by Jimmy Swaggart
Concerning the Ark, which was important beyond comprehension, the Scripture says:
“And lo Zadok also, and all the Levites were with him, bearing the Ark of the Covenant of God: and they set down the Ark of God: and Abiathar went up, until all the people had done passing out of the city.
“And the king said unto Zadok, Carry back the Ark of God into the city: if I shall find favor in the Eyes of the LORD, He will bring me again, and show me both it, and His Habitation:
“But if He thus say, I have no delight in you; behold, here am I, let Him do to me as seems good unto Him” (II Sam. 15:24-26).
There is some discussion about the phrase, “And Abiathar went up,” as given in the Twenty-fourth Verse. The Jewish scholars translate it, “Abiathar offered Burnt Offerings,” which is probably correct.
The Ark of the Covenant being moved would have required, we think, sacrifices. Years earlier, David had learned this lesson the hard way.
We’ve already addressed this earlier in this Volume but years before, when David was bringing the Ark into Jerusalem from its place of seclusion, where it had been for many years, we remember that he set it on a new cart, which was unscriptural. Uzzah was given the place and position of superintending the new cart (II Sam., Chpt. 6). Crossing a threshingfloor, the cart tilted, and Uzzah put out his hand to steady it and was stricken dead.
Consequently, the festivities stopped, and the Ark was taken to the house of Obed-Edom simply because David, at that stage, did not know what to do.
The Scripture says that he consulted with all of his mighty men about bringing the Ark into Jerusalem but never consulted the Word of the Lord as to how it was to be transported (I Chron. 13:1).
Upon consulting the Word of the Lord, he learned how the Ark was to be transported, which he should have known all the time. Then he retrieved it from the house of Obed-Edom, where it had been for three months. Incidentally, the Scripture says, “. . . the LORD blessed Obed-Edom, and all his household” (II Sam. 6:11).
All of that was said so that it may be understood, when the Ark was finally moved correctly from the house of Obed-Edom to Jerusalem, with this domicile probably being very near Jerusalem or even in the city limits, the Scripture says, “And it was so, that when they who bore the Ark of the LORD had gone six paces, he sacrificed oxen and fatlings” (II Sam. 6:13). Six paces were about 18 feet.
This means that every 18 feet they offered sacrifices. Of course, these sacrifices typified the Cross of Calvary.
Everything then was predicated on the Cross of Christ as everything now is predicated on the Cross of Christ. As we repeatedly state, the Lord Jesus Christ is the Source of all things from God, while the Cross is the Means by which these things are given to us, all superintended by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:2).
Considering all of this, undoubtedly, the Jewish scholars are correct when they speak of Abiathar offering sacrifices. The Ark of the Covenant must not be treated in any other fashion. It was all, as stated, predicated on the shed Blood of the Lamb.
DAVID’S THINKING . . .
David’s thinking, it seems, as evidenced by Verse 26, was, if God was with him, it wouldn’t make any difference whether the Ark of the Covenant was in his presence or not. If he deserved condemnation, and the Lord willed that the throne be taken from him or he be killed, he would not escape by carrying the Ark about with him.
The phrase, as used by David respecting Zadok the Priest, “Are you not a seer?”i> (II Sam. 15:27), is probably an unfortunate translation. It probably should have been translated, “Do you not see?”i> respecting David’s thinking concerning what the Lord wanted to do with him. In other words, as stated, the presence of the Ark would not decide that account. So, for it to be safe, it must be taken back to Jerusalem, which Zadok and Abiathar agreed to do and, in fact, did do.
The Scripture says:
“And David went up by the ascent of Mount Olivet, and wept as he went up, and had his head covered, and he went barefoot: and all the people who were with him covered every man his head, and they went up, weeping as they went up.
“And one told David, saying, Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom. And David said, O LORD, I pray You, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness” (II Sam. 15:30-31).
It had been about 10 years since David’s terrible sin with Bath-sheba and the murdering of her husband, Uriah. However, even though he had repented, and the Lord had accepted his Repentance, which is obvious, still, with the uprising of Absalom against him, and due to the fact that most of Israel had thrown in their lot with Absalom, David did not really know if the Lord might allow Absalom to take the throne. He should not have thought that, that is, if he did!
