But if He should say, 'I do not delight in you,' then here I am; let Him do to me whatever seems good to Him."
I. HIS ESTIMATION OF DIVINE MEANS AND ORDINANCES. The ark and the tabernacle were much mere to him than his throne and his palace. And therefore he only mentions these. "Carry back," says he, "the ark of God — if I shall find favour in the eyes of the Lord, he will bring me again" — he will bring me again, ands — "show me both it and his habitation" — the ark and the tabernacle. Not that he undervalued the privilege of a safe return. Religion is not founded on the destruction of humanity. We are not required to contemn the good things of nature and providence.
I. TO WHAT HE WAS RESIGNED. To whatever might be the will of God. To the enjoyment of the Divine favour, or the experience of the Divine displeasure. In particular:
1. To defeat or victory in the contest with his unnatural son; and, as results of one or the other:
2. To the permanent loss or the regaining of his throne.
3. To exile from Jerusalem or return to it.
4. To banishment from the ark and house of God or restoration to them. This is specially referred to in ver. 25:5. To death or life.
II. THE NATURE OF HIS RESIGNATION.
1. It was not insensibility or indifference. How much he felt the position in which he was placed is evident from his language here, and his tears and other signs of mourning referred to in ver. 30. Those who do not feel their troubles cannot cherish resignation to them. Troubles which do not trouble require no exercise of submission. Resignation may be most eminently displayed by those who are most susceptible of suffering.
2. It was not a stoical submission to the inevitable. This is better than vain struggles and useless murmurs, but is not godly resignation.
3. Nor did it involve abandonment of all prayer and effort to secure what was felt to be desirable. David, while surrendering himself to the disposal of the Most High, carefully planned and laboured, and was prepared to fight, that he might obtain the victory. Christian resignation is not fatalism.
4. It was trustful, loving submission to whatever might prove to be the will of God. David recognized the hand of God in his adversities, saw that the issue of events would be according to the Divine appointment, and on this account was prepared to acquiesce in it. "Let him do to me as seemeth good unto him."
III. MOTIVES TO SUCH RESIGNATION.
1. The rightful sovereignty of God. He does rule over all, whether we will or no; and the recognition of his right to rule will much aid in producing willing submission to his will. "You know, my dear," said a poor man to his wife, when they were mourning the loss of a peculiarly interesting and affectionate child, "this family is God's garden, and he has a right to come into it and pluck any flower that pleases him best."
2. His omnipotence. "Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God" (1 Peter 5:6). Because he is almighty, his will must be accomplished; resistance is futile. At the same time, he is almighty to support, to bring good out of evil, and to "exalt in due time" (1 Peter 5:6).
3. His wisdom and goodness. Which assure us that he does not act according to arbitrary choice, but that what "seemeth good unto him" is really good; so that in submitting to him we are acquiescing in our own ultimate well being.
4. Our sinfulness and unworthiness. David was doubtless aided in resigning himself to the will of God by the memory of his heinous sins (comp. Judges 10:15; Nehemiah 9:33; Lamentations 1:18; Lamentations 3:39; Daniel 9:14; Micah 7:9). We deserve more suffering than is inflicted upon us; we merit no good. thing; the more readily, therefore, should we resign ourselves to whatever may be appointed for us.
5. The blessings enjoyed by us or assured to us. The memory of past enjoyments, which tends to embitter present griefs, should nevertheless awaken a gratitude which tends to reconcile us to them. "Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?" (Job 2:10). The mercies still remaining to us, duly appreciated and acknowledged, will have a similar beneficial effect. The way in which God has led us through past difficulties should strengthen confidence in him, and render us willing to trust him with our future. Specially, if we are Christians indeed, let us keep in mind:
(1) The relation in which we stand towards God, as his children, redeemed, reconciled, renewed; and the childlike spirit which becomes us.
(2) The unspeakable blessings which as Christians we enjoy. Pardon, peace with God, access to him, assurance of his fatherly pity and love, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, with his special guidance, support, and consolation.
