We find David on the run from his son Absalom who has assembled a conspiracy to take over the rule of Israel. It was a conspiracy that took years to unfold. Carefully, deliberately, and methodically, Absalom “stole the hearts” of the people. He acted against his father and was allowed by David to run wild and do willful acts that should not have been tolerated.
David had a nation to rule over and did not attend to his children, especially to Absalom when it came to raising him up in the faith and providing discipline and correction when that was needed.
Now, the unity of the nation is at stake. Civil war arises again as Absalom assembles his warriors, army, and followers. And so the people, with David, wept at this calamity.
In contrast to David’s son Absalom, we read of Ittai the Gittite who has been with David but a day. David wishing to spare him from the sorrow of warfare tells him to go back and stay with King Absalom. David had an awareness of his failures and sin which had brought this trouble upon him and his loyal followers. But Ittai pledges his loyalty to David, “As surely as the Lord lives, and as my lord the king lives, wherever my lord the king may be, whether it means life or death, there will your servant be.” What a difference compared to Absalom.
David shows wisdom in taking steps to counteract the rebellion which Absalom has organized.
Nevertheless, here in this story we see the consequences of neglect, willfulness, and sin being played out. God is merciful and forgiving yet sin has it’s painful consequences in real life. Sometimes, like David, we too find ourselves running from the seeds of sin we have sown. Yes, the Lord is forgiving but sin brings painful realities to life.
Unlike David, may we choose to be faithful to the ways of God that we might not reap the inevitable consequences of sin. This chapter in David’s life is a reminder of Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Thank God that Jesus is still a friend of sinners.