The Return of the Banished
2 Samuel 14:14
For we must needs die, and are as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again; neither does God respect any person…

The arrow went straight to the mark. The play that was aroused had its current turned at once to Amnon, and Joab arose and fetched home the banished one from Geshur, and once again Absalom dwelt at home. For us who look back on the Old Testament scene through all the light and glory of the Cross of Christ these words have a blessed fulness of meaning. "Yet doth He devise means that His banished be not expelled from Him."

1. It may be that in the clearest and most literal sense of these words the appeal needs to be made as it was made to David. The wise women of Tekoah, they come into our midst to-day and take their places before some of us, and make the appeal that we fetch home the banished. You have been wronged and hurt, but you do yourself a greater wrong by nursing your bitterness. You have been vexed, ashamed, humiliated. True. Yet is it not time that bygones should be bygones? You cannot undo the mischief. There it is. But does not your perpetual thought and talk of it make it all a thousand times worse? Is it not better to let the dead bury the dead than to keep a dead past alive by thought and anger, and to give it such power to hurt and annoy? Remember that this hard and bitter spirit is agrievous sin. You undo your own prayers and choke the better life within you by this nursing of your wrath. How can you bow and ask God's forgiveness if you withhold your own forgiveness?' If this woman, with her stratagem, could prevail with the king, surely the Cross of Christ should prevail with us. Lift up your eyes to the Crucified. For His dear sake fling open wide the door of the heart, and let love flow forth as freely, as graciously as His love greeted us. Devise means. Be ingenious in finding out ways of love. We have but one life.

2. But further: Here is a blessed word for all of us. This is the story of all ages: a summary of the Gospel. Time began with the scene of the banished ones as they go forth from the Garden of Eden. Then comes the centre of all time, of all things — Christ and the Cross, the Cross whereon hangs the Saviour of the world, bringing us who are afar off nigh unto God by His blood. And far away we see the end of all time in the scene of the banished ones brought home; and the cry is heard, "Hallelujah! for the Tabernacle of God is with men." What means hath our God devised that His banished be not expelled? The gift of His Son, the great provisions of His grace in Jesus Christ, the appeal of love and wisdom and glory in Him, the thousand precious promises that speak to us from the Word, the prompting and influence of His Spirit, the force of holy example and teaching — all these are means of His devising for bringing us home to Himself. How ingenious is the love of God, how unwearied and skilful! How many devices have to be baffled, how many entreaties have to be resisted, if we will still persist in dwelling in the far country. Never any circumstance is there in the daily life, never any occasion, but the blessed Spirit seeks to turn to account for our home-coming. Think of these banished ones; let them pass before us. Like Absalom they dwelt of old time in the palace of the King. The happy freedom of the King's chamber was theirs; they sat at the King's table and saw the King's feast; they had the joy of a communion deep and constant, and easy was it for them to pass softly within the banqueting chamber, and rest in the peace of His love. What music filled the soul! They laughed at fear. All was deep peace and thankfulness that knew no want, and scarcely knew a desire beyond Himself. Alas! of how many, of how very many all this is true. They came up to the city from the country, from some little company of Christians, happy and devout, where glad service for Him filled all the days. But here the attachment was loosened. There was, perhaps, no welcome as the stranger came and went. Perhaps the country shyness as well as the city indifference had something to do with it. At any rate, it came about that old ways were forsaken; doubtful things were trifled with until they became almost necessities; doubtful companions were tolerated until they became friends and their ways had to be accepted. By a stratagem the pity of the king was roused, and Joab fetched home the banished, but for two whole years he dwelt in Jerusalem and saw not the face of the king. Oh l not so is it that our Father deals with us. Listen, let the heart take hold of it: "When he was yet a great way off his father saw him and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him." Nothing was enough to do; nothing was enough to give. That great love could not be satisfied.

(M. G. Pearse.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: For we must needs die, and are as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again; neither doth God respect any person: yet doth he devise means, that his banished be not expelled from him.

WEB: For we must die, and are as water split on the ground, which can't be gathered up again; neither does God take away life, but devises means, that he who is banished not be an outcast from him.

The Restoration of God's Banished Ones
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