Bad Advice

2 Samuel 19: 5 – 6

Then Joab came into the house to the king and said, “Today you have covered with shame the faces of all your servants, who today have saved your life and the lives of your sons and daughters, the lives of your wives, and the lives of your concubines, by loving those who hate you.”

Absalom was one of King David’s sons. Though David loved him Absalom plotted against David to take the throne of his father. He was successful in usurping his father so David fled from Jerusalem. Not satisfied though, and the recipient of bad advice, Absalom pursued David to kill him. Absalom was killed in the conflict and when news of his death was delivered to David, David wept bitterly. Some of David’s followers and specifically his general, Joab, were chagrined that David wept for their enemy. David was God’s friend though and the character of God had rubbed off on him. So, although Absalom had rebelled against him and plotted his overthrow, David still loved him.

In the margin of my Bible, next to this passage I have written, “See the advice of the world.” I was struck by how this Old Testament episode marks the problems we encounter today. The world tells us we should hate our enemies but David was a Kingdom man. He knew God and had learned to see through God’s eyes. David loved his son Absalom even though Absalom was not worthy of David’s love and devotion. That is how the Father of all treats us. Although we are unworthy, he loves us unquestioningly. In David’s grief he said, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you” (2 Samuel 18: 33). This is an exact representation of the Father’s love for us.

One thing I have discovered about the world’s advice is that it usually sounds good. It will always contradict with God’s view though. That is why, if we do not know the Father, we can easily be misled. Here is one rule, though, that we can always go by; that is the rule of love. If you are ever in doubt and one option is love then that is the way because God is love. His counsel will always bring you back to love. Every time! Where there is hate and anger you will not find God or His will. His way is grace and mercy. David understood this intrinsically and that is why he was called a friend of God.

Let this Old Testament event speak to your heart today. You have people who are against you and situations that are challenging but if you will seek the way of truth, life, grace, love, non-judgment and mercy you will find yourself the victor every time. This is God’s way. Don’t let the world view taint your perceptions. We are called to love those who hate us just as our father does.