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June 12, Day 164 – The End Result of Bad Counsel

As the situation with David’s kingdom and Absalom’s rebellion progresses, we see here in 2 Samuel 16:15-18:18 that Hushai and Ahithophel – heretofore David’s friends and advisors – offer counsel to Absalom. Hushai thinks he should serve whoever has the power: “Whom should I serve? Should I not serve the son?” (verse 19). Absalom turns to Ahithophel and says, “Give us your advice” (verse 20). Ahithophel advises Absalom, “lie with your father’s concubines to make yourself a stench in your father’s nostrils” (verse 21). What kind of advice is that? It sounds like the thoughts and behaviors that many of our political contemporaries might offer and in which they might engage, but the only truth that comes from such counsel is that it is “a stench in our Father’s nostrils.” To his shame, Absalom follows this advice (verse 22). In successive verses, we see that Hushai and Ahithophel continue to give Absalom conflicting counsel – revealing that every counsel which is not from the Lord will not stand (cf., Psalm 1:1-3; 33:11-22). Based on the nature of Ahithophel’s advice alone, we see that Hushai’s counsel is more trustworthy. Hushai shows his loyalty to David when he tells Zadok, the priest, to advise David “not to spend the night at the fords in the desert” (verse 16). The two men advise David, and we see the soundness of Hushai’s advice – “no one was left who had not crossed the Jordan” (verse 22). As a result, Ahithophel realizes that his counsel is worthless; he goes home and, like Judas, "hangs himself” (verse 23). Coming to chapter 18, we read that “David mustered his men, appointed commanders over them, and sent his troops out” (verses 1-2). Loyal to David, his men convince him to manage the battle from the rear (verses 3-8), and David says, “Be gentle with Absalom” (verse 5). Here, we see that behind the scenes, God is working to accomplish His purposes, and He is using all these decisions and events to bring about His divine plan. Although David was a great king, he was not a great father. This rebellious situation did not develop overnight but through neglect over time, and in the end, it proved to be very costly in all the lost lives, time, and resources. Absalom’s sad end - hanging by his hair between heaven and earth - is very telling about the life he lived.

In Psalm 72 – of Solomon – we see a picture of Solomon’s kingdom which actually foreshadows the future kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. The verses in this Psalm describe life historically under Solomon, but they also point prophetically to life in Christ’s kingdom. “He will endure as long as the sun, as long as the moon, through all generations” (verse 5). “He will rule from sea to sea … to the ends of the earth … may His name endure forever … all nations will be blessed through Him … and they will call Him blessed. May the whole earth be filled with His glory” (verses 8-19). In the coming kingdom of our Lord, this is what we have to look forward to. Amen!

Today’s reading in Acts 7:20-43 contains the bulk of Stephen’s message to the Sanhedrin. Looking ahead, we know that, as a result of his preaching, Stephen was persecuted “furiously” by the Sanhedrin (verse 54). Here in Acts 7, Stephen’s message presents a mini history of Israel, and in our section for today, he focuses on the similarities of Christ with Moses. The Jews held (and still hold) Moses in the highest esteem, and Stephen is suggesting that, if Moses pointed so strongly to Jesus, they should have accepted Him as their Messiah and received His authority and ministry, for “One greater than Moses is here” (cf., Matthew 12:41-42). Instead of crucifying Him, they should have accepted Him. Stephen says, “our fathers refused to obey him. Instead, they rejected him, and in their hearts turned back to Egypt. They told Aaron, ‘Make us gods …’” (verse 39). As in Moses’ day, the Jews in Christ’s day rejected the Truth in favor of the idol of their way of thinking. This is why the Jews so strongly opposed and hated Stephen’s testimony. Tomorrow, we will read the end result which was not good for Stephen or the church.

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