At least, the “sweet singer of Israel” knew that all of this was because of his sin, despite the fact that God had forgiven him. That’s the reason he “wept as he went up.” That’s the reason that he “covered his head.” That’s the reason that he “went barefoot.” He knew, despite Absalom’s evil heart, that he, David, was to blame.
Then, on top of all of that, the news was brought to him that “Ahithophel is among the conspirators.” David prays to God for the counsel of Ahithophel to be frustrated, and so it was!
It is believed that David wrote the Third Psalm at this juncture. Some claim that he did so while resting on the Mount of Olives, and others think it might have been at the fjords of the Jordan.
THE THIRD PSALM
I will copy it directly from THE EXPOSITOR’S STUDY BIBLE, both the Text and the notes.
“LORD, how are they increased who trouble Me! many are they who rise up against Me. (The Holy Spirit put these words into David’s mouth the morning after his flight from Jerusalem because of Absalom’s unnatural rebellion. David is seen here as a Type of the Messiah rejected by His Own People. Though surrounded by enemies, he slept in confidence upon the mountainside beneath Jehovah’s Sheltering Wing, and in the assurance of Faith declared that God would lift up his head and destroy his foes. So, even though many of these Psalms speak of David, they more so speak of our Greater David, the Lord Jesus Christ. In other words, David was a Type of Christ.)
“Many there be who say of My Soul, There is no help for Him in God. Selah. (As Israel said this of David, likewise, they said it of the Lord Jesus Christ [Mat. 27:43].)”
THE LORD OUR SHIELD
“But You, O LORD, are a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of my head (the latter phrase proclaims the fact that it is the Lord Who put David on the throne, and the Lord will keep him on the throne).
“I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and He heard me out of His Holy Hill. Selah. (David believed in prayer, and so should we!)
“I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me (even though in the midst of a terrible problem, with Absalom trying to kill him, David knew that the Lord was in control).
“I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, who have set themselves against me round about (the Lord, with one man who believes in Him, is a majority [Rom. 8:31]).
“Arise, O LORD; save me, O my God: for You have smitten all my enemies upon the cheek bone; You have broken the teeth of the ungodly (a euphemism or allegory portraying the Lord discomfiting our enemies; the idea is, if we are truly right with God, the enemies of the Lord are also our enemies!).
“Salvation belongs unto the LORD (He Alone can save): Your Blessing is upon Your People. Selah. (The Blessings surely aren’t on God’s enemies)” (Ps. 3:1-8).
All of this shows that the Presence of the Lord was with David. Consider the following:
Most of the people were with Absalom, but the Presence of the Lord was with David.
Ahithophel was with Absalom, but the Holy Spirit was with David.
Public opinion was with Absalom, but the Lord was with David.
Consequently, irrespective of circumstances and how things presently looked, David could not fail.
If God be for us, who can be against us?
Never give up on those who are anointed by the Lord!
THE FLESH AND THE SPIRIT
David now prayed, but it seems he was not yet ready to trust. Man’s poor confused heart is always ready in times of stress and danger “to do something.” Generally, that “something” is evil or foolish. We are ever trying to “help God.”
Through the Mercy of God, David’s “helping the Lord” seems to have been overlooked, with the Lord blessing him anyway. How so Graceful and Merciful the Lord is to us, at times, overruling our mistakes and failures due to our lack of trust. How Kind He is to us when we deserve the opposite.
The hearts of Israel judged Absalom to be more morally qualified to rule Israel than David, and it was because of David’s great sin; however, they judged wrongly. God had put away David’s sin, but the tragedy was that Israel had not. Therefore, in their spiritual ignorance, they took upon themselves a tyrant and threw out the Man of God. As well, thankfully, God overruled even the wicked intentions of unforgiving Israel.
What a Mighty and Gracious God we serve!
ZIBA AND HIS LIES
The Scripture says:
“And the king said, And where is your master’s son (Mephibosheth)? And Ziba said unto the king, Behold, he abides at Jerusalem: for he said, Today shall the House of Israel restore me the kingdom of my father.
“Then said the king to Ziba, Behold, you are all that pertains unto Mephibosheth. And Ziba said, I humbly beseech you that I may find grace in your sight, my lord, O king”(II Sam. 16:3-4).
