Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament book of Second Samuel, which describes the narrative of the days of David king of Israel ruling and reigning as king over the nation and kingdom of Israel. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters twenty through twenty-two of this Old Testament book. AND DAVID SPAKE UNTO THE LORD THE WORDS OF THIS SONG IN THE DAY THAT THE LORD HAD DELIVERED HIM OUT OF THE HAND OF ALL HIS ENEMIES, AND OUT OF THE HAND OF SAUL! I am convinced that in order to understand this particular portion of Scripture is it necessary to turn and direct our attention to the twenty-second chapter of the Old Testament book of Second Samuel. This particular chapter is quite interesting, for out of all the chapters found in the book of the Psalms, and out of all the songs which are contained within this book—this is the only one that is found elsewhere in Scripture in its entirety. We dare not miss and lose sight of this absolutely tremendous and incredible reality, for this particular chapter brings to a close servants events which took place within the narrative of David king of Israel. It is within this particular portion of Scripture you encounter and come face to face with another man whom David king of Israel perceived as doing more harm to him than his son Absalom rising up against David and inciting men of Israel to abandon, forsake and turn their backs on the king. In all reality, it is quite astonishing to read the words within this chapter—and not only this chapter, but also the fifteenth chapter when we read of Absalom’s conspiracy—and to consider the fact that on two separate occasions the men of Israel abandoned, forsook and turned their backs on the king. On the one hand we find the men of Israel aligning themselves with Absalom the king’s son when he would have made himself king in Hebron over all Israel, while on the other hand we find the men of Israel following Sheba as they abandoned and forsook the king of Israel. As you read these chapters you will find two distinct men who both dared lift up their voices, their hands and their hand against the king in order that they might overtake and overthrow him in the land. Although neither Absalom, nor Sheba actually stretched forth their hand against David king of Israel in a physical manner, they nonetheless incited the people of Israel to abandon their fidelity, their loyalty, and their faithfulness to the king of Israel. Through the actions of these two men we find the hearts of the men of Israel being persuaded to abandon, to forsake and to neglect the king of Israel. Consider if you will the narrative that is found in the fifteenth chapter of the book of Second Samuel, as well as the words which are found in the twentieth chapter of this Old Testament book:
“And it came to pass after this, that Absalom prepared him chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him. And Absalom rose up early, and stood beside the way of the gate: and it was so, that when any man that had any controversy came to the king for judgment, then Absalom called unto him, and said, Of what city art thou? And he said, Thy servant is one of the tribes of Israel. And Absalom said unto him, See, thy matters are good and right; but there is no men deputed of the king to hear thee. Absalom’s said moreover, Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man which hath any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice! And it was so that when any man came night to him to do him obeisance, he put forth his hand, and took him, and kissed him. And on this manner did Absalom to all Israel that came to the king for judgment: so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel. And it came to pass after forty years, that Absalom said unto the king, I pray thee, let me go and pay my vow, which I have vowed unto the LORD, in Hebron. For thy servant vowed a vow while I whose at Geshur in Syria, saying, If the LORD shall bring me again indeed to Jerusalem, then I will serve the LORD. And the king said unto him, Go in peace. So he arose, and went to Hebron. But Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, As soon as ye hear the sound of the trumpet, then ye shall say, Absalom reigneth in Hebron. And with Absalom went two hundred men out of Jerusalem, that were called: and they went in their simplicity, and they know not any thing. And Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilsonite, David’s counseller, from his city, even from Giloh, while he offered sacrifices. And the conspiracy was strong; for the people increased continually with Absalom. And there came a messenger to David, saying, The hearts of the men of Israel are after Absalom. And David said unto all his servants that were with him at Jerusalem, Arise, and let us flee; for we shall not else escape from Absalom: make speed to depart, lest he overtake us suddenly, and bring evil upon us, and smite the city with the edge of the sword. And the king’s servants said unto the king, Behold, thy servants are ready to do whatsoever my lord the king shall appoint. And the king went forth, and all his household after him” (2 Samuel 15:1-16).
