2 Samuel 17:15-29 (Part 1) – Serving the Lord Whether You Get A Headline or Not!

Posted: July 16, 2018 in 10-2 Samuel
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2 Samuel 17:15-29 (Part 1 of 3)
David Escapes Through the Wilderness

This passage at a surface level reading is simply historical and genealogical and seemingly does not provide you with some great nugget from God that you can apply to your life. However, when you really think through this passage to see what’s there. There are several things that I have picked out that are worthy of a blog. There are three things that I picked out of this passage that are worthy of discussion. First, there is the fact that there are several people in this passage, mentioned nowhere that I can think of in the Bible, that helped David in his time of need. These are some of the unsung heroes of the Bible. Second, one of these unsung heroes must deceive Absalom’s soldiers so as to protect David’s messengers. That raises the question in my mind of “is it OK for God’s people to deceive when faced with evil?” or, maybe the question is better put as “Is it OK for God’s people to lie to save a life?” Finally, there is Ahithophel. He commits suicide after having put his affairs in order. What does all that mean? These last two questions deal with some pretty heavy ethical issues and we will save those for the next two blogs.

For today, though, let us look at the unsung heroes in this story. There is an unnamed man and an unnamed woman in this story that hid the messengers to David. And then at the end of the passage, there are three men who showed David hospitality. There is Shobi, Makir and Barzillai. These five people, two of which are unnamed, are nowhere else mentioned in the Bible. They are background characters. However, without them, Absalom’s soldiers would have captured David’s messengers. David would have stayed near the Jordan River without crossing it. As a result, Absalom with the might of the entire Israelite army would have easily defeated David’s small brigade of warriors. However, by God’s providence, the unnamed husband and wife hide the messengers, David and his entourage cross the Jordan, and make it to the village where Shobi, Makir and Barzillai live. There, they are given food and supplies and rest. With the kindness shown by Shobi, Makir and Barzillai, David and his men found support and confidence that their fight was worth fighting. Not only were their supplies replenish, their bodies refreshed through food and peaceful sleep, their souls were uplifted by finding the kindness they found. This kindness made them realize that there was still support for King David in Israel, not all had been deceived by Absalom’s good looks and charm, and that hope was not lost. They were able to fight on because of this moment of kindness when they were in great need. This fact was not lost on the author of 2 Samuel. These background players in this grander play of David’s life receive special mention. They were crucial in the sense that they aided David in a critical time in his life.

That is the thing I thought about today. I thought about how these people, especially the two unnamed individuals showed kindness to David and his people when they needed it the most. It reminds me of the ministries at my church that report to me – collectively known as Guest Services. Let’s read the passage now and think about these background players and how it relates to modern day service to our churches. Let’s read the passage now:

15 Hushai told Zadok and Abiathar, the priests, what Ahithophel had said to Absalom and the elders of Israel and what he himself had advised instead. 16 “Quick!” he told them. “Find David and urge him not to stay at the shallows of the Jordan River[a] tonight. He must go across at once into the wilderness beyond. Otherwise he will die and his entire army with him.”

17 Jonathan and Ahimaaz had been staying at En-rogel so as not to be seen entering and leaving the city. Arrangements had been made for a servant girl to bring them the message they were to take to King David. 18 But a boy spotted them at En-rogel, and he told Absalom about it. So they quickly escaped to Bahurim, where a man hid them down inside a well in his courtyard. 19 The man’s wife put a cloth over the top of the well and scattered grain on it to dry in the sun; so no one suspected they were there.

20 When Absalom’s men arrived, they asked her, “Have you seen Ahimaaz and Jonathan?”

The woman replied, “They were here, but they crossed over the brook.” Absalom’s men looked for them without success and returned to Jerusalem.

21 Then the two men crawled out of the well and hurried on to King David. “Quick!” they told him, “cross the Jordan tonight!” And they told him how Ahithophel had advised that he be captured and killed. 22 So David and all the people with him went across the Jordan River during the night, and they were all on the other bank before dawn.

23 When Ahithophel realized that his advice had not been followed, he saddled his donkey, went to his hometown, set his affairs in order, and hanged himself. He died there and was buried in the family tomb.

