last strand of rope May 8 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): 2Samuel 24; 1Chronicles 21; Psalm 6; Psalm 38; Psalm 41; 2Samuel 15:7-36

Weakness and Betrayal

Who gives you strength when the rope of your life is weak and about to break? This month we celebrate Mother’s Day, and next month we celebrate Father’s Day. While most of us honor our parents, it is sad that some adult children do not but take advantage of their weaknesses. As Christian parents get older, when their faith should be the strongest, sometimes they get sick or lose their confidence in God and do some foolish things for their own security or peace of mind. And who should be there to take advantage of their weakness but their own children! For instance, a person may convince his parent(s) to give him power of attorney and then steal from his accounts. What should parents do when their adult children no longer respect them and even betray them? In today's Bible reading David faces this with his son Absalom. What does David do? What he does may help us when we are vulnerable.

Apparently, late in David's reign the rest of the prophecies regarding the consequences of David's sin begin to affect him (2Samuel 12:10-12). As the king grows older, he makes a slip in his confidence toward God. The LORD allows Satan to tempt him (more…). Instead of trusting God, David orders his forces to be counted to determine his military strength. He finds to his shame that this census was unnecessary; God is still protecting him, for at least 1.1 million Israelite soldiers are ready to take up arms in Israel's defense (more…). David’s conscience is immediately struck that he is depending on numbers and not on God. He already knows the LORD can save by many or by few (1Samuel 14:6).

As Israel’s representative, to show a lack of faith in God is a serious thing. As a result of David's sin, God gives him three dire choices for judgment. David chooses to be placed in the LORD's merciful hands rather than be defeated by his enemies. So, God sends a plague on the people, killing 70,000 of his men by the sword of the LORD through an angel. This probably makes some of the people lose confidence in David's leadership. It is probably at this time of weakness that Absalom seizes the opportunity to overthrow his father and reign on his throne. Absalom wins the hearts of the people of Israel by his flatteries and then stages a coup to get rid of his father David.

When King David learns that Absalom has stolen the hearts of Israel and perceives a forthcoming attack on Jerusalem, he takes his officials and most of the inhabitants of Jerusalem and leaves the city. He does this, not because he fears military conflict, but to spare the city from civil war, and the city and the tabernacle from destruction. In addition to these reasons, David does not want to fight his own son. This is an act of love and wisdom, not cowardice. Just like David, in difficult situations and sometimes with great personal sacrifice, mothers and fathers do things out of love just to keep the peace and keep civil war from breaking out in the family.

There are parallels between David’s rejection and departure and that of Christ’s.

David is enthroned in Jerusalem. Christ comes riding on a donkey into Jerusalem and is heralded as king. (Matthew 21:4-9).
David leaves Jerusalem in disgrace. He is mocked, bruised by stones, and spat upon. Christ is mocked, bruised and spat upon.
Wicked Absalom betrays his father and attempts to take David's throne. Satan uses Judas Iscariot to betray Jesus and then he attempts to take Christ's rulership by influencing others to crucify him.
David flees to the Mount of Olives and is in great anguish and tears Jesus goes to the Mount of Olives with his disciples and suffers great anguish and tears in the nearby Garden of Gethsemane
David almost dies Jesus Christ is crucified
Absalom is killed. Satan will be cast into the lake of fire.
David's kingdom is restored. Christ will come back to this earth to rule and reign.


If David and Christ could endure mocking and abuse, shouldn't we? By this, we are not encouraging elder abuse but being willing to suffer so others might be saved.

If we can learn from David's example, what should we do with an unkind, adult son or daughter who shows disrespect and dishonor? Should we teach them a lesson? Should we argue or scream at them? No. This lesson suggests we endure hardship, walk in humility and obedience to God and trust him (Psalm 4:3-5; Psalm 37:3-8; Psalm 43:5). By saying these things, again we do not suggest that physical or mental elderly abuse should be endured. If possible, criminal offenses should be reported to the police, as God has established government institutions to punish wrongdoers (Romans 13:4). In other situations that are not abusive but unkind and disrespectful, however, we should pray and trust God to help us.

As David receives support when he leaves Jerusalem, we can also praise God for others who stand with us, and we can praise him for his presence with us in difficult situations. Do we have a personal relationship with God so he might help us in times of distress? We can call on him to save us today (more...)

Lessons to Live By

  • Let's beware of our weaknesses and not allow Satan to tempt us to sin.
  • We should honor our parents and not take advantage of them.
  • From David's example, what should we do with an unkind adult son or daughter who shows disrespect and dishonor? We should endure hardship, walk in humility, walk in obedience to God, pray and trust him.
  • God can give us strength when we are weak and frayed or betrayed. We can place our confidence in him.

Focus Verse

Psalm 43:5 (NIV) “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”

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A Look Ahead: David flees from Absalom and after awhile wonders if he has been forgotten by God. If we have been similar situations, we can draw courage from our Next Lesson that we are Not Forgotten.

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