II Samuel, Chapter 16 is freighted with deceit, lying, cursing, and ungodly counsel, which would, nevertheless, fulfill the Prophecy of the Lord.
Verses 1 through 4 of the Sixteenth Chapter of II Samuel reveal Mephibosheth’s servant Ziba lying and scheming to effect a gain of property. The Scripture says, “. . . the love of money is the root of all evil . . .” (I Tim. 6:10).
THE EXPOSITOR’S STUDY BIBLE says in conjunction with this:
“There is no conceivable evil that can happen to the sons and daughters of men, which may not spring from covetousness – the love of gold and wealth.”
During times of this nature, the entirety of Israel should have been on their faces before God. Instead, some, if not many, as Ziba, were trying to use these times for selfish purposes.
Ziba would seek to ingratiate himself with David, thereby, gaining favor. Sadly, David, at that time, acted with impetuosity instead of wisdom. He took Ziba’s words at face value, obviously believing them, when he should have given time to the situation and, thereby, had it investigated. He would have found that Ziba was lying, and that Mephibosheth had said no such thing, had done no such thing, and, in fact, had remained totally loyal to David.
Ziba’s lie was twofold. It was done to better himself, or so he thought, and it was done to hurt someone else, namely, in this case, Mephibosheth. In fact, most lies are in that capacity.
THE SIN OF LYING
The Commandment against lying, i.e., “bearing false witness,” is one of the prohibitive Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:16). Twice God is said to hate false witnesses (Prov. 6:19; Zech. 8:17). Jeremiah 5:2 condemns those who swear falsely, even though they say as “the Lord lives.” One should, as well, note the warning against taking the Lord’s Name in vain (Ex. 20:7).
It is said by some that the hardest thing for the new Christian to do is to quit lying. Due to the Fall, lying is a part of the psyche, i.e., “the soul and the spirit.” That’s, at least, one of the reasons there are more lawyers, it seems, than people. The truth is, the entire system of the world is built upon “the lie.” Almost all people are going to Hell simply because they believe a lie. Satan lied to Eve as it regards what the Lord had said to her, and the lie has characterized life and living from then until now.
To overcome the problem of lying, and, to be sure, it is a problem, and a bad one at that, the Believer must anchor his Faith exclusively in Christ and the Cross. Only then will and can the Holy Spirit rightly help the individual become what he or she should be. In fact, it is the Holy Spirit Alone Who can rid us of this terrible sin—and sin it is. He only requires of us that our Faith, as stated, be exclusively in Christ and the Cross (Rom. 6:1-14; 8:1-2, 11; I Cor. 1:17-18, 23; 2:2; Gal. 6:14; Col. 2:14-15).
If Ziba had known that his lie would be included in the Sacred Text and that untold millions would read it in the future, in other words, would know of his deceit and perfidiousness, perhaps he would have given more righteous thought to the situation.
As Believers, we should always tell the truth. If we are not fully aware as to what the truth actually is, we should do our best to answer as forthrightly as we can, whatever the question might be.
“And when king David came to Bahurim, behold, thence came out a man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera: he came forth, and cursed still as he came.
“And he cast stones at David, and at all the servants of king David: and all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left.
“And thus said Shimei when he cursed, Come out, come out, you bloody man, and you man of Belial” (II Sam. 16:5-7).
Shimei was lying! David had not shed any of the blood of the house of Saul. In effect, Shimei was accusing David of being the murderer of Saul; that was wholly untrue! However, David could not rescind it because he was, in fact, the murderer of Uriah.
David evidently suffered this as a part of the chastening of God for his sin with Bath-sheba. His answer to Abishai expressed a deep and humble resignation to the course of providence. Insults, such as this, are very difficult to endure, but not for David, as he fully recognized himself as under the Divine Hand of Chastening for his sin. For the balance of his life, he was mindful of this cursing by Shimei, but he was determined never to avenge it in his lifetime. He left the matter to the wisdom of Solomon, with it being one of the last things he mentioned in his dying hour (I Ki. 2:8-11).
THE ATTITUDE OF DAVID AT THIS TIME
Was David wise in not taking action at this time against Shimei?
Why did he do what he did?