“And there happened to be there a man of Belial, whose name was Sheba, the son of Bichri, a Benjamite: and he blew a trumpet, and said, We have no part in David, neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: every man to his tents, O Israel. So every man of Israel went up from after David, and followed Sheba the son of Bichri: but the men of Judah clave unto their king, from Jordan even to Jerusalem. And David came to his house at Jerusalem; and the king took the ten women his concubines, whom he had left to keep the house, and put them in ward, an fed them, but went not in unto them. So they were shut up unto the day of their death, living in widowhood. Then said the king to Amasa, Assemble me the men of Judah within three days, and be thou here present. So Amasa went to assemble the men of Judah: but he tarried longer than the set time which he had appointed him. And David said to Abishai,, Now shall Sheba the son of Bichri do us more harm than did Absalom: take thou thy lord’s servants, and pursue after him, lest he get him fenced cities, and escape us. And there’s ent out after him Joan’s men, and the Cherethites, and the Pelethites, and all the mighty men: and they went out of Jerusalem, to pursue after Sheba the son of Bichri. When they were at the great stone which is in Gibson, Amasa went before them. And Joab’s garment that he had put on was girded unto him, and upon it a girdle with a sword fastened upon his loins in the sheath thereof; and as he went forth it fell out. And Joab said to Amasa, Art thou in health, my brother? And Joab took Amasa by the beard with the right hand to kiss him. But Amasa took no heed to the sword that was in Joab’s hand: so he smote him there with in the fifth rib, and shed out his bowels to the ground, and struck him not again; and he died. So Joab and Abishai his brother pursued after Sheba the son of Bichri. And one of Joab’s men stood by him, and said, He that favoureth Joab, and he that is for David, let him go after Joab. And Amasa walloped in the blood in the midst of the highway. And when the man saw that all the people stood still, he removed Amasa out of the highway into the field, and cast a cloth upon him, when he saw that every one that came by him stood still. When he was removed out of the highway, all the people went on after Joab, to pursue after Sheba the son of Bichri” (2 Samuel 20:1-13).
As you read both of these narratives you will find that there were two distinct men within the nation and land of Israel who both dared lift up their hand toward and against the king. Absalom who was the king’s own son—his flesh and blood—dared mount a conspiracy and rebellion against the throne upon which David his father sat upon, in an attempt to usurp the government, the authority, the dominion and the strength that was given unto him from the LORD. What’s more, is that Absalom stole the hearts of the people of Israel way from the king of Israel which sat upon the throne in the midst of Jerusalem, and had himself proclaimed as a king within the land. It’s quite interesting and intriguing to think about and consider the fact that not only had Absalom stolen the hearts of the people of Israel away from David the true king of Israel, but he also dared mount a conspiracy and rebellion against the throne upon which his father sat. Moreover, Absalom dared lift up his hand against the throne upon which David sat upon, which was a full scale and full blown revolt and rebellion against the authority, the government and the dominion that was given him by the LORD. The more you read the narrative of the life of David the more you will find that it wasn’t just Absalom who mounted a rebellion against the king of Israel, and it wasn’t just Absalom who dared turn the hearts of the people away from the king of Israel, for there was also another who would dare stretch forth his hand against the king and against the authority and government that rested upon his shoulder. STEALING THE HEARTS AWAY FROM THE KING! FORCING THE KING FROM THE THRONE! FORCING THE KING FROM THE NATION! I can’t help but read the words which are written and found within these chapters and see two distinct and two powerful pictures of those who would dare raise themselves up against the true King of all kings in our culture, in our society, and in our generation during these Last Days. What’s more, is that I can’t help but get the strong sense that what we read and what we find within these chapters is a tremendous and powerful picture of what happens in a culture, what happens in a society and what happens in a nation when the king is forced from the throne, and when the king is forced from the place of government and authority within and over a nation.
I sit here this morning and I find myself being absolutely gripped and captivated with and by the fact that within these chapters we encounter a tremendous prophetic picture of what happens within a culture and society when the King is forced out of his place of authority and government. There are within these two distinct examples a powerful prophetic picture of those who would dare raise themselves up, and lift their hands against the throne upon which the King sits, and drive him out of the society and nation. IT’s worth noting that on the one hand it was the king’s own son who forced him from the throne and forced him from the place of authority and government, while on the hand it was simply one from the tribe of Benjamin who would dare raise himself up against the king as he would return to his rightful place of authority and government. What we find here is not only a picture of that one who forced the king from his place of government and authority in the midst of the nation of Israel, but we also find a picture of one who dared halt and prevent the king from being returned and restored to that place of authority and dominion. IN all reality, I would dare say that there are two powerful and prophetic pictures which are found in these chapters concerning the government and authority of the King over a nation, over a culture and over a society. I can’t help but read the words which are written and found within these chapters and come face to face with a tremendous picture of those who would dare lift and raise themselves up against the King to drive Him out, and to force Him from the place of authority and government within a nation, as well as a picture of those who would dare resist the return of the king to that place of government and authority. It would be Absalom who would dare set up a false and pseudo throne in the midst of the nation of Israel—a false government that was absolutely and completely contrary to that which the living God had established. Absalom would be a powerful prophetic picture and symbol of one who would not only force the true king from the throne and from the place of government and authority in the midst of the nation, but would also seek to establish a new government, a new dominion and new authority in the midst of the nation. Oh, I can’t help but consider the narrative of Absalom and come face to face with the absolutely astonishing reality that he is a picture of those princes, those rulers, those leaders—perhaps even those kings, those prime ministers, those presidents within and among the nations of the world today—who not only lifted up their hands to drive out the true King from the midst of the country, but who would also dare set up their own political kingdom and empire within the land. We would be incredibly naïve to think and consider—even for a brief moment—that there have not been United States presidents and world leaders within and throughout the globe who have not only driven out the true King of kings, but have also sought to set up and establish their own authority, their own government, their own rule, their own reign, and their own realm of power and dominion. We must come face to face with this absolutely astonishing reality, for there have been nations, leaders, princes, rulers, kings and presidents alike throughout history who have driven out the true King who sits upon the throne in order that they might set up their own government, their own kingdom, their own empire, their own dominion and their own reign.
