Yesterday we looked at a teachable moment for David and today I just want to keep looking at 2nd Samuel Chapter 18 because there are a number points that just helpful in life. Look at verse 6 and following: 6 Then the people went out into the field against Israel, and the battle took place in the forest of Ephraim. 7 The people of Israel were defeated there before the servants of David, and the slaughter there that day was great, 20,000 men. 8 For the battle there was spread over the whole countryside, and the forest devoured more people that day than the sword devoured.
We see that the battle has spread out across the whole area and many are dying and they were from Israel’s army. We see some are dying from the sword and even more died because of the dense forest. You see, God did not have to use the swords of David’s men to bring about victory – all he needed was the branches of trees.
Look at this is starting in verse 9: 9 Now Absalom happened to meet the servants of David. For Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great oak. And his head caught fast in the oak, so he was left hanging between heaven and earth, while the mule that was under him kept going. 10 When a certain man saw it, he told Joab and said, “Behold, I saw Absalom hanging in an oak.” 11 Then Joab said to the man who had told him, “Now behold, you saw him! Why then did you not strike him there to the ground? And I would have given you ten pieces of silver and a belt.” 12 The man said to Joab, “Even if I should receive a thousand pieces of silver in my hand, I would not put out my hand against the king’s son; for in our hearing the king charged you and Abishai and Ittai, saying, ‘Protect for me the young man Absalom!’ 13 Otherwise, if I had dealt treacherously against his life (and there is nothing hidden from the king), then you yourself would have stood aloof.” 14 Then Joab said, “I will not waste time here with you.” So he took three spears in his hand and thrust them through the heart of Absalom while he was yet alive in the midst of the oak. 15 And ten young men who carried Joab’s armor gathered around and struck Absalom and killed him.
Now interestingly there are translations that tell us that it just was not the head of Absalom that got caught in the tree branches but it was his thick head of hair that got caught in a branch as his mule went under the tree and the mule kept going and Absalom hang there by his hair. There is irony in this because his hair was a source of pride – 2 Samuel 14:25-26 says: 25 Now in all Israel was no one as handsome as Absalom, so highly praised; from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head there was no defect in him. 26 When he cut the hair of his head (and it was at the end of every year that he cut it, for it was heavy on him so he cut it), he weighed the hair of his head at 200 shekels by the king’s weight. A quick lesson in this is this: His hair was his prideful area and so for us, we need to learn that our areas of pride could bring us death and many times they do! What is that area of pride that you have? Become teachable and rid yourself of that pride.
The soldier who came across Absalom hanging there did not dare to touch him although it looks like Joab might have offered a reward to the one who killed Absalom. He most likely did not touch him because he remembered or has heard the stories of how David has killed those who killed ones like Saul and Ishbosheth who David did not want to die. So you have Joab the commander come and ignore the directive of David to go easy on Absalom and gets three spears and sticks him with them. Absalom has done some pretty horrible things in his life and now is getting paid back with a pretty horrible death. After he gets stuck with the three spears he then has ten young men come up and stick him with swords and kill him. Imagine the pain of hanging by your hair, then being speared, and then being stuck with ten swords – a horrible death!
This is a case with Absalom of sowing and reaping. He has sown death and destruction throughout his life and now he will reap death and destruction. A principle we always needed to be reminded of is sowing and reaping – what are you sowing in words and in actions? You will reap what you sow! The teachable person learns this lesson and lives it out in positive ways, they reap the positive.
What is a positive thing that you have reaped in your life? Have you ever had really long hair and got it caught in something?