From shepherd boy to King of Israel, David’s love for and faith in God astound me. He was not a perfect man, but he did have perfect trust. So when I read 2 Samuel 15, I was surprised.
David’s son Absalom is conspiring to overthrow his father and take over his throne. When David hears about it, he flees! David flees? David? The man who, as a boy, killed both a bear and a lion with his own hands just to save a sheep? The young man who killed Goliath with one small stone? The warrior so valiant in battle that the women praised him above King Saul? The man relentlessly pursued by Saul but who refused to lift a hand against him? This is not one who flees; this is one who fights!
Why, then, did David flee when faced with a foe inferior to himself? David had lost faith — not in God but in himself. David knew that God was sovereign, that God had placed him on the throne, and that God had blessed him with mighty victories. But David also knew he was only a man, a man enveloped in weak flesh.
You see, by this time, David had committed adultery with Bathsheba and had killed her husband Uriah with the sword of the Ammonites; David’s oldest son Amnon had raped David’s daughter Tamar, and David did nothing about it (probably thinking, “Who am I to judge and punish?”); David’s third son Absalom had avenged his sister Tamar by killing Amnon — and, still, David did nothing.
David’s mind probably went back to disobedient King Saul and how God had removed the anointing from Saul and placed it upon David. He probably thought, “Who am I to be king of Israel? I am a far worse sinner than Saul. I’ve lost control over myself and over my own family. Perhaps it is the Lord’s will to remove His anointing from me and to place it upon my son Absalom.”
Physically, David fled; he no longer trusted himself. Spiritually, however, David remained firm; he continued to trust in God. “If I find favor in the LORD’s eyes, he will bring me back…But if he says, ‘I am not pleased with you,’ then I am ready; let him do to me whatever seems good to him” (2 Samuel 15:25-26).
Have you been in David’s shoes? Have you felt as though you had fallen too far? Fallen, not beyond the reach of God and His salvation, but beyond God’s desire to anoint and use you?
“How could God use me after what I’ve done?”
“Failure: that’s all I am and all I do!”
“God may forgive me, but they won’t. So how can He use me now?”
Take heart, my friend! God is not finished with you yet! He is our Blessed Redeemer and He can redeem anyONE and anyTHING! God not only can redeem you in spite of your “stuff”; He can also redeem your stuff!
Consider Saul of Tarsus. God redeemed Saul, turning Saul the mercenary into Paul the missionary and using his “stuff” (his past) to teach others of God’s transforming power and unlimited grace.
Consider Peter. Not only was he a disciple of Christ, he was also one of Jesus’ most intimate friends. Yet when his Friend needed him most, Peter denied Him. God redeemed Peter, however, and used his “stuff” (fear and denial) to inspire others to fearless discipleship.
The Bible is full of such stories of redemption — redemption not only of the person but also of their past.
Do you need a Redeemer? Do you have a past that needs redemption? Have you experienced great failure even though you are a Christian? My friend, you’re not alone! The Church is full of people in need of redemption. The problem? We’ve not surrendered everything to Christ. We’ve been taught that, once saved, we’re supposed to have it all together, that we don’t make huge mistakes any more, that we are to be holy in and of ourselves.
Surrender: it”s what sets David, Paul, and Peter apart from believers today. Though they fled, feared, or failed, they still trusted God! They trusted Him not only with their present and their future; they also trusted Him with their past!
Surrender your past to the LORD and “let Him do to [you] whatever seems good to Him.” Surrender it and be amazed at His redemptive power!
(PS — David did see Jerusalem and the ark of the covenant of God again! Just because David had faltered, God had not forgotten him. He took care of his enemy and restored David to his throne. Oh, what a blessed Redeemer we serve!)