We dare not, we cannot, we must not miss and lose sight of this absolutely captivating reality, for to do so would be to miss out on what has taken place, and what is continuing to take place within and among the nations of the earth—not only during generations and times past, but also in our current generation. There is not a doubt in my mind that nations, that rulers, that leaders, that kings, that prime ministers, that presidents, and the like have lifted up and raised their hand against the true King of kings, and the true LORD of lords in an attempt to drive Him out of their culture, their society and their nation. Oh, I sit here this morning and I can’t help but be reminded of the words which are written and recorded in the second chapter of the Old Testament book of the Psalms—words which the apostle Peter attributed and ascribed to David king of Israel as writing. It is in the second chapter of the Old Testament book of Psalms where you will find a powerful indictment against the kings and rulers of the nations of the earth, and their futile, yet passionate attempt to raise their hands against the true King of kings and the true Lord of lords. The words which we find written and recorded within this particular chapter are absolutely remarkable and astounding when you take the time to consider them, for with these words David speaks of a tremendous rebellion and conspiracy against the authority, against the government, against the dominion and power of the living God in the earth. David speaks of kings and rulers among the nations of the earth which align themselves together and with each other in order that they might initiate a full blown revolt and rebellion against the authority and government of the true King and the true Lord. It is absolutely necessary and important for us to realize and recognize this, for it helps shine a tremendous light on to the words we find written in chapters fifteen and twenty of the Old Testament book of Second Samuel. The words which are written and found in the second chapter of the Old Testament book of Psalms bring us face to face with the nations of the earth raging, and kings and rulers setting themselves up against the authority, the government and the dominion of the King who sits upon the throne in heaven, and how their attempts are not only futile, but will also be brought crashing to the ground. Consider if you will the words which are written and recorded in the second chapter of the Old Testament book of Psalms beginning to read with and from the first and opening verse of the chapter:
“Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against His anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him” (Psalms 2:1-12).
While the words in this passage most definitely speak to and describe the kings of the earth and the rulers taking counsel together, against the LORD, and against His anointed, it’s important that we recognize and understand that the passage itself doesn’t open up speaking about kings and rulers. If and as you read and study the words found in this passage of Scripture you will notice the psalmist speaking of the heathen raging, and the people imagining a vain thing. Please don’t miss this, for as much as we speak about kings and rulers setting themselves up against the LORD, and against His anointed, we must recognize and understand that the people cannot be overlooked in this matter as well. We must recognize and understand that while it is true the kings of the earth, and the rulers of the world set themselves in array against the LORD and against His anointed, the people themselves are just as much responsible for lifting themselves up against the King and for forcing the King from His place of authority, from His place of dominion and from His place of government. I can’t help but see in Absalom a picture of a son or daughter of the King raising and lifting themselves up against the King, against His authority, against His dominion and against His rule and reign in an attempt to force Him from that place. It’s quite intriguing to think about and consider that even as a son of the king Absalom was afforded certain privileges and rights that others within the nation of Israel weren’t afforded, and he enjoyed unique relationship and fellowship with the king others weren’t permitted to enjoy. Absalom grew up in the king’s house, and even though he fled to Syria after smiting Ammon, he was brought back to the city of Jerusalem, and brought back to the city of the king. Though he would not immediately see the face of the king, and although it would be two years before Absalom would himself see the king, he would still remain the king’s son. Even in the midst of his rebellion and revolt against the dominion and authority of the king he would still be the son of the king, and would still have a unique relationship with the king. Even after he had spent two years without seeing the face of the king, he would still be brought back into the presence of the king as a son, and would even be kissed by his father the king. Oh that would recognize and understand this absolutely tremendous and powerful reality, and would truly come face to face with the powerful picture that is presented in this passage here in the book of Second Samuel. The narrative of Absalom is a powerful picture of one who sought to cast off all restraint within himself, and sought to remove himself from under the authority and government of the king in order that he might set up and establish his own government, his own rule, and his own reign. Absalom is quite a powerful picture of one who would dare cast off restraint within their heart and mind, and one who seeks to set up and establish their own government and essentially be their own ruler.
