David’s Darkest Hour

II Samuel 15-16

Alan Lewis
Elon, North Carolina
January 2022

What do you do on the worst day of your life?  What dio you do when your world falls completely apart?  What do you do when tragedy strikes?  What do you do when life is turned upside down?  What do you do when it seems like God has forsaken you?

What do you do when you face your darkest hour?  It is something that all of us can relate to at some time in our life.  People in the Bible faced the same thing we face.  Even Jesus faced his darkest hour while he was on earth.  Job had his darkest hour.  King David had his.  Of course, he also had many high points in his life.

High Points in David’s Life

The first high point in David’s life was when he was anointed to be king.  His brothers mocked and belittled him.   They teased him.  The Prophet Samuel anointed him king right in front of his entire family.   Talk about a boost to your self-esteem.

The second high point in David’s life was when he killed a huge giant.  The giant was so big and so strong that no one would even fight him.  Everyone who fought him was destroyed.  David was not even a grown man.

When everyone else was afraid to fight him, David took up the challenge and killed him.  He became an instant hero.    He became famous all throughout the country, even more famous than the king himself.  Songs were sung about him.

The third high point in David’s life was when he captured the city of Jerusalem, the city on a hill.  He brought the presence of God (the Ark of the Covenant) to the city.  After defeating an unbeatable opponent, he captured an unconquerable city.  No one before had been able to conquer it.

The fourth high point in David’s life was when he was given a special covenant. God promised David that the future Messiah would be one of his descendants and would one day sit on David’s throne.  He promised David a kingdom that was permanent and eternal, but life was not all good for David.  David had some very low points in his life.

Low Points in David’s Life

The first low point in David’s life was his years as an outlaw.  He spent fifteen years on the run, living in caves and hiding from a demon-possessed king who was trying to kill him.

The second low point in David’s life was when he lost his best friend in battle. Jonathon was David’s best friend.  They had a lot in common.  They were both men of faith.  They were both men of courage.  They were both godly men.  They were close.  When Jonathon died, David was devestated.

The third low point in David’s life was when he came home from battle one day and found everything gone.  All of the women and children were gone.  The city was on fire.  His home was destroyed.  (I Samuel 30).

The fourth low point in his life was when David committed sexual sin and tried to cover it up with an even worse crime (II Samuel 11).  David committed adultery and murder.  He does not repent for a whole year.

He had to be confronted by the Prophet Nathan.  Nathan was the same one who gave David good news about a special covenant.  Later, he has to confront and rebuke the king for his sin,

As bad as these were, the lowest point in David’s life came later.  The darkest days of David’s life took place when David was now an old man.  He was in his sixties when tragedy struck again.  In his darkest hour, he faced family problems.  He faced work problems.  He faced popularity problems.  He faced safety problems.

Today we want to look at his problems and how he responded to them.  What did David do and not do?  You might be a little surprised.

Problem One – Family Problems

In II Samuel, we see what David’s family problems were.  One of his sons was murdered.  One of his daughters was raped.  Another son plotted to overthrow him.  The first son who was murdered was heir to the throne.  The second son who tried to overthrow him also ends up dead.

David now has two kids dead, not counting the baby he had with Bathsheba, who also died.  His daughter Tamar was living but her life was basically over after what her brother did to her.  David had a completely broken family.  The man after God’s own heart had a completely messed up family.

Have you ever had family problems?  If you have ever had a family, you have had family problems but most of us have never suffered what David suffered.  Have you ever suffered the loss, not just of one child but two or three?  David did.

Problem Two – Work Problems

Have you ever had work problems?  If you ever had a job, you have had work problems.  We sometimes have problems with getting along with someone at work.  Some people can’t stand their job or are worried that they could be fired at any time.

King David faced a coup.  There was an attempt to overthrow his government.  There was a revolution taking place in the country.  He was worried that he might lose his job.  He might be taken off the throne.  He might be dethroned.  His son Absalom crowned himself king in Hebron, the same place where David was once crowned king.

Problem Three – Popularity Problems

David has lost his popularity.  He used to be popular.  Everyone used to love him.  Now, people mock David.  They curse him.  They throw rocks at the king of Israel and there is no consequence.  That is what Shimei did.  David becomes the rejected king.  He becomes the cursed king, prefiguring what would happen to the Son of David later.

