July 9, 2023
“Just then the Cushite came and said, ‘May my lord the king hear the good news: today the Lord has delivered you from all those rising up against you!’ The king asked the Cushite...”
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“Just then the Cushite came and said, ‘May my lord the king hear the good news: today the Lord has delivered you from all those rising up against you!’ The king asked the Cushite, ‘Is the young man Absalom alright?’ The Cushite replied, ‘May what has become of the young man happen to the enemies of my lord the king and to all who rise up against you with evil intent.’ The king was deeply moved and went up to the gate chamber and wept. As he walked, he cried, ‘My son Absalom! My son Absalom! If I had died instead of you, Absalom, my son, my son!’” 2 Samuel 18:31-33 (HCSB)
As we read through these passages, notice how nobly many of the Gentiles act, as opposed to the moral compromise that seems to rule the Israelite characters. It is evident throughout the Torah and Tanakh (aka Old Testament) that God is pleased to honor anyone who wholeheartedly follows Him, regardless of ethnicity.
Notice how the Cushite gives honor to the Lord for David’s deliverance. He has seen something in David’s leadership and has learned something about David’s God in the process of serving the king. I find it interesting that the Cushite tells the whole truth, whereas Ahimaaz simply wanted to be considered well in David’s eyes. In today’s passage, we learn that significant truths sometimes come from a secondary character. Finally, David learns the truth: Deliverance for David involves disaster for Absolam!
In this news, we get our most valuable lesson: If the Kingdom of God under God’s chosen king is to be saved, then the enemy who assaults the kingdom must be destroyed.
God offers no secure salvation to His “Bride” unless He brings decisive judgment on her enemies. We must stop praying, “Deliver us from evil,” unless we yearn for evil’s destruction. Otherwise, we are like a patient ready to undergo cancer surgery, who pleads with his doctor, “deal gently with my cancer,” or urges the surgeon, “get most of it, but leave a little, because cancer and I have a deep relationship.”
You see, David and Absalom are also metaphors for the warring relationship between our “new life” as believers and our carnal flesh. Often, we become unjustly sentimental over our sin. We say to God, “Take all of me, but not that!” Most of the tension within the church today seems to be over the spiritual conflict between those who are determined to be in the World (and somewhat sentimentally “of” it) and those who choose to be in the World yet are actively driving out Worldliness in their lives.
The visible evidence between the two is much like the difference between Ahimaaz and the Cushite: In their testimonies. The former only shares half of the gospel (love/acceptance) so as not to offend, while the latter lays out the whole truth as it is.
There will always be those who cannot understand why there cannot be ecumenicity between Believers and the World: literally, between Christ and Antichrist. But God’s people know David was wrong to pine after Absalom and that the Cushite was right. Preserving God’s Kingdom involves permanently removing its enemies in our lives.