It’s interesting and worth noting that within the book of Second Samuel—not only do we see a picture of one raising himself up against the king in order that he might cast off restraint, deliver himself from the authority of the king in order to set up and establish his own authority, but we also find one who would dare raise himself up against the king in order to resist the return of the king and the restoration of the king to the rightful place of authority and government within the land. What’s more, is that within this Old Testament book we find a tremendous picture of the king being forced to flee from a nation and people that have rejected, abandoned and forsaken him, and is forced to leave the place of authority, government, dominion and power. Even more, we find in this passage of Scripture a picture of the king having been forced to flee from the place of government, from the place of authority, and from the place of dominion, and being brought back to the rightful place of government. I find it absolutely captivating that within this particular period of time during the narrative and life of David—not only do we find an attempt to force the king from his place of authority and government within the nation, but when men began to rise up to bring the king back and restore him to that place of authority, we find an attempt to resist the restoration of the king to that place of dominion and authority, dominion and government. How absolutely powerful it is to read the words which are found within the narrative of the life of David, and within this narrative we find one who would rebel against authority and government to drive David out of the nation, while we also find one who would resist against authority and government to prevent David from coming back to the nation. In all reality, I find within this particular passage a tremendous picture of that one who rose up to force the king out of the nation, that one who cursed the king as he was leaving the nation, and even that one who attempted to resist the king as he was coming back to the nation. There is without a doubt a powerful picture within this narrative of David king of Israel of those within a nation who seek to drive out the King and usurp and rebel against His authority and government, as well as a picture of those within a nation who will rise up against the King as He is leaving the nation, and cursing and blaspheming him the entire way. Moreover, there is within this narrative a prophetic picture of one who would dare resist the return of the King as men rise up to bring the King back and restore Him to His rightful place of authority, dominion and government.
SHIMEI! SHEBA! ABSALOM! REBELLION AGAINST THE KING! CURSING THE KING! RESISTING THE KING! I sit here this morning and I can’t help but encounter and come face to face with the astonishing and remarkable reality that within the narratives of these three men we find those who not only seek to drive the King out of the nation, but also those who would dare curse the King as He is leaving the nation. What is so absolutely remarkable about the narrative of David is that when he realized the conspiracy and rebellion of Absalom was strong and showed no signs of slowing down or letting up, he willingly, voluntarily and of his own accord chose to leave the throne, depart from the palace, and begin the journey away from and outside the nation. David didn’t remain in the city of Jerusalem, nor did he remain upon the throne, nor did he even mount his own sword and go out before all the mighty men to defend the throne, defend the authority and government that was given unto him, and crush the rebellion that was lifted up and raised against him. Within this passage you will not find David making any moves or any attempts to defend his place as king over the nation of Israel, and he neither lifted up sword nor spear against Absalom, nor against those who resisted his authority, government, and dominion. This is quite a telling picture and reality, for when you consider how this nation in particular rose up against the living God to drive Him from our culture and society, the living God did not remain in the midst of it to defend His holy name, to defend Himself against the rebellions, the conspiracies and the revolts of men. The King of kings and Lord of lords chose not to rise up against those who sought to drive Him out of this nation, and chose instead to depart from the nation and to give the people, the rulers, the leaders, and yes in some instances and cases—even presidents of the United States—who dared defy the living God and drive Him out of this nation. Just as David left Jerusalem, left the throne, left the palace, and began the journey away from the city of David and to a place he not where he would go, so also the King of kings would depart from this nation, and would do so without remaining behind to defend Himself against those who sought to revolt and rebel against His authority. The King of kings and Lord of lords willingly and voluntarily left this nation, and allowed the nation to drive Him out, while choosing not to remain behind to defend His authority, His government, His authority, and the like. Please note that isn’t to say that He has abandoned and forsaken His people, nor that He is not ready, willing and able to receive all those who return to Him with fasting, with weeping and mourning. Oh I can’t help but be reminded of the word which are written and recorded within the first chapter of the New Testament epistle which the apostle Paul wrote unto the Roman saints and Christians. Consider if you will the words which are written and recorded in this particular chapter beginning to read with and from the eighteenth verse:
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was dark edged. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man, and to birds, and four footed beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despitefully, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them” (Romans 1:18-32).
What we find within the first chapter of the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the Romans is a powerful picture of a culture, a society, and people that reject the living God, and reject His authority, His government and His dominion. What is written and recorded within this passage of Scripture couldn’t be a truer picture of what this particular nation has done since the mid-1900’s when it began systematically and slowly driving the King out of our culture, out of our society, out of our psyche and makeup forever. Despite the fact that this nation was founded on biblical principles and the foundations of Scripture, this nation has worked overtime to drive out the King from His place of authority, dominion and government for years. For more than a half a century this nation has worked to drive out the King through mass abortions, through homosexual permissiveness, through greed and covetousness, through violence and bloodshed, and so much more. This nation has already experienced the devastating events of September 11, 2001, and this nation experienced the economic collapse that took place only seven years later when the housing bubble burst and financial institutions began collapsing. Now here we are twelve years later and we are facing a pandemic that not only threatens the globe, but threatens this particular nation as a whole. Major cities such as New York City, San Francisco, and Los Angeles are especially being hurt during this time, and we would be incredibly naïve and foolish to think and consider—even for a brief moment—that we aren’t receiving our due recompense for our rebellion and revolt against the authority and government of the King. Oh, it is true that throughout the years there have been faithful men and women who like those in Judah sought to bring the king back and restore him to the throne, however, I fear that much like Josiah’s actions could not stop the ultimate demise of the nation and kingdom of Judah, so also will faithful men and women be unable to stop that great tidal wave and flood from coming upon this nation. You will recall that Josiah was the final righteous king who ruled and reigned upon the throne in the southern kingdom of Judah, and how he launched a massive campaign for cleansing, holiness and worship in the midst of the land. Despite all his efforts and despite his humility and tenderness toward the word of God which was found in the Law of Moses, it would not prevent the calamity which the living God had spoken concerning the nation because of the iniquity and transgression of past kings (including his own father), false prophets, corrupt priests, and the countless men and women within that culture and society which rebelled against the authority of the King of Israel, which was the living God.