(3) The promises made to us of all needful good (Psalm 84:11; Matthew 6:33); the cooperation of all things for our good (Romans 8:28); the Divine care, sympathy, and support (Psalm 55:22; Hebrews 13:5, 6); and final deliverance from all affliction, and enjoyment of eternal glory - glory far outweighing all present trouble, and prepared for and increased through its right endurance (Revelation 21:4; Romans 8:18; 2 Corinthians 4:17, 18).
6. The cross of Christ illustrates and enhances all other motives. The love of God in Christ assures us in the darkest hours that he is love, and his ways are love. The sufferings of Jesus as our atoning Saviour make sure to us all spiritual and eternal blessings. His greater sufferings are adapted to reconcile us to our so much lesser ones. In his resignation we have the brightest and most powerful example, and reasons for imitation of it. As our fellow Sufferer we know that he can, and are assured that he does, sympathize with us; and that he is the better able to succour us.
7. The benefits which flow from resignation.
(1) "The peace of God" (Philippians 4:7), and with it strength to endure: power also to do whatever may be possible towards deliverance.
(2) Evidence to our own consciousness that we are the children of God.
(3) Good influence over others. Proof to them of the worth of religion. In conclusion, let us lay to heart that in any case we must suffer affliction. The only question is how and with what results? Shall we suffer in faith and hope and. submission, and thus secure Divine approval, support, and blessing? or shall we suffer impatiently and rebelliously, thus adding to our sufferings, and gaining no blessing from them? "Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker!" (Isaiah 45:9). - G.W.
And the king said unto Zadok, Carry back the ark of God unto the city.
I. — TRUE GODLINESS ENGAGES THE SOUL'S SUPREME ATTENTION, EVEN IN TIME OF TRIAL.
1. It draws the thoughts away from self. Dwelling on sorrow increases its bitterness. It grows with observation. We concentrate our mind upon a thing until it becomes far larger than it really is.
2. It fills the void in the heart with consolation. Of all subjects religion is the most powerful thing in the world to occupy the attention, and in its presence every temporal affair sinks into the meanest insignificance.
II. — TRUE GODLINESS PLACES GOD'S HONOUR EVER BEFORE SELFISH EASE. When David left the city in flight, Zadok, the High Priest, brought the ark of God to follow the King.
1. David rejected mere outward symbols and signs. The symbolism of the temple had its proper place and use. It was to accomplish a great, and mighty, and mysterious purpose. But if religion has its public representation and form, it has also its private and individual functions as well.
2. God could help him just as welt without the help of priest, or tabernacle, or service as He could with. Time and place are nothing to God. The tears of the prisoner are as precious to him as the orison of a pope. David was very well content to leave himself in the hands of God without any extraneous help.
III. TRUE RELIGION IDENTIFIES MAN'S INTERESTS WITH GOD'S PURPOSES. We learn practically that the part for us to perform is,(1) Passive trust and resignation to the divine will, and(2) Constant faith in God's dealing. David did not for one moment doubt. His trust was unshaken amid all his trouble. "If I find favour in His eyes, He will bring me again, but if not, let Him do to me as seemeth good unto Him." I am content to leave it in His hands.
(David Howell, D. D.)
II. THE SIMPLICITY OF DAVID'S FAITH. "If I shall find favour in the eyes of the Lord, He will bring me again and show me both it and His habitation." Here was an unwavering confidence in the power of God to bring good out of evil; and a conviction that if the Lord saw fit He would do so. And here we may mark the peculiar and proper office of faith. It leads to effort; it encourages in duty while it prevents a departure from the way of God's commandments. We beseech you to cultivate more of this spirit, which appeared so conspicuously in the man after God's own heart; view every turn in your history as appointed by the Lord, and seek to have continually a lively apprehension of His overruling providence.
