POW*MIA symbol May 9 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): Psalms 3, 4, 11, 23, 26, 12, 36, 2Samuel 16:1-14

You are Not Forgotten

If a person has lived in America even a short while, he has seen a black flag flown with an emblem of a bowed head silhouetted on a white background. It stands for those who are missing in action (MIA). They were missing while serving in active duty during military maneuvers. Their fate is still unknown. The flags are flown so we may never forget them. “Leave no man behind” is the motto of America's armed forces. There are continual searches being carried on for those left behind, even if they are presumed dead. We want the families of those servicemen and our nation to know we have not forgotten them.

Enduring persecution is never easy; it is exhausting. Being mocked, living in fear of attack, high stress, confusion, hopelessness and despair are all things experienced by people who are sore afflicted. When King David flees from his son Absalom, he is not an MIA and most likely neither are we, but if we are enduring persecution we may be wondering if we are forgotten. Christians are never forgotten by God.

In today's Bible reading King David leaves Jerusalem in disgrace and shame. He is experiencing the results of his sin with Bathsheba and his murdering of her husband. As Nathan prophesied, David and Bathsheba’s baby dies. Then, David's daughter, Tamar, is raped by his eldest son Amnon. Absalom, one of the other sons of David by a different wife, kills Amnon in revenge for his sister. Absalom then flees in fear, exiling himself for three years in Geshur before he is allowed to come back to Jerusalem.

When David is weak (see yesterday's lesson), Absalom stages a coup to unseat him and crown himself as king. David leaves the palace to protect the people from a civil war, leaving his concubines (secondary wives) to help take care of the palace. He leaves the tabernacle in Jerusalem, confident that if God is pleased with him, the LORD will soon bring him back.

David leaves in shame, and some think he is a coward. “Flee as a bird to your mountain” they taunt, but David takes refuge in the LORD (Psalm 11:1, NIV). When he leaves he is mocked (Psalm 3:2), and he and his troops are pelted with stones by a Benjamite still loyal to the household of Saul (2Samuel 16:5-13).

How does the king handle persecution? Is his head bowed in despair? Is he angry? Many of us have been unjustly removed from our positions in business or church or even in our homes. How do we react?

We do not know the exact order of the Psalms written about that time, but it appears King David exits Jerusalem with confidence that he will be vindicated and quickly returned. He expresses hope that God will protect him and return him to his throne. He proclaims, “But you are a shield around me, O LORD; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head” (Psalm 3:3, NIV