Oh the words and language which we find in the nineteenth chapter, as well as the twentieth chapter are absolutely captivating and alluring when you take the time to consider what is taking place within them, for the final portion of the nineteenth chapter describes the effort to bring the king back to Jerusalem, while the twentieth chapter describes the resistance of one man who not only tried to prevent the return of the king, but who also tried captivating the hearts and minds of the people to align themselves with him. Sheba who Scripture describes as a son of Belial not only sought to turn the hearts of the people of Israel away from the king, but he also sought to resist the return of the king and prevent him being restored to the rightful place of authority and government that was given him by the living God. Consider if you will—first the words which are found in the final portion of the nineteenth chapter, as well the words which are found in the opening portion of the twentieth chapter of the Old Testament book of Second Samuel:
“And all the people were at strife throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, The king saved us out of the hand of our enemies, and he delivered us out of the hand of the Philistines; and now he is fled out of the land for Absalom. And Absalom, whom we anointed over us, is dead in battle. Now therefore why speak ye not a word of bringing the king back? And king David sent to Zadok and to Abiathar the priests, saying, Speak unto the elders of Judah, saying, Why are ye the last to bring the king back to his house? Seeing the speech of all Israel is come to the king, even to his house. Ye are my brethren, ye are my bones and my flesh: wherefore then are ye the last to bring back the king? And say ye to Amasa, Art thou not of my bone, and of my flesh? God do so to me, and more also, if thou be not captain of the host before me continually in the room of Joab. And he bowed the heart of all the men of Judah, even as the heart of one man; so that they sent this word unto the king. Return thou, and all thy servants. So the king returned, and came to Jordan. And Judah came to Gilgal, to go to meet the king, to conduct the king over Jordan” (2 Samuel 19:9-15).
“And, behold, all the men of Israel came to the king, and said unto the king, Why have our brethren the men of Judah stolen thee way, and have brought the king, and his household, and all David’s men with him, over Jordan? And all the men of Judah answered the men of Israel, Because the king is near of kin to us: wherefore then be ye angry for this matter? Have we eaten at all of the king’s cost? Or hath he given us any gift? And the men of Israel answered the men of Judah, and said, We have ten parts in the king, and we have also more right in David than ye: why then did ye despise us, that our advice should be first had in bringing back our king? And the words of the men of Judah were fiercer than the words of the men of Israel” (2 Samuel 19:41-43).
It’s worth noting and pointing out that while the king was being brought back to Jerusalem, and while the king was being restored unto him, Shimei—that one who cursed the king as he and all his household and servants went out from the presence of Absalom—came unto David in humility and brokenness before him. When Shimei heard the king was being brought back to Jerusalem, and when Shimei heard that the king was being restored unto his rightful place in the city of David, and unto the throne in Israel, he appeared before the king to repent of his actions, his words, and his cursing of the king. While I do believe that there are essentially three different groups of people that are represented within this particular narrative of the life of David—Absalom who represents those who rebel and revolt against the authority and government of the king, Shimei who represent those who curse the king as he is being forced out of culture and society, and Sheba who represents those who resist the return of the king and the restoration of the king to his place of dominion, government and authority—I find it absolutely remarkable to think about and consider the fact that Shimei came out to meet the king when it was noised that Absalom was dead, and when Israel and Judah worked to bring the king back to the city of David and back to the throne in Jerusalem. What’s more, is that in the process of returning the king unto the city of David, and in the process of restoring the king to his place of authority, we find the narrative and account of three different individuals who came out to greet the king, and who came out to welcome the king back as he made the journey to the city of Jerusalem, unto the throne in the midst of the city, and unto the place of the Ark of the Covenant. Within the nineteenth chapter we read of Shimei who came to appear before the king after previously cursing him, Mephibosheth who came to appear before the king after hearing that he was being brought back to the city of David, as well as Barzillai the Gileadite who also came down to meet the king. Consider if you will the narrative of these three men and their response to the king being brought back to the city of David, and unto the throne upon which he sat and reigned over the nation and kingdom of God:
“And Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjamite, which was of Bahurim, hasted and came down with the men of Judah to meet king David. And there were a thousand men of Benjamin with him, and Ziba the servant of the house of Saul, and his fifteen sons and his twenty servants with him; and they went over Jordan before the king. And there went over a ferry boat to carry over the king’s household, and to do what he thought good. And Shimei the son of Gera fell down before the king, as he was come over Jordan; and said unto the king, Let not my lord impute iniquity unto me, neither do thou remember that which thy servant did perversely the day that my lord the king went out of Jerusalem, that the king should take it to his heart. For thy servant doth know that I have sinned: therefore, behold, I am come the first this day of all the house of Joseph to go down to meet my lord the king. But Abishai the son of Zeruiah answered and said, Shall not Shimei be put to death for this, because he cursed the LORD’s anointed? And David said, What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah, that ye should this day be adversaries unto me? Shall there any man be put to death this day in Israel? For do not I know that I am this day king over Israel? Therefore the king said unto Shimei, Thou shalt not die. And the king sware unto him” (2 Samuel 19:16-23).
