by Jimmy Swaggart
Absalom was the third son of David, with a foreign mother, Maacah, daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur (2 Sam 3:3 KJV). The Scripture says of him: “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” (2 Sam 14:25 KJV).
His personal comeliness was shared by Tamar, his sister, and was the cause of her being violated by Amnon, David’s firstborn son by another mother (2 Sam 13:1-18 KJV).
When Absalom learned of this incident concerning his sister, he brought about the death of Amnon, thus incurring the displeasure of David, which caused him to flee to Geshur (2 Sam 13:19-39 KJV).
The first part of Nathan’s Prophecy had come true (2 Sam 12:10 KJV). After three years of exile and a further two years of banishment from the court, David received his son back into favor and was repaid by a plot against his throne (2 Sam 15:1-15 KJV).
All of this was setting the stage for the rebellion that was to follow. Absalom appealed to the flesh. As usual, Israel, plus the modern church, had plenty flesh of which to appeal.
Flesh appeals to flesh, so the scenario is made to order; however, let us make this statement: If David had not done what he did regarding Bathsheba and her husband Uriah, David’s consecration would not have changed his sons, but, to be sure, the Lord would have stopped them from what they did do.
But now, the dye was cast, and it had to play out to the bitter end, and bitter it would be! With Amnon now dead, actually, murdered by the hand of his brother, Absalom was in line for the throne. While he was in no way qualified to rule, and, to be sure, the Lord would not have accepted him, still, it was in his mind to take the throne, which he would greatly attempt to do.
While Joab did not throw in his lot with Absalom, still, this wily fox played both sides of the fence. He attempted to ingratiate himself with David, which he constantly did, and, as well, with Absalom.
Israel at that time was extremely prosperous, with all enemies around her defeated. In other words, if the truth be known, she was at that time one of the leading nations in the world of that day. In Absalom’s mind and, seemingly, in the minds of many other leading individuals in Israel, including many in David’s personal Cabinet, Israel was ripe for the plucking, so to speak.
The revolt of Absalom, David’s son, had to be the most bitter trial of his life. To face such as David did would have been awful from any quarter; however, to have his own son lead this rebellion and seek to kill him in order to take the throne was beyond comprehension.
If he had succeeded, it would have resulted in the ruin of Israel. All of this was because of what David did as it regarded Bath-sheba and her husband Uriah. David awakened with this every morning and went to sleep with it every night. Despite the forgiveness of God, it was a weight that seemed to be unbearable.
The Scripture says: “. . . Absalom prepared him chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him” (2 Sam 15:1 KJV).
Carnal men and even a carnal church are easily swayed with pomp, pride, and ceremony. Absalom appealed to the carnal and not the spiritual. At that time, there seemed to be such little spiritual strength in Israel that they readily fell for the carnal.
Regrettably, the church is little different presently. As we’ve already stated, Absalom easily deceived the people by a profession of devotion to them and as easily deceived his father by a profession of devotion to God, all which were false.
When man fell in the Garden of Eden, he fell from a position of total God-consciousness, which throbbed with life, down to the far, far lower level of total self-consciousness; consequently, man can readily deceive and be deceived (2 Tim 3:13 KJV).
We see this web of deceit as Absalom subtly weaved it among the people: “. . . Oh that I were made judge in the land. . . .” Then he would appeal to the one to whom he was speaking by “. . . taking him, and kissing him” (2 Sam 15:4-5 KJV).
THE ABSALOM SPIRIT
The Scripture then says: “. . . so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel” (2 Sam 15:6 KJV).
The surprise was not that Absalom would attempt this thing, but rather that Israel was so spiritually weak that they fell for it. The fault must be laid at the feet of David. But yet, the reason Israel was so easily swayed and deceived is because they judged David not according to the Word of God but according to outward appearances.
In fact, he had committed a terrible sin with Bath-sheba. Of course, by now, the knowledge that he had effected the murder of Uriah was undoubtedly known throughout the Nation. Actually, the Psalmist said that David became the song of the drunkards (Psalm 69:12 KJV). Consequently, in Israel’s eyes, they were justified in their decision; however, any decision that is the opposite of the Word of God can only bring ruin and wreckage.
The “Absalom spirit” now seeks to usurp authority over God. It will fail, but the damage will be great. Unfortunately, the “Absalom spirit” is rampant in the Work of God presently.
This spirit is comprised of any effort made by anyone to anoint himself in the place of that which God has anointed. Unfortunately, the “Absalom spirit” is replete in most religious denominations because political manoeuvring is the norm; therefore, the “Absalom spirit” rules.
The Scripture says: “And the king said unto him, Go in peace . . .” (2 Sam 15:9 KJV).
If David had inquired of the Lord, he would not now be in this precarious position. Actually, there would be no peace. Rather, it would be war. The dye is now cast for the rebellion to succeed. In the eyes of most, it could not fail. Absalom had stolen the hearts of the men of Israel, and, as well, according to 2 Samuel 15:12 KJV, he had the advice, support, and counsel of “Ahithophel the Gilonite.”
This man was one of the wisest men in the world of his day. He had been David’s counsellor. The Holy Spirit says of him that he “. . . was as if a man had inquired at the Oracle of God . . .” (2 Sam 16:23 KJV).
Why would Ahithophel turn against David as he did?
His position in the kingdom was because of David. His wealth, his honor, in fact, the touch of God regarding wisdom on his life was all because of David’s anointing. No doubt, it was because Bath-sheba was his granddaughter (2 Sam 11:3 KJV; 2 Sam 23:34 KJV).
One can well imagine the hurt, pain, and suffering, which Ahithophel faced as it regarded what David did respecting his granddaughter, Bath-sheba, and her husband, Uriah. Still, as someone has well said, “Two wrongs don’t make one right.”
I think it is obvious that Ahithophel seethed with anger and even hatred toward David as it regarded what had been done. Admittedly, it would have taken the Presence of the Lord for this man to have overcome this situation, as it would any man. However, the path he chose, which was rebellion against God’s Anointed, would lead to his death by suicide and, thereby, the loss of his eternal soul.
WHAT SHOULD AHITHOPHEL HAVE DONE?
As wise as he was, he knew that God had chosen David to be the king of Israel. He also knew that the prosperity of Israel and, in fact, his own place and position were all tied to David. Israel was now one of the mightiest Nations in the world of that day, and Ahithophel knew the reason for all of that. However, he allowed personal anger, grief, and disappointment, in fact, acute disappointment, to cause him to make a decision which would be totally and diametrically opposed to the Way of God. As stated, he would suffer the loss of his soul because of his direction.
Knowing what he knew, he should have taken the thing to the Lord and asked for Mercy and Grace and the Leading of the Holy Spirit as to what he should do, how he should act, and the position he should take. To be sure, the Lord would not have told him to come against David, but rather, He would have instructed him to give David his unqualified support, despite his disappointment and sorrow. Admittedly, it would not have been easy to have been done! He would have had to have the Help of the Lord! But, to be sure, the Lord most definitely would have given him that help had he only sought the Lord about the matter.
THE LOSS OF THE SOUL
As well, other than the situation with Bath-sheba, his granddaughter, there may very well have been other problems of which we are given no information. Maybe David had not given him the recognition or the place and position that he thought he should have had. One by one, these grievances may have piled up until now he saw his opportunity, or rather, that which he thought was an opportunity, and he struck.
The results would be that the wisest man in the world of that day would lose his soul.
Listen to Paul: “For it is written (Isa 29:14), I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent (speaks to those who are wise in their own eyes, in effect, having forsaken the Ways of the Lord). “Where is the wise? (This presents the first of three classes of learned people who lived in that day.) where is the Scribe? (This pertained to the Jewish Theologians of that day.) where is the disputer of this world? (This speaks of the Greeks, who were seekers of mystical and metaphysical interpretations.) has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? (This pertains to what God did in sending His Son to redeem humanity, which He did by the Cross. All the wisdom of the world couldn’t do this!) “For after that in the Wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God (man’s puny wisdom, even the best he has to offer, cannot come to know God in any manner), it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching (preaching the Cross) to save them who believe. (Paul is not dealing with the art of preaching here but with what is preached)” (1 Cor 1:19-21 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible
Considering the place and position Ahithophel held in the kingdom, and considering his wisdom, which was known all over the land, for him to turn against David, no doubt, persuaded untold thousands of Israelites to throw in their lot with Absalom.
Despite the terrible, personal loss which Ahithophel had suffered, he should have done his very best to have helped David climb out over the situation regarding Bath-sheba and her husband, Uriah. Had Ahithophel done this, more than likely, Absalom would not have been able to garner enough support to have brought forth the rebellion. This would have saved the lives of untold thousands of people and so much heartache and grief.
As wise as he was, could not he see the duplicity, the hypocrisy, and the deception nurtured and fostered by Absalom?
Undoubtedly, he did see this deception; however, he overlooked it simply because self-will blinded his own eyes to spiritual reality. Concerning this deception, even though, no doubt, Absalom had given him assurance that Bath-sheba and her sons (the great-grandsons of Ahithophel) would be spared upon his taking the throne, still, he should have known that this man, Absalom, could not be trusted. The truth is, had Absalom, God forbid, gained the throne, he would have killed every single pretender to the throne, including Bath-sheba, her sons, etc. Self-will sees what one wants to see. It seldom sees reality, and if it does, it refuses to recognize it for what it is.
Despite the odds against him, David would not be overthrown because it was not the Will of God for David to be overthrown, despite the terrible sins he had committed. God had not called Absalom, but rather David. He had not called Ahithophel, but rather David. In fact, every single position in Israel and all the Blessings in their entirety were because of the Anointing of the Holy Spirit on David’s life. Yes, what David did was abominable, hideous, and horrible. In fact, it is difficult to find words to describe it. Nevertheless, when God calls someone, irrespective as to what happens, if he doesn’t quit, He won’t quit.
The Scripture plainly says: “For the Gifts and Calling of God are without Repentance (the Gifts and Calling of God are not subject to a change of mind on God’s Part, for He will never change)” (Rom. 11:29 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible
“God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man that He should repent: has He said, and shall He not do it? or has He spoken, and shall He not make it good?” (Num 23:19).
The Lord had also said concerning Himself, Let me say it again: The only time that a Call upon a life is laid aside is when the person quits believing, quits serving God, refuses to repent, etc. As long as the person, whoever he or she might be, is trying his or her best to follow the Lord, the Call remains and will go forward. Anyone who tries to stop it, as Ahithophel, will, in effect, be committing spiritual suicide.
“And there came a messenger to David, saying, The hearts of the men of Israel are after Absalom” (2 Sam 15:13 KJV). At this juncture, Absalom, Ahithophel, and all with them, who, in fact, numbered the greater part of Israel, felt they could not lose. They also, no doubt, felt very justified in their actions.
Please note the following: “When a person is down and cannot defend himself, and anyone can do any negative thing to him he so desires and not fear at all being reprimanded, but rather applauded, then one finds out how many good Christians there actually are. There aren’t many!” If Believers will always follow the Word of God, they will never find themselves in the position that the people of Israel now found themselves. Why would Israel turn on David, especially considering that all of their prosperity was due to his leadership and, in fact, the Touch of God on his life?
As stated, they were deceived but let the following be understood: A perfectly honest heart before God can little be deceived. Deception works on the promise of self-will. In other words, every single person who threw in their lot with Absalom in some way felt that this would benefit them. They did not consider the Word of God in their actions, only their own personal self-will!
NO HELP FOR HIM IN GOD
In the minds of hundreds of thousands in Israel, David had sinned grievously. As well, his sins were far worse than ordinary. They were about as bad as they could be. No doubt, hundreds of thousands were saying that the Lord was no longer with David. Considering that, they felt perfectly free and justified in their actions regarding turning on him.
At about this time, he wrote the Third Psalm. In that Psalm he said, “Many there be who say of my soul, There is no help for him in God . . .” (Psalm 3:2 KJV).
Evidently there were many in Israel at that time who thought such, and so, in their minds, this opened the door for them to do whatever they so desired. Considering that there was no help for him in the Lord, or so they thought, they would kill him and place Absalom on the throne.
Believing man, and I use that term advisedly, will usually accept that which seems to be right in his eyes, but most of the time, will prove to be wrong. Most Christians function after the flesh and not at all after the Spirit. Israel came very close to losing everything because of doing just that. They saw no future in David when the entirety of their future was in David, and only in David. They would learn that the hard way.
ITTAI THE GITTITE
Ittai the Gittite was evidently a Gentile but now a proselyte to the Jewish Faith. Whereas the Holy Spirit thought it necessary that the testimony of this man be included in the Sacred Text, to be sure, the Holy Spirit did this for a reason.
The presence of all his family with him shows that this man had broken entirely with the Philistines and left his country for good, vowing to go with David wherever David went. In other words, David’s fortunes would be his fortunes, whatever that may have meant. This converted Gentile showed more spiritual sense than most of Israel.
David spoke to Ittai, informing him that the way ahead could be extremely precarious. The answer this Gentile gave is striking indeed: “. . . Surely in what place my lord the king shall be, whether in death or life, even there also will your servant be” (2 Sam 15:21 KJV).
If it is to be noticed, his consecration was very similar to that of Ruth the Moabitess. The loyalty of Ittai the Philistine and the royal bodyguard of 600 Philistines, which he commanded, here stand in contrast with the disloyalty of Absalom and the men of Israel. They illustrate the present loyalty of the Gentile nations to the Son of David when rejected by His Own Nation and People.
Let the reader peruse these happenings very carefully. Basically, in one way or the other, everything that happened to David fell out as a type, whether of Christ or of Israel. Ittai was a Gentile. As to exactly why he left Philistia and came to David, we aren’t told. Perhaps there were political problems, or he had fallen into disfavour with the Philistine king, but for whatever reason, he threw in his lot with David, which was the greatest move he ever made. David, it seems, made him joint commander of his army along with Joab and Abishai (2 Sam 18:2 KJV).
As well, it seems that Ittai was not with David merely for personal gain, but rather that he had sold out to David’s God, whatever that future might bring. Little did Ittai realize that the situation he made that day would be inserted into the Eternal Word of God and would be read by untold millions down through the many, many centuries.
Let the following be known: Whenever a person throws in his lot totally and completely with Christ, consecrates to Him fully, and dedicates his life to Him in totality, his consequences and actions then become eternal. As stated, this was the greatest move this Gentile ever made. Little did he realize that he would serve as a type of the Gentile world, who would accept Christ when Christ’s Own People would turn against Him.
WHY DID ITTAI REMAIN LOYAL TO DAVID WHEN MOST OF ISRAEL DIDN’T?
That’s a good question! It is obvious that Ittai well understood what was taking place. He knew that most all of Israel had turned against David. He also recognized that it didn’t seem like David had much chance, if any, to survive. However, despite all of that, he made a solemn declaration before all men that wherever David would be, whether in life or death, that’s where he would be.
I think this decision had already been made by Ittai sometime back. At the time he made the decision to leave Philistia and join David, it seems that he cut all ties with the past. Whatever he had seen in David, it was real, genuine, and right, so he made his decision to go with David. When the crunch came, which it soon did, his mind had already been made up. It was not a decision that he had to make. It was already made.
DAVID AND THE BLESSINGS
That being the case, this tells us that most in Israel had never really made that decision. They were just sort of there. They didn’t understand that all of their Blessings were because of David! They didn’t understand that all of their prosperity was due to the “sweet singer of Israel”! They didn’t understand that the freedom they held, and the fact that all heathen nations around them had been defeated with them not having to live in fear, was all because of David! They didn’t have enough spiritual sense to see that, to understand that, or to know that.
So, they threw in their lot with Absalom, whereas this Gentile threw in his lot with the Lord Jesus Christ, so to speak. Regrettably and sadly, the spirit that characterized Israel at that time of their existence, when they turned on David, would continue to characterize the Nation some 1,000 years later, causing them to crucify their Lord, their Messiah, and their Saviour.
(This message was derived from the book by Jimmy Swaggart, “David”.)
Scriptures from: (The Expositor’s Study Bible)[KJV/ESB]. iPad & iPhone & Hard Copy: by Jimmy Swaggart.