                               (a)   Ahithophel’s wicked counsel (17:1-4)
                               (b)   Hushai’s bitter counsel (17:5-14)
                               (c)   David informed of Absalom’s actions (17:15-23)
                                      [1]   The plot discovered (17:15-20)
                                      [2]   The plot foiled (17:21-22)
                                      [3]   Ahithophel’s suicide (17:23)
                               (d)   The battle lines drawn (17:24-26)
                               (e)   David refreshed by friends (17:27-29)

A Closer Look

  1. Who helped David when he came to Mahanaim?
     
  2. Why did Absalom choose Hushai’s advise when Ahithophel’s counsel would have best served his purpose and goal to overthrow his father, King David?
     
  3. God can affirm or turn to foolishness the counsel of man. Knowing this, how might we pray for those in authority in our country? 

Conclusion

If you face a situation today that looks impossible, remember that God can defeat the forces of the enemy that come against you. Hold fast in God!

Reference Materials