“And Mephibosheth the son of Saul came down to meet the king, and had neither dressed his feet, nor trimmed his beard, nor washed his clothes, from the day the king departed until the day he came again in peace. And it came to pass, when he was come to Jerusalem to meet the king, that the king said unto him, Wherefore wentest not thou with me Mephibosheth? And he answered, My lord, O king, my servant deceived me: for thy servant said, I will saddle me an ass, that I may ride there on, and go to the king; because thy servant is lame. And he hath slandered thy servant unto my lord the king; but my lord the king is as an angel of God: do therefore what is good in thine eyes. For all of my father’s house were but dead men before my lord the king: yet didst thou set thy servant among them that did eat at thine own table. What right therefore have I yet to cry any more unto the king? And the king said unto him, Why speakest thou any more of thy matters? I have said, Thou and Ziba divide the land. And Mephibosheth said unto the king, Yea, let him take all, forasmuch as my lord the king is come again in peace unto his own house” (2 Samuel 19:24-30).
“And Barzillai the GIleadite came down from Rogelio, and went over Jordan with the king, to conduct him over Jordan. Now Barzillai was a very aged man, even fourscore years old: and he had provided the king of sustenance while he lay at Mahanaim; for he was a very great man. And the king said unto Barzillai, Come thou over with me, and I will feed thee with me in Jerusalem. And Barzillai said unto the king, How long have I to live, that I should go up with the king unto Jerusalem? I am this day fourscore years old: and can I discern between good and evil? Can thy servant taste what I eat or what I drink? Can I hear any more the voice of singing men and singing women? Wherefore then should thy servant be yet a burden unto my lord the king? Thy servant will go a little way over Jordan with the king: and why should the king recompense it me with such a reward? Let thy servant, I pray thee, turn back again, that I may die in mine own city, and blue buried by the grave of my father and of my mother. But behold thy servant Chimham; let him go over with my lord the king; and do to him what shall seem good unto thee. And the king answered, Chimham shall go over with me, and I will do to him that which shall seem good unto thee: and whatsoever thou shalt require of me, that will I do for thee. And all the people went over Jordan. And when the king was come over, the king kissed Barzillai, and blessed him: and he returned unto his own place. Then the king went on to Gilgal, and Chimham went on with him: and all the people of Judah conducted the king, and also half the people of Israel” (2 Samuel 19:31-40).
As you read each of these narratives you will find three distinct individuals who not only met David when he was being brought back unto Jerusalem, but you will also find a tremendous picture of humility and repentance displayed by Shimei after he had previously cursed the king. What I absolutely love about the narrative of Shimei is that while he went about cursing the king and casting stones at both he and his servants as they were fleeing Jerusalem, the king would stay Abishai’s heart and hand from slaying him, as Abishai asked permission of the king to smite and strike down this “dead dog.” Just as the king would not allow Abishai to stretch forth his hand against the LORD’s anointed, so also would the king not allow him to stretch forth his hand against this one who would curse the king and throw stones as he, his servants and his household went with him. With this being said, it’s worth noting that even when Shimei came out to meet the king and essentially repent and atone for his words and actions, Abishai once more asked for permission to strike down and kill him. This time—just as the first time when he asked for permission to strike down Shimei—the king would steady the heart and hand of Abishai and would not allow him to kill and strike down Shimei. I can’t help but see a tremendous and powerful prophetic picture that is written and found within this narrative, as it was true that Shimei did curse the king as he was being driven out of the city, and he did cast stones at him as he went along the way, however, here we have the king being brought back to Jerusalem and being restored unto the place of authority, dominion and government, and Shimei essentially repents of his words and actions. I find it absolutely wonderful and powerful that not only would the king stay Abishai’s hand from smiting Shimei, but he also swore unto him that he would not die. Please don’t’ miss and lose sight of this absolutely wonderful and tremendous reality, for I am convinced that as much as there are men and women who are working and fighting in prayer and intercession to bring back the King to this nation, there are men and women who had previously cursed the king, those who previously cursed the name of the King, and those who cast stones at Him as he left the city. There are going to be those who upon understanding and perceiving that the King is being restored to a place of authority, dominion and government will experience a radical change of heart, and will turn to the King and repent of their evil and wicked ways. There will be those who will speak to the King and repent of their words and actions toward and against Him, as they witness and behold the King being brought back and restored to His place of authority, His place of dominion, His pace of government over His people, and over all those who will bend the knee in humility, in obedience, and in relationship and fellowship to Him.
