Pray, Plan, Proceed

Here are the sermon notes from 9/29/13.

Introduction:  This message comes from the life of King David.  He was considered a great man of God, but he still had his share of problems.  One of the biggest problems that he faced was a rebellion against his leadership led by his own son, Absalom.

Absalom had spent years currying the favor of the nation.  When the time was right, he gathered his supporters together in an attempt to take over the kingdom.  David did not want to fight this battle at Jerusalem so he and his men planned to leave the city to Absalom.  That is where we pick up the story.

I.  Prayer: II Samuel 15:31-37

  Then someone told David, saying, “Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom.” And David said, “O Lord, I pray, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness!”

32 Now it happened when David had come to the top of the mountain, where he worshiped God—there was Hushai the Archite coming to meet him with his robe torn and dust on his head. 33 David said to him, “If you go on with me, then you will become a burden to me. 34 But if you return to the city, and say to Absalom, ‘I will be your servant, O king; as I was your father’s servant previously, so I will now also be your servant,’ then you may defeat the counsel of Ahithophel for me. 35 And do you not have Zadok and Abiathar the priests with you there? Therefore it will be that whatever you hear from the king’s house, you shall tell to Zadok and Abiathar the priests. 36 Indeed they have there with them their two sons, Ahimaaz, Zadok’s son, and Jonathan, Abiathar’s son; and by them you shall send me everything you hear.”

37 So Hushai, David’s friend, went into the city. And Absalom came into Jerusalem.

Ahithophel was a wise counselor.  When David heard that Ahithophel was with Absalom his first response was to pray that God would turn his counsel into foolishness.  After prayer, David came up with a desperate plan.  His friend and counselor, Hushai, would remain behind, pretend to defect, and act as a spy for David.

II.  Confrontation:  II Samuel 16:15-19

Meanwhile Absalom and all the people, the men of Israel, came to Jerusalem; and Ahithophel was with him. 16 And so it was, when Hushai the Archite, David’s friend, came to Absalom, that Hushai said to Absalom, “Long live the king! Long live the king!”

17 So Absalom said to Hushai, “Is this your loyalty to your friend? Why did you not go with your friend?”

18 And Hushai said to Absalom, “No, but whom the Lord and this people and all the men of Israel choose, his I will be, and with him I will remain. 19 Furthermore, whom should I serve? Should I not serve in the presence of his son? As I have served in your father’s presence, so will I be in your presence.”

When Absalom came into the city, Hushai went to see him.  This was a very dangerous part of the plan because Absalom did not have to believe the story.  Hushai could have been arrested, or killed on the spot.  However, God blessed the plan, and it succeeded.  Absalom believed the story.

III.  Counsel:  II Samuel 17:5-14

Then Absalom said, “Now call Hushai the Archite also, and let us hear what he says too.” And when Hushai came to Absalom, Absalom spoke to him, saying, “Ahithophel has spoken in this manner. Shall we do as he says? If not, speak up.”

So Hushai said to Absalom: “The advice that Ahithophel has given is not good at this time. For,” said Hushai, “you know your father and his men, that they are mighty men, and they are enraged in their minds, like a bear robbed of her cubs in the field; and your father is a man of war, and will not camp with the people. Surely by now he is hidden in some pit, or in some other place. And it will be, when some of them are overthrown at the first, that whoever hears it will say, ‘There is a slaughter among the people who follow Absalom.’ 10 And even he who is valiant, whose heart is like the heart of a lion, will melt completely. For all Israel knows that your father is a mighty man, and those who are with him are valiant men. 11 Therefore I advise that all Israel be fully gathered to you, from Dan to Beersheba, like the sand that is by the sea for multitude, and that you go to battle in person. 12 So we will come upon him in some place where he may be found, and we will fall on him as the dew falls on the ground. And of him and all the men who are with him there shall not be left so much as one. 13 Moreover, if he has withdrawn into a city, then all Israel shall bring ropes to that city; and we will pull it into the river, until there is not one small stone found there.”

14 So Absalom and all the men of Israel said, “The advice of Hushai the Archite is better than the advice of Ahithophel.” For the Lord had purposed to defeat the good advice of Ahithophel, to the intent that the Lord might bring disaster on Absalom.

Ahithophel had advised Absalom to send men immediately in pursuit of the king.  He believed that the men were probably tired, and disorganized, that they would flee if attacked, and the king could be killed.  It was sound advice.

Hushai also recognized the wisdom of the advice, but he presented a different course of action.  He played on Absalom’s respect for his father and his mighty men.  Absalom had grown up hearing of the exploits of these men and Hushai played on that knowledge to present a different plan.  This plan sounded good, but it would allow David and his men an opportunity to get away and get organized.

Absalom followed the advice of Hushai and it led to his demise.

When we are faced with a problem.  The first response should be to pray.  God can then give us a plan that we should proceed to follow.  If God is with us, who can be against us?  If God directs our steps, we surely shall succeed.

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