Torchbearers for Christ
Friday, September 29, 2023
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King David’s family included two wicked sons who created major problems for their father. The first, Amnon, was a rapist, and his brother Absalom hated him and arranged for him to be murdered. For some years after this event Absalom did not see his father; but despite his son’s crime, David longed to see him again. Joab was a counsellor to King David. He noticed the king’s feelings and arranged for a wise woman from Tekoah to disguise herself and appeal to the King with a false story. Joab “put the words in her mouth” that she was to speak when appealing to the King for clemency for Absalom (2 Samuel 14:3 KJV).
The woman told the King the story that Joab had given her, appealing to him to “fetch home again his banished son” (2 Samuel 14:13). She then concluded her appeal with these profound words, “For we must needs die, and are as water spilt on the ground which cannot be gathered up again, neither does God respect any person: yet does He devise means that His banished be not expelled from him” (2 Samuel 14:14). The woman is saying, “Since the God you represent is so merciful, kind, welcoming and not willing that any should perish, surely it behoves you to welcome your son Absalom home to be with you.” King David accepted the woman’s appeal and instructed Joab to bring Absalom back to Jerusalem. The King added, “Let him turn to his own house and let him not see my face” (2 Samuel 14:24).
It is over 3,000 years since the wise woman from Tekoah presented her case to King David, and although she would not be aware of God’s plan to send His son into the world to bring the message of eternal salvation, her comments in 2 Samuel 14:14 are very relevant today. Let us consider each point in her appeal, concluding with the means that “God has devised that His banished be not expelled from Him.”
The lady begins her appeal with the inescapable fact, “For we must needs die.” This unwelcome situation, together with “the means that God has devised” to deal with it can be found in the New Testament. In Hebrews 9:27-28 (NIV) we read, “Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgement, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people, and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.” A further reference to the dreaded side of death and God’s “devised means” to relieve our fears is found in Hebrews 2:14-15 (NIV) where we read, “Since the children have flesh and blood, He too shared in their humanity so that by His death, He might destroy him who has the power of death – that is, the devil – and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” What comfort these promises give to those who have placed their trust in the Lord Jesus who told us, “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word, and believes Him who sent me, has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life” (John 5:24 NIV).
In her appeal to King David, the wise lady from Tekoa described our lives as “water spilt on the ground which cannot be gathered up again.” There are many things in life that are irretrievable and just cannot be changed. We have all made mistakes that we deeply regret, but once again God has “devised a means” to deal with our failings. He does not ask us to live with guilt for He tells us in Jeremiah 31:34 (NIV) “....for I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” This precious promise, as well as many other similar promises, assures us that once we have repented of our sins and put our trust in the Lord Jesus, God is not remembering our sins. Jesus bore all our sins in His own body on the true (1 Peter 2:24) and we can rejoice that we can be clean in His sight. God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. In His great kindness, God has provided all that is necessary for us to find the forgiveness of our sins, and all the help we need to live a joyful, fulfilling Christian life.
This article was written by Pastor Geoffrey Davies. He is a frequent contributor to this column. He lives in Melbourne, Australia, where he pastored a church for over twenty-five years.  Since 1983 he has traveled widely, continuing his ministry of encouragement and Bible teaching.