III. DAVID'S HUMBLE RESIGNATION TO THE DIVINE WILL. That Christian is much to be envied, who, happen what may, can exclaim with sincerity of heart, "It is the Lord, let Him do what seemeth Him good"; I desire to acquiesce in the Divine appointments, because "I know in whom I have believed"; I know, that though deep are the water-floods that roll over me, the wisdom of God is deeper than them all. Let us keep in mind, that the sources from whence we look for comfort may become the fruitful springs of bitter anguish. Let us not forget that the most secure of all our earthly comforts are in reality insecure.
(S. Bridge, M. A.)
II. HIS FAITH IN DIVINE PROVIDENCE. David views his defeat or his success, his exile or his return, as suspended entirely on the will of God. He does not balance probabilities. Not that he acted the part of an enthusiast, and despised the use of means. This appears obviously from the measures he devised, especially his employing the counsel of Hushai. David knew it was easy for him to take wisdom from the wise, and courage from the brave; and to confound all his devices. He knelt also that it was equally easy for God to turn again his captivity.
III. He professes a FULL ACQUIESCENCE IN THE DISPOSAL OF THE ALMIGHTY. "But if he thus say, I have no delight in thee: behold, here am I, let him do to me as seemeth good to him." Here are no imprecations of vengeance against seditious subjects, and a rebellious son; no bitter complaints of instruments; no "charging God foolishly"; no "teaching God knowledge." He falls down at his feet wishing to be raised up, but willing to remain. He mourns, but he does not murmur. What helped to produce this disposition in David? There were. two things in himself.(1) The one was — a sense of his own unworthiness. A consciousness of our desert is necessary to our submission under the afflictive dispensations of Providence.(2) The other was — his ignorance. For while the former convinced him that he had no right to choose, this persuaded him that he had no ability.There were also two things in God which aided this acquiescence.(1) First, his sovereignty. "Has he not a right to do what he wilt with his own?(2) Secondly, his goodness. The authority of God awes us, But it is something else that produces the cheerfulness of submission. It is the principle which actuates him — which is love; it is the. end he has in view — which is our profit: It is a belief that, however things may be determined, with regard to our feelings — they "shall all work together for our good." Let us be followers of David in this holy resignation of ourselves to the pleasure of God.
1. It will be very advantageous to yourselves. Now this acquiescence in the will of God is the preparation of the Gospel of peace, with which you are to be shod: Thus prepared, you may travel on through the wilderness. To vary and enlarge the metaphor — impatience turns the rod into a scorpion. While the yoke presses the neck, patience lines it with down; and enables the man to say, It is good for me to bear it.
2. Nothing can be more honourable to religion. To surrender ourselves to the Divine disposal is the purest act of obedience: to subdue our unruly passions is the greatest instance of heroism. It ennobles the possessor. It renders him a striking character.
(A. Maclaren, D. D.)
Homilist.In this chapter David and Absalom appear as the embodiments and representatives of two opposite principles of action:-love of power, and love of God. In Absalom you have the one, and in David the rather. The love of power is an element in our spiritual constitution, implanted for benevolent purposes; and when properly directed, like all other native principles, subserves the most important ends. Like fire or water, as a servant it is a great blessing, but as a master, a great curse. When it grows into a passion, ascends the throne, and grasps the sceptre, it puts down conscience, and turns the man into a ruthless tyrant; ever ready to violate all the laws and trample on .all the rights of his species. It has gained this power now in the breast of Absalom; and four evils of character are here developed as the consequence: —
1. Filial rebellion. Inspired by this ambitious impulse, Absalom now east off the authority of David, not only as his sovereign, but as his parent.
2. Mean-spiritedness. In order to gain his ends see what mean manoeuvres he adopts; he rises early in the morning, he goes "beside the way of the gate," where men resorted to have their social disputes settled by the judgment of the king; and here he clandestinely endeavours to undermine his father's authority with the people, and to insinuate himself into their affections. Oh! the weakness of the people to be thus cajoled. Yet it has ever been so. Let a prince shake the people by the hand, as Absalom did, and they will forget their own self-respect, their grievances, and even his tyrannies, and follow him. The people must have a higher moral education" before they can obtain a better govermnent.