If you continue thinking about this narrative of David the king of Israel being brought back unto the city of Jerusalem, unto the throne upon which he sat, and unto the place of the Ark of the Covenant, it’s worth noting that that king would be met not only by one who would repent of his words and actions as he had previously cursed the king and cast stones at him, but the king would also be met by Mephibosheth whom he had previously shown kindness unto for the sake of Jonathan. This is actually quite intriguing when you think about it, for you will recall that Ziba the servant of Mephibosheth had previously come unto the king when he was fleeing from his son Absalom, and not only met him with gifts, but also spoke concerning Mephibosheth and how he sought the restoration of the throne of Saul in the midst of the land. When the king is being brought back to the city of David, however, we find Mephibosheth coming unto the king in humility and homage as he would bow himself before the king. Moreover, we find Mephibosheth speaking unto the king and revealing how his servant had slandered him in the hearing of the king, and how his servant had spoken ill against him. I can’t help but see within this narrative a powerful picture of those who will come and appear before the king—those who perhaps have been slandered against, those who perhaps have been spoken against, and those who perhaps have been given a negative reputation because of others who seek to elevate and exalt themselves. Through the narrative of Mephibosheth we find one whose name was slandered before the king, and how Mephibosheth was in great straits and was very much distraught when the king was forced to flee the city of Jerusalem, flee from his house, flee from the throne upon which he sat, and was forced to flee from his own son Absalom. Moreover, Mephibosheth was willing to allow his servant Ziba to have all the land that was given unto him as the inheritance of Saul, and essentially viewed it as nothing compared to the king being restored and returned unto the throne and unto the city of David. How absolutely wonderful and powerful it is to think about and consider the fact that there are going to be those when the King is being brought back, and when the King is being restored who will count all as loss for the sake of knowing the King, for the sake of having fellowship and relationship with the King, and for the sake of simply having the presence of the King once more. Oh, I can’t help but be reminded of the words which the apostle Paul wrote when he penned the epistle that was sent unto the congregation of the Philippians. If you begin reading with and from the seventh verse of the third chapter of the epistle you will find the following words which the apostle Paul wrote unto this church:
“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my LORD: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, where to we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing” (Philippians 3:7-16).
I absolutely love Mephibosheth’s response to David when he was being brought back unto the city of Jerusalem, for when David was being returned and restored unto his rightful place upon the throne in the midst of the city, Mephibosheth was one of three distinct and specific individuals who came out to meet him. It was Mephibosheth who declared unto David that he had not trimmed his beard, nor dressed his feet since news of the king’s departure from the city reached him. This is quite remarkable and quite astonishing when you think about and consider it, for within his response we see one who was themselves distraught over the removal of the king, and the king being forced from his place in the midst of the city. Through the words and response of this son of Saul we encounter and come face to face with an absolutely tremendous picture of one who could not bear the thought of the king being removed from the place of government and authority in the midst of the land, and not o0nly had not dressed his feet, nor trimmed his beard, but he had also not washed his clothes from the time the king departed until the king returned in peace. The reality and concept of dressing his feet was actually quite significant for Mephibosheth since we learn from Scripture that he was lame in both feet after suffering a fall earlier on during his life. From the time he was just five years old we find that he suffered a fall when his nurse took him and fled after hearing news that Saul and three of his sons were dead. Knowing that David would undoubtedly be king over Israel this nurse feared for his safety and sought to rescue and spare him from any potential wrath of the king. Interestingly enough, however—instead of the king exercising wrath and judgment upon him, he would show and bestow upon him kindness, compassion and affection. It would be David who would not only give him a seat at his table continually, but it would also be David who would restore unto him the inheritance of Saul who was the king of Israel. It’s quite astounding and quite remarkable to think about and consider this reality, for Mephibosheth even appealed to this when speaking unto the king upon his return, and spoke of how the king had given him a place at his table—a place of fellowship, relationship and friendship. We dare not miss and lose sight of this, for it brings us face to face with his willingness to give up all land which was given unto him—land which originally belonged to his father Saul—for the sake of the king being restored unto his place of government, authority and dominion in the land. Please pay careful and close attention to this, for it reveals and demonstrates that heart which is present when the king is being restored to the place of authority, the place of dominion, and the place of government within a nation. There will always be that heart that is sensitive to the return of the King and to the King being returned and restored to His rightful place of dominion and authority. There will be those whose hearts will be moved within them upon the King being restored to a place of authority—even if it’s perhaps a select group of people initially—and they will rejoice and be glad when the King is restored to His rightful place.