Shimei’s crime was great. He was cursing (placing a curse, or attempting to do so) David, who was the king of Israel, and who was appointed by God as well as anointed by God. What he was doing was actually punishable by death. Had it been on any other occasion, he would have been executed on the spot. In fact, this man was a disciple of Satan.
There were two things that, no doubt, were primary in the mind of David at this time. They were:
1. THE AWFULNESS OF DAVID’S SIN
The first thing on David’s mind was the awfulness of his sin that he had committed against Bath-sheba and her husband Uriah. I think one could say that David had a far greater grasp of the malignity of his sin than most. Actually, the hurt of the modern church is that it does not understand the gravity of all sin, not just some sins.
The slightest sin, and we mean the slightest, whatever that might be, is enough to condemn an individual to Hell. God cannot abide sin in any form, shape, or fashion. To be sure, some sins are most definitely worse than others, and David’s sins had been about as bad as they could get.
All of this is the reason that we as Believers must ever have the constant Intercession of Christ on our behalf.
Concerning the Intercession of Christ, the Scripture says:
“Wherefore He (the Lord Jesus Christ) is able also to save them to the uttermost (proclaims the fact that Christ Alone has made the only true Atonement for sin; He did this at the Cross) who come unto God by Him (proclaims the only manner in which man can come to God), seeing He ever lives to make Intercession for them. (His very Presence by the Right Hand of the Father guarantees such, with nothing else having to be done [Heb. 1:3])” (Heb. 7:25).
HOW DOES THE LORD MAKE INTERCESSION FOR US?
The truth is, the Intercession has already been made, at least, for all who place their Faith and Trust in Christ and what He did for us at the Cross. The fact that God has accepted Him, which means that He accepted Christ’s Sacrifice of Himself, is proven by the fact that He is “. . . sat down on the Right Hand of the Majesty on High” (Heb. 1:3). His very Presence there settles it all.
Actually, if He had to do something else other than the Cross, this would mean that His Work was not a Finished Work. It was a Finished Work, and it has been accepted by God the Father in totality.
So, His very Position in the Presence of God the Father guarantees Intercession for all who come to Him.
The prayer of Intercession, as we may think of such, has already been prayed a long, long time ago. In fact, as previously stated, the Fifty-first Psalm is not only a prayer of David for forgiveness, but it is a prayer of the Son of David as well. He put Himself in our place, took our sins and their penalty upon Himself, and now pleads for Mercy, Grace, and Forgiveness on our behalf. As stated, this is a prayer that has already been prayed. In other words, when we ask for forgiveness, the Lord does not have to do anything else. Such is granted simply because the Sacrifice of Christ has already been accepted, and, as well, the prayer (51st Psalm) has already been prayed.
2. WALK SOFTLY BEFORE THE LORD
Speaking of Shimei, as we’ve already stated, the first thing on David’s mind, as it regarded his attitude toward this follower of Satan, was his consciousness of the terrible sins that he had committed. Even though forgiven, as a human being, he could not truly forget them, as would be obvious.
The second thing that David faced was the absolute necessity of the Lord being with him, especially at this time. This means that he could not afford to do anything that might be displeasing to the Lord, that is, if he was to survive.
He did not feel that he was in any position to execute judgment upon this man, even though he deserved judgment. He wasn’t sure if the Lord would be pleased with such or not. While he definitely wasn’t guilty of the crimes leveled against him by Shimei, still, he was guilty of murder. He had shed innocent blood as it regarded Uriah. So, even though he wasn’t guilty of the crimes claimed by Shimei, nevertheless, he was guilty.
Of course, knowing all of this and being ever mindful, not escaping its terrible accusation for even a moment, he felt he must walk softly before the Lord, not doing anything that might displease Jehovah.
Shimei’s denunciation of David as the murderer of Saul was unjust; but David could not resent it, for he was, as stated, the murderer of Uriah. So, he gave instructions to his men that Shimei was not to be executed. But yet, instructions regarding this man were some of the last given by David before his death. In fact, Solomon would execute Shimei because Shimei ignored what was demanded of him (I Ki. 2:8, 36-46).
“Amazing Grace how sweet the sound,
“That Saved a wretch like me,
“I once was lost, but now I’m found,
“I was blind, but now I see.”
(This message was derived from the book, “David”.)