avid's submission to his afflictions.


2 Sam. XV. 30. ylnd David ivent vp bij the ascent of Mount

OLiiiet^ and wept os he went 7/p, and had his head corered ;

and he went barefoot : and all the people that was with him

covered every man his head ; and they went np, weeping as

they went up.
A consciousness of ill-desert has a tendency to

reconcile us to the afflictions with which our sins are

visited. In some respect indeed it embitters our

trials, which the testimony of a good conscience

would alleviate : but in other respects it has a good

effect, in that it silences every mumiur against the

dispensations of a righteous Providence. The

troubles which David had experienced in his family

as the punishment of his own sins, had already been

great and manifold : but in the rebellion of Absalom

they were risen to their height : they were borne

however with a spirit of piety suited to his state,

and worthy of his high character.

Let us consider,

I. The circumstances in which he was placed —

These were most afflictive —

[He was now driven from his throne, banished from the

ordinances of religion, and in danger of immediate destruction.

ow considering him as a man, such adversity must be painful in

the extreme ; and still more when we recollect that he was a

k'ms, and therefore susceptible of pain in proportion to the de-

gradation which he suffered. But view him as a man of huma-

nity, and then how distressing must it be to see his country

involved in civil war, and to be himself on the eve of a bloody

engagement with thousands of his own subjects ! View him also

as a man of fnely, driven from the ordinances of religion, and

suffering under the rebukes of an offended God ; what can be

conceived more distressing than such a state as his ?]

But they derived ten-fold poignancy from the

source from whence they flowed — -

[The people that inflicted these wounds were his own suh-

jects. Had he been attacked by foreign enemies, he would have

gone forth against them with "alacrity : but to be constrained to

fight with those over whom he had reigned so many years, in

whose defence he had so often exposed his own life, and for

whose benefit he had laboured all his days, this filled him with the

deepest grief*.

But amongst the insurgents was his own peculiar friend, from

whose counsel and assistance he might have derived the greatest

benefit. How keenly he felt this disappointment, we learn fiom

the lamentation he poured out on this memorable occasion'':

and who that has known the sweets of friendship must not sym-

pathize with him ?

» Ps. Iv. 1—8. with Zech. xiii. 6. " ib. ver. 12—14.

620 1 SAMUEL, XV. 30. [214.

But the bitterest ingredient in his cup was, that it was mixed

for him by his own son ; that son, whom he had so recently, and

so undeservedly received to favour, and in whose professions of

piety he had begun to rejoice*^. As the most exalted joys, so

also the acutest sorrows, flow from those who stand to us in the

relation of children : and in proportion as this worthless son was

beloved by him, was the anguish occasioned by his rebellious

conduct. The insulting language of 8hiniei was of no account

in the mind of David ; that he was willing to bear'^ : but to be

so treated by his beloved Absalom, was a grief almost insup-

portable*. And we doubt not but that every tender parent will

readily understand how greatly such a consideration must have

overwhelmed his mind.]

Let us next proceed to notice,

II. His conduct under those circumstances — ¦

Zadok and Abiathar had brought to him the ark,

judging that it must be a comfort and a benefit to

him to have access to God under his heavy trials.

But David ordered them to carry back the ark,

being himself prepared for every event, inasmuch

as he enjoyed in his own soul,

1 . A confidence in God's care —

[David well knew that God's presence was not confined to

the ark, nor his agency necessarily connected with it. He knew

that wherever his enemies might drive him, God's ear would be

open to his prayer, and his arm be extended for his relief.

Hence, though he honoured the ark as the symbol of God's pre-

sence, he did not confide in it : but trusted in God, who was

represented by it. He knew that, if God should be on his side,

the efforts of his enemies would be all in vain ; and that, how-

ever menacing their aspect at the present, he should in due time

be brought back again in safety.

Such is the confidence which God's people should maintain

under all the trials which they may be called to endure. " The

name of God is a strong tower to which they may run," and in

which they may defy their bitterest enemies. " If He be for

them, none can be against them ;" " nor can any weapon that is

formed against them prosper." It is the |)rivilege of every saint

to know, that his affairs are in God's hands ; and that as n<ithing

can be done but by the divine permission, so nothing sha/l be

done, which shall not work for his spiritual and eternal good.

The language of his soul therefore should at all times be,

'* The Lord is on my side ; I will not fear what flesh can do

unto me" ]

2. A sub-

« 2 Sam. XV. 7^g. ** 2 Sam. xvi. 3—1 1. * ver.. 30.

2. A submission to his will —

[What God might have ordained respecting him, David did

not know ; nor was he cvnious to incjuire : but, whatever might

be the issue of his present afflictions, he was contented and satis-

fied. Well he knew that he deserved all that God could lay upon

him ; and he was ready to say, " 1 will bear the iudia;nation of

the Lord, because I have sinned against him'." This is one

fruit of sin, if I may so speak ; or rather, of that humiliation

which accompanies true repentance : we become reconciled to

whatever God may do, seeing that any chastisement in this world

must be less than our iniquities have deserved. O that in the

prospect of the heaviest calamities we might have such a view of

our ill-desert, as should dispose us humbly to commit ourselves

into God's hands, and cordially to welcome every trial which his

all-wise providence may appoint for us ! Under every affliction,

our acquiescence should be like that of Eli, " It is the Lord, let

him do what seemeth him good."]

^ Mic. vii. 9.




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