The more I consider this narrative as it is written and recorded within the Old Testament book of Second Samuel, for not only do we find in this book a powerful prophetic picture of one who revolted and rebelled against the authority, the government and the dominion of the king, but we also find picture within this book a picture of one who attempted to resist the return of the king and his rightful place of dominion, authority and government in the midst of the land. What’s more, is that within this narrative we find those of Judah who went up unto David to bring him back unto the city of David and unto the throne in Jerusalem—an act that would be followed by all the men of Israel upon news of the death of Absalom. The entire reality and truth that is found from chapters nineteen through twenty is not only a revolt and rebellion against the authority of the king, and not only a resistance to the restoration and return of the king, but also those who would welcome and embrace the king as the rightful ruler who sat upon the throne. I can’t help but see in Absalom a powerful picture of those who rise up in the midst of a nation, in the midst of a people, in the midst of a church, in the midst of a religious organization, and the like, and force the King of kings and Lord of lords to depart from that place of authority, government, dominion, power and strength within the land. I can’t help but see within the example of Shimei one who watches as the King departs from a nation, a city, a church, a religious organization, and the like, and curses the name of the King, and casts stones at the King as he flees from that place of government and authority. Moreover, I find in Sheba a picture of one who sought to resist the return of the King and the restoration of the King to His rightful place of dominion and authority in the midst of the land. What I so absolutely love about this narrative within the life of David is that although Simei would initially curse, revile and cast stones at David, at his servants, and at those who would flee with him, he would come out to meet David upon his return to the city of David, and would come in peace. What’s more, is that he would repent of his error and his iniquity before, against and in the sight of the king, and would ultimately ask for forgiveness. It’s important for us to recognize the account of Shimei, for the account of Shimei is one that not only points to those who curse and revile the King as he is forced to depart from a nation and/or city, but he also represents those who would dare cast stones—stones of judgment, stones of condemnation, stones of ridicule, stones of slander, stones of wrath—against the servants of the King, and those of His household. Shimei represents those who watch as the King is forced to flee from His place of authority, government and dominion, and not only curses the King as He goes, but also proceeds to assault His servants and those of His own household.
As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I want to highlight the reality of Sheba and how Sheba represents that heart which hears and sees the King being restored to His place of authority, dominion and government, and seeks to rise up in resistance against it. Sheba represents a heart that is fully aware of the work to return the King to His rightful place in culture, in society, in a nation, and even in a church and/or religious organization, and seeks to do anything and everything it can to resist the return of the King. It’s interesting to note that the popular movie series Lord of the Rings features the third of three movies that is appropriately titled “Return of the King,” and the movie climaxes and culminates in the destruction of the enemy and adversary, the ring of power being destroyed in the fire of Mordor, and the king being restored unto the place of authority and government within Middle earth. I can’t help but be absolutely astounded with and by this reality, as this paints a truly wonderful and powerful picture of a restoration which I believe needs to take place within our culture, within our society, within our nation, and within cities all across this nation. There is not a doubt in my mind that there needs to be a corporate and collective movement of prayer and intercession to bring back the King into this culture and society, and to restore His authority, His dominion and authority among us. This nation has spent far too long allowing Absalom’s to rise up in rebellion against the authority and government of the King, and have forced the King to retreat from this nation. It’s important to note and understand that the King never remained to defend Himself, nor to defend His name, but allowed generations of Absalom’s, churches of Absalom’s and others to drive Him out of our national psyche and makeup. As a result, we have spent countless years living in a place where the authority, the government and dominion of the King have been absent this nation, and political pundits and puppets have been ruling and governing this nation as they see fit. What’s more, is that there have been countless men and women who have cursed the King as He has been forced to depart from this nation having been driven out by rebellious men. Even more than this, there have been men and women who have heaped curses upon the King while at the same time casting stones at His servants and those of His household as they cried out against the King declaring Him to be a cruel king of tyranny, bloodshed, violence, judgment and the like. It’s worth noting, however, that despite the attempt to drive the King out of our culture and society, it is possible for the rebellion and revolt to be crushed and for the King to be brought back into the midst of the nation. It is possible for the King to be radically restored to a place of government within this nation, and even if the entire nation itself doesn’t acknowledge the King and His government and authority, there are those who are His followers who are willing to accept and follow His authority, His government, His rule and His dominion. In addition to this, we must also recognize that just as Sheba was ultimately beheaded and his head was thrown out of the city before Joab and the men of Israel, so also will the resistance to the return of the King be thwarted, put down, and destroyed, as the true King of kings will once more resume His rightful place of authority, dominion and government in the midst of the hearts and lives of men and women once more.
Oh that the cry of our heart would be that the King would sit in His rightful place of dominion and authority within our hearts and lives, that any rebellion and revolt against His authority would be crushed, that the hearts of those who once cursed the King and cast stones at His servants and those of His household would turn back in repentance, and that the resistance to the return and restoration of the King would be crushed and brought low. I leave you with the following words which are written and recorded by the prophet Isaiah concerning this King and His government which must be manifested and acknowledged within our hearts, our lives, our churches, our cities, and even this nation:
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this” (Isaiah 9:6-7).