24 David soon arrived at Mahanaim. By now, Absalom had mobilized the entire army of Israel and was leading his troops across the Jordan River. 25 Absalom had appointed Amasa as commander of his army, replacing Joab, who had been commander under David. (Amasa was Joab’s cousin. His father was Jether,[b] an Ishmaelite.[c] His mother, Abigail daughter of Nahash, was the sister of Joab’s mother, Zeruiah.) 26 Absalom and the Israelite army set up camp in the land of Gilead.

27 When David arrived at Mahanaim, he was warmly greeted by Shobi son of Nahash, who came from Rabbah of the Ammonites, and by Makir son of Ammiel from Lo-debar, and by Barzillai of Gilead from Rogelim. 28 They brought sleeping mats, cooking pots, serving bowls, wheat and barley, flour and roasted grain, beans, lentils, 29 honey, butter, sheep, goats, and cheese for David and those who were with him. For they said, “You must all be very hungry and tired and thirsty after your long march through the wilderness.”

In this passage, we see these unnamed and minor characters in the grand play that is David’s life in the Old Testament give aid to David in multiple ways. I am sure that the three men that were named were not thinking at the time that they would get their names in the Bible. I am sure that the unnamed husband and wife did not think at the time they were helping the managers as to whether they were going to get a mention in the Old Testament. They gave of themselves because they saw it as a way to honor the God they believed in. They saw people in need and they helped. They did this to honor God by keeping his commands to assist those in need.

In our guest services ministries at Calvary Church, we have several teams. There is the usher team. There is the greeters team. There is the security team. There is the parking team. There is the medical team. There is the offering collections team. There is the connections center team. These are the background teams of the church on Sunday morning. They do not get the limelight of the senior pastor who is the most recognizable face at our church and rightfully so – he is the senior shepherd of our church who is gifted pastor and preacher. They do not get the limelight of our worship pastor and his team. Our worship pastor is such a perceptive and gifted musician and worship leader. He just seems to know when to extend songs, when to move to voices only, when to slow a song down and when to speed it up. He is the second most recognizable face in our church. His team, too, is recognizable as they are the stage musicians, lead singers and backup singers. They do not get the limelight of the family pastor who leads the family ministries from babies to children up to the high school/college age crowd. He is talented with ways to reach children and youth with the gospel message with innovative ways tailored to the “born with a phone in their hand” generations. His team of volunteers are known throughout the families of our church because they interact with the children of the adults of our church.

The guest services teams are less in the limelight than any of these teams. They are the people that hold the door open for you when you come to the church and tell you hello. They are the people that take up the collection and ensure its security each Sunday. They are the ones who manage the connection center and help people find out more about our church. They are the ones who provide a safe and secure environment for you and your kids as you worship on Sunday – the ones that protect us and hope we never have to rely on their skills in an emergency situation. They are the ones that deal with medical issues when and if they arise. They are the unsung heroes of Sunday morning. They do not serve because they want people to remember their name or whether they are seen doing what they do. They do what they do because they love the Lord and love our church. They don’t care if they get a mention on Sunday mornings from the stage. They simply want to make sure those who worship with us on Sunday – members and guests alike – have the most uplifting experience possible. I love these guys and gals. I am their biggest fan. They are the people who do the necessary nuts and bolts work of a Sunday morning service. They are true servants for they simply serve – to serve the Lord.

It is gratifying to see people doing God’s work because they have a servant’s heart. It is gratifying to see people love on the people that come through our doors because that’s just what Christians do. It is part of our DNA, or it should be, to love people to life even when we are not going to get a headline for it. We are to give to the Lord of our time, talent, and resources not because it gives us a checkbox to check. We serve because we are so grateful for what God has done in our lives through our salvation and sanctification that we cannot help but serve Him in whatever way possible. We give of ourselves humbly in service to the Lord without expectation of notoriety because we see it as an act of thanksgiving to a merciful God. That is why we serve – whether it be on stage, or in the kids or youth ministries and in the unsung ministries such as guest services – to go humbly before the Lord and thank Him for what He has done for us by our service to others. We can’t help it. We just thank the Lord for saving us so we serve Him no matter if it gets us a mention in the Bible or not. We just love the Lord so we serve.

Amen and Amen.

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