Much of the military has left him. The people love Absalom.  People who worked for him have left him, his friends, and even some of the members of his own cabinet, have abandoned him.

Absalom ‘STOLE the hearts of the people of Israel’ (II Samuel 15:6 NIV) right away from his own father.  A messenger came and told David, “The hearts of the people of Israel are WITH ABSALOM” (II Samuel 15:13 NIV).

David was so unpopular that people were going to war (civil war) to get rid of him.  Have we ever experienced this kind of problem?  Have you ever lost friends, even close friends?  David did.  We will study that next week.

Problem Four – Safety Problems

Have you ever felt your life was in danger?  Have you ever had to run for safety because someone was chasing you?  Have you ever had to hide for your own protection?  David did not just face popularity problems.  He faced safety problems.

He not just down in the polls.  He had to flee the city.  In II Samuel 13, Absalom had to leave Jerusalem after he killed his brother.  He fled the country to live with his grandfather.  In II Samuel 15, the tables are turned and David was forced to leave the city.  It is nine years later, and now David is fleeing for his own safety.  Listen to David in his own words.

David said to all his officials who were with him in Jerusalem, “Come! We must flee, or NONE of us will escape from Absalom. We must leave IMMEIATELY or he will move QUICKLY to overtake us and bring ruin on us and put the city to the sword.” (II Samuel 15:14 NIV)

The king set out, with his entire household following him; but he left ten concubines to take care of the palace. 17 So the king set out, with all the people following him, and they halted at the edge of the city (II Samuel 15:16-17 NIV)

The whole countryside wept aloud as all the people passed by. The king also crossed the Kidron Valley, and all the people moved on toward the wilderness. (II Samuel 15:23 NIV)

But David continued up the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went; his head was covered and he was barefoot. All the people with him covered their heads too and were weeping as they went up. (II Samuel 15:30 NIV)

Absalom and his troops arrive and take over the palace in Jerusalem.  He has to run for his life.  David has lost his home.  He has lost his job and he is worried about losing his life.  The king is barefoot.  His head is covered.  He is weeping.  It is a sad picture.

David’s friends turned against him.  The whole country turned against him.  His own family turned against him.  He is exiled.  He did NOT know what God was going to do.  He was God’s anointed, and he did not know what God was going to do.

It MAY BE that the Lord will look upon my misery and restore to me his covenant blessing instead of his curse today.” (II Samuel 16:12 NIV)

How to Respond to Tragedy

1) Don’t try to hide your emotions

If you read the Psalms, you see that David does not hide his emotions to God.  He pours out his heart to God.  We need to do the same thing.  We need to pour out our heart to God in prayer.  The Son of David did not hide his emotions either.  Jesus did not hide his emotions.  He wept at Lazarus’ tomb.

David does not hide his emotions.  He does not hide how he feels.  He does not pretend that things are great and put on a front.  He weeps for his son.  He leaves Jerusalem weeping.  His robe is torn.  He has dust on his head as a symbol of mourning.

But David continued up the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went; his head was covered and he was barefoot. All the people with him covered their heads too and were weeping as they went up. (II Samuel 15:30 NIV)

After Absalom is killed, we see David mourning.  He is sobbing.  He is waling.

The king was shaken. He went up to the room over the gateway and wept. As he went, he said: “O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you—O Absalom, my son, my son!” (II Samuel 18:33 NIV)

David loved his son, even though he was completely rotten.  David is weeping over a son who wanted to kill him.  David even says that he wishes that he died in his place.  The coming Messiah, the Son of David, died die for his enemies.  The Good Shepherd gave his life for the sheep.

2) Trust God when things are really bad

David was in a really bad situation.  It was sad.  It was humiliating.  It was scary.  He did not know what was going to happen.  David took action but he trusted God completely in the situation.  He accepted whatever God was going to do.

25 Then the king said to Zadok, “Take the ark of God back into the city. IF I find favor in the Lord’s eyes, he will bring me back and let me see it and his dwelling place again. 26 But IF he says, ‘I am NOTpleased with you,’ THEN I AM READY; LET HIM DO TO ME WHATEVER SEEMS GOOD TO HIM. (II Samuel 15:25-26 NIV)

Notice two things that David did NOT do.  These are things that many do today.

First, David did not blame God for his problems

When life falls apart, many people blame God.  They are mad at God.  That is a common reaction.  “God, why did you allow this to happen to me.  It is not fair.”  David does not have that reaction.  If anything, David blamed himself.  He knew that he was under divine discipline.  This was a consequence of his own sin.