3. Religious hypocrisy. Under the pretence of paying a vow which he had promised to render unto the Lord in Hebron. "I pray thee, let me go and pay my vow," &c. (verses 7-9.) Wicked men have often sought and won their wicked ends in the holy name of religion.
4. Underhanded cunning. "And Absalom sent spies throughout all tribes of Israel," &c. (verses 10-12.) In striking and glorious contrast with this, we have the principle of love of God, or spiritual religion, developed in the character of David, before us.
I. SPIRITUAL RELIGION ENGAGES THE SUPREME ATTENTION OF THE SOUL UNDER TRIAL. Two facts will illustrate this.
1. That whatever subject has the most power to draw away the mind from itself, will always be effective in supporting it under trials. The depressing influence of a trial depends greatly upon the amount of attention which the man gives to it.
2. Of all subjects, religion has the most power to draw sway the mind from itself. David felt more interest in the ark now than he felt in the loss of his throne, the wreck of his kingdom, the peril of his life. And so the good man ever feels in his religion.
II. THAT SPIRITUAL RELIGION RECOGNIZES GOD'S SUPERINTENDENCE UNDER TRIAL.
1. He regarded it as personal. If "I shall find favour."
2. He regarded it as being sovereign. If "I shall find favour in the eyes of the Lord, He will bring me again."
3. He regarded it as being adequate. If it is agreeable to His rains, "He will bring me again." He has the power to do so. All that is required is His will.
III. THAT SPIRITUAL RELIGION IDENTIFIES MAN'S WILL WITH GOD'S, UNDER TRIAL. But if He thus say, I have no delight in thee; behold, here am I, let Him do to me as seemeth Him good." A thorough surrender of oar being and will to God is the first duty of all intelligences, and the necessary condition of all true progress in power and blessedness.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
(A. Maclaren, D. D.)
PeopleAbiathar, Absalom, Ahimaaz, Ahithophel, Aram, Arkite, Cherethites, David, Gittites, Hushai, Israelites, Ittai, Jonathan, Kerethites, Levites, Pelethites, Zadok
PlacesAram, Gath, Geshur, Giloh, Hebron, Jerusalem, Kidron, Mount of Olives
TopicsBehold, Delight, Delighted, Pleased, Pleasure, Ready, Says, Seemeth, Seems, Thus, Whatever
Outline1. Absalom, by fair speeches and courtesies, steals the hearts of Israel.
7. By pretense of a vow, he obtains leave to go to Hebron
10. He makes there a great conspiracy
13. David upon the news flees from Jerusalem
19. Ittai will leave him
24. Zadok and Abiathar are sent back with the ark
30. David and his company go up mount Olivet weeping,
31. He curses Ahithophel's counsel
32. Hushai is sent back with instructions
Dictionary of Bible Themes2 Samuel 15:25-29
LibraryA Loyal Vow
'And the king's servants said unto the king, Behold, thy servants are ready to do whatsoever my lord the king shall appoint.'--2 SAMUEL xv. 15. We stand here at the darkest hour of King David's life. Bowed down by the consciousness of his past sin, and recognising in the rebellion of his favourite son the divine chastisement, his early courage and buoyant daring seem to have ebbed from him wholly. He is forsaken by the mass of his subjects, he is preparing to abandon Jerusalem, and to flee as an …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture
Ittai of Gath
Pardoned Sin Punished
Loyal to the Core
The Will of God
A Light to Lighten the Gentiles
The Daily Walk with Others (iii. ).
And V the Kingdom Undivided and the Kingdom Divided
That Whereas the City of Jerusalem had Been Five Times Taken Formerly, this was the Second Time of Its Desolation. A Brief Account of Its History.
King of Kings and Lord of Lords
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