Thursday, April 7, 2016

Taking the Bitter with the Sweet

O. T. #730  "Taking the Bitter with the Sweet" 
April 7,2016
2 Samuel 19
The king covered his face with his hands and kept on crying, "O Absalom! O Absalom, my son, my son!" 2 Samuel 19:4
So the king went out and took his seat at the town gate, and as the news spread throughout the town that he was there, everyone went to him. 2 Samuel 19:8


Ever felt like you were stabbed in the heart, whether it was with words or actions of another, situations or events, decisions or non-decisions? We have all been there one time or another, or are there now. Welcome to life. David had to take the bitter with the sweet, as we do. When the bad times come, do we find good hidden in them?

It was a bittersweet day when King David found out his son Absalom was dead. David was overcome with emotion, and reasonably so. Victory over the rebellion against King David's reign had come to an end, but it was at a high price for David. The reality was heartbreaking; grief continued. Perhaps David was not sure of Absalom's salvation, thus he did not say, like when his infant son died earlier, "I am going to him some day." Could he realize that he was a great king but failing father?
So the king continued to weep and mourn for Absalom.

Joab heard about this. What should have been a victorious day and day of rejoicing due to their enemy's defeat, was not at all that. The battle was won, so the army should have been rejoicing.

Then Joab rebukes David because he was so grieved about the death of his son who had become his enemy and who would have killed David given the opportunity. David loved his son. Joab was responsible for Absalom's death. David may not have ever comprehended just how his son died. (J.V. McGee)

David was a man after God's own heart and found no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezek. 33:11).

Although death is our destiny, it is not our finality. The grave does not hold victory over us believers. Jesus completely conquered death in victory, which was bittersweet for him. He provided victory over death when He rose from the grave. Now Christians, His followers, can be assured of victory over death-heaven. For where He is, there we will be also.
Do you have that assurance, sweet one?


Now back to Joab. The people heard about the king's deep grief for his son. The joy of that day's victory was turned into deep sadness. Quietly the troops returned to town that day as though they were ashamed and had deserted in battle. (Yet we do not read of Joab being ashamed of his stabbing Absalom to death.)

In verse 5 (NLT), Joab goes to the king and rebukes him saying:
  •  We saved your life and the lives of yours sons, your daughters, and your wives and concubines.
  • Yet you act like this, making us feel ashamed of ourselves.
  • You seem to love those who hate you and hate those who love you.
  • You made it clear today that your commanders and troops mean nothing to you.
  • It seems as if Absalom had lived and all of us had died, you would have been pleased.
  • Now go out there and congratulate your troops, for I swear by the LORD that if you don't go out, not a single one of them will remain here tonight.
  • Then you will be worse of than ever before.
Did David take this advice, accepting the bitter with the sweet? He needed to encourage his soldiers, though he was  down deep in grief. It was the gate where David would encourage his army, leaving the city to go to battle. The same gate where Absalom persuaded the Israelites to revolt and join him in taking over David's kingdom.
Well, after hearing all of that, what could David do but take his place at the town gate. As the news spread throughout the town of his being at the gate, everyone went to David. The public relations problem was solved. Although Joab's were  strong and blunt, they may have very well saved David his kingdom. (Several commentators shared this view.)
Can you hear the encouraging words from David's troops?

Solomon said there is a time to rejoice and a time to grieve. Which time are you living in now?
Can we give thanks for everything, in every situation? I am not saying it is easy. You may not be there yet, with a broken heart, but Jesus waits for you. Oh, how He loves you and me! His grace is sufficient for us. He can carry us through whatever valley we are going through. (I am speaking to me first.)


Take the bitter with the sweet.

Hold onto Jesus, for He is holding onto me.

Thank You Jesus for those battles and victories.

I am an overcomer with You Jesus!

Help me to take the bitter with the sweet.

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