When David committed adultery and murder, the Prophet Nathan said to him, “the sword will NEVER depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own” (II Samuel 12:10 NIV).

He also told him, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight. 12 You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.’” (II Samuel 12:11-12 NIV)

That was fulfilled in II Samuel 16.  Nathan said that someone was going to sleep with David’s own wives like he slept with Uriah’s wife, but he did not tell him that this person would be his own son Absalom.

God did not cause David’s problems.  He brought them on himself, but God did protect and provide for David in this situation.  He protected David.  He was not killed, and his side won in the civil war, even though the other side had far more troops.  God also supernaturally provided for David.

God not only provided for him.  He provided for him in the wilderness with not only food but a bed to sleep on.  We see that in II Samuel 16 and will see it next week in II Samuel 17.

Second, David did not try to force God to act

Many Christians try to do that today.  If you fast long enough, God will have to give you what you ask.  If you pray hard enough, if you have enough faith, you can get what you want.  Just decree and declare it.  Only, we do not see David doing that here.  He could have tried to do that, but he didn’t.

David was completely helpless but there was one thing he had.  He had the ark of the covenant.  The ark represented the presence of God.  He could have taken the ark with him into battle as a good luck charm.

The wicked priests in I Samuel 4 tried that to help them win a military battle.  It didn’t work.  The high priest left with David, but he sent him back into Jerusalem with the ark (II Samuel 15).

3) Don’t take your pain out on others

There is a saying that “hurt people hurt others.’  David does not do that.  He is in pain.  He is suffering but he does not lash out at other people and make them suffer.  He does not even retaliate against his enemies

In fact, when he left Jerusalem, a man came up cursing him, calling him all kinds of names, and throwing dirt on him.

As King David approached Bahurim, a man from the same clan as Saul’s family came out from there. His name was Shimei son of Gera, and he cursed as he came out. 6 He pelted David and all the king’s officials with stones, though all the troops and the special guard were on David’s right and left. 7 As he cursed, Shimei said, “Get out, get out, you murderer, you scoundrel! 8 The Lord has repaid you for all the blood you shed in the household of Saul, in whose place you have reigned. The Lord has given the kingdom into the hands of your son Absalom. You have come to ruin because you are a murderer!”

Was it true?  There was some truth to it.  David was a murderer.  He killed Uriah and some other people.  God did repay him for the blood he shed.  This was a consequence of his own actions, but God was NOT giving David’s knigdom into the hands of his son.

Furthermore, David was NOT the one who killed King Saul.  In fact, the opposite was true.  Saul tried to kill David.  When David had a chance to kill Saul several times, he refused to do it.  David did not kill Saul.  The Philistines did.

Joab’s brother Abishai was ready to kill Shimei on the spot.  He was a miltary man.  He said to David, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and cut off his head” (II Samuel 16:9 NIV)

That is what King Saul would have done.  David refused to do that.  He refused to do that even though much of what Shimei said was clearly wrong.  Why?  He knew that he was palrtially to blame.  He took responsibility annd he was broken.  Some people who go through tragedy because angry and defiant.  David was completely broken.

He said, “Maybe there is some truth to what he is saying.”  We should listen to the words of our worst critics.  We should listen to our enemies to see if there is any truth to what they say.  That is the mark of a humble man.

David did not try to make Shimei suffer and he did not want to make his own son siffer either.  Absalom was trying to kill him, but David said, “If you ever catch him, go easy on him.”

The king commanded Joab, Abishai and Ittai, “Be GENTLE with the young man Absalom for my sake.” And all the troops heard the king giving orders concerning Absalom to each of the commanders. (II Samuel 18:5 NIV)

4) Don’t try to do everything yourself

Some people are too proud to accept help from people.  David did not reject help from his friends.  Next week, we will look at who David’s real friends were and what they did to help him

In these chapters, we see true and false friends.  Which type of person are you? First, let’s look at David’s real friends.  Each one does something different to help David.  True friends help someone in need.  Next week, we will look at some of David’s friends and what they did to help him.

One Response to David’s Darkest Hour

  1. Michael Munga Mugwe says:

    I’ve really enjoyed this article. It’s profound, inspiring and empowering. You are blessed. I desire to read more.

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