“If I find favor in the eyes of the LORD, he will bring me back and let me see both it and his dwelling place. But if he says ‘I have no pleasure in you,’ behold, here I am, let him do to me what seems good to him.”—2 Samuel 15:25-26
Last week we joined David in giving praise to God for being delivered from Saul. Today, I shall introduce you to a prayer of his that’s one of utter despair. Yes, God delivered David from Saul, but now more ominously, the question was whether God would deliver him from the murderous intentions of his own son.
David’s son, Absalom, rebelled against him, scheming to take the kingdom for himself. David’s world was disintegrating by the hour. One hammer blow after another was smashing his life and kingdom to pieces. He’d lost all moral authority to deal with his sons because of his own sin. He was forgiven by God, but he lost his leadership position within the family and never regained it. Even his friends were turning against him in public disrespect. His loyal advisor, Ahithophel, defected and joined Absalom whose coup d’état was gaining an ever-widening following.
Now, he has to flee Jerusalem, leaving his scattered family and disintegrating kingdom behind. A man named Shimei even had the audacity to throw stones at the departing king and curse him as he was going up the Mount of Olives. One of David’s soldiers volunteered to have Shimei’s head but David would have none of it. “Let him alone and let him curse, for God has told him,” David said (2 Samuel 16:11). David was keenly aware of his failure in all of this, so he was willing to accept whatever happened. Even the cursing by Shimei was interpreted as coming from the hand of God.
There was no fight left in David. The prayer he prayed as he left the city was one of total brokenness and helplessness. Years earlier, he did not manipulate events to get the kingdom, now he would not scheme to keep it. If his own life could be spared, fine; indeed, he was willing to lead his troops to battle against his own son. But David was a broken man; the kingdom meant nothing to him now; his many wives were whispering behind his back, and one of his sons was out to kill him. He was being crushed by God, and he accepted it.
Contrary to David’s wishes, Absalom was killed, and yes, David did return to Jerusalem to rule. But nothing would ever be the same again. He would live long enough to see outsiders plot to steal the kingdom and then witness tragic death of two more of his sons.
When David came to die, he had nothing left but God.
Let us pray with the same resignation, believing that all things are best left in God’s hands.
Let Us Pray
Father, when we find ourselves at the end of our rope only to discover that there is no knot on the end, help us to cling to Your promises; when we discover that all hope is gone, help us to take one last look at You, committing ourselves entirely into Your hands. Lord, may the struggle within our souls cease; may we no longer try to manipulate events that are out of our control. If You do not help us, we will not be helped; if You do not deliver us, we will not be delivered.
I pray this for myself but also for ___________. May they be wholly yielded to Your will and purpose. We are like a piece of driftwood on a river whose speed and direction we cannot control. Yet, we know that You have this river in your hands. Help us to trust that You will do right by us; give us the assurance that when You are our only hope, that is sufficient.
Only Your will and glory matters.
In Jesus’ name, Amen. To that end we dedicate ourselves.