Absalom: Part 5

2 Samuel 11-23
The fool hath said in his heart, No God!”
Here we end the path of David through the 1st and 2nd books of Samuel, or through the times of “Saul” and “Absalom.”, It is grace which God has been exhibiting in this history; and exhibiting in it all its blessed fullness. We see its early dawn in the election of David, when men were despising him (1 Sam. 16:1111And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are here all thy children? And he said, There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he keepeth the sheep. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Send and fetch him: for we will not sit down till he come hither. (1 Samuel 16:11)). We see its brighter and fuller shinings all through the days of the trial and sorrow of righteousness, for grace then was watching over its object, lest any fowler should hurt him, keeping him, though hunted like a bird in the mountains, night and day (1 Sam. 18-31) Then, grace established this elect and favored one in honor and peace above the malice and power of all his foes (2 Sam. 5). At the end grace shows its brightest glory, and does its noblest and holiest work, it restores this elect and honored one, when, in a dark and evil hour, he had turned from the ways of righteousness and peace (2 Sam. 11-23). Then did it rise to its noonday strength. Its early dawn had been sweet, the course which it then ran, as in the heavens, was bright and steady, but its full glory now broke out, when tainted David, like a “virgin soul,” sings his joys and triumphs in God.
These were the treasures of grace; and God was making a show of them, to His praise and our comfort, in David. Glory comes forth to shine afterward, in like manner, in Solomon; but grace thus beforehand, had told of herself in David. It was grace electing, grace refreshing, grace exalting, and grace restoring, that the lips of the sinner might be occupied with a theme of blissful and everlasting praise.
But there is one other thing that we have to notice still. As grace was thus displayed towards David, so was it displayed in David. It was the great rule of his life, giving character to his dealings with others, as it had thus given character to God's dealings with Him. Being called to inherit blessing, he renders blessing. Thus, when reviled, he reviled not again (1 Sam. 17:2929And David said, What have I now done? Is there not a cause? (1 Samuel 17:29)). Afterward when persecuted, he threatened not, but suffered it (1 Sam. 18-31). In every scene in which he is called to take a part, either in action or in suffering (save where he is turned aside by Satan for awile, as we have been seeing), it is not himself he is seeking or honoring, but others that he is serving in grace and kindness. The death of Saul and Jonathan make easy way for David to the throne; but his own advantage is not the circumstance in that event which governs his thoughts about it, he sees only the dishonor of the Lord's anointed in it, and therefore weeps, instead of triumphs, over the day of Mount Gilboa. So in the fall of Abner and Ishbosheth, which was the quenching of the last light of Saul in Israel, it is only the sorrow and fasting of David that we hear of. It was not his own honor or advantage, that even then determined the state of his mind. And so when fully settled in the throne, he is the man of grace and kindness still, remembering in that hour of glory those who had been the friends of his affliction and exile, and making it his care and business to find out some of the house of Saul to whom he might show the “kindness of God” (2 Sam. 1-10). He would be an imitator or follower of God, as a dear child; for what a God-like desire was that, “Is there not yet any of the house of Saul that I might show the kindness of God unto him?” Saul's house had deserved evil, and not good, from David; but this made David's kindness to them God's kindness, for “God commendeth His love toward us, in that when we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” And, in the same grace afterward, David refuses to judge Shimei (2 Sam. 16 xix). The thought of the sons of Zeruiah was loathsome to David's soul. “What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah?” says he to them, when they were for exacting righteousness. They understood not grace, but David understood nothing else. Mercy had rejoiced over judgment towards himself in the heart of the Lord, and nothing but the same can or must be found in the heart of David towards Shimei or the worst of his enemies.
Thus the history of David, through these 1st and 2nd books of Samuel, or through these times of “Saul” and “Absalom,” tells us, beloved, what God's ways are, and what our ways should be. As His ways to us are in grace, so should be our ways to one another and to all men. In “this present evil world” of sin and sorrow we are learning God's grace to perfection, in our own souls, daily, and should let others learn it in our walk and intercourse with them in like manner daily. By and by in the shining “world to come,” we shall learn glory in the same perfection.
For David was followed by Solomon, and the God of all grace has called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, that He Himself may be our boast and song, and satisfying praise forever and ever.
Dearly beloved, in the joy and liberty of the precious and perfect love which is ours now, let us pray that we might abound in the hope of the kingdom that is to be ours also, and walk above a world in which our blessed Master could not rest. Grant this to all thy saints, O Lord, for Jesus our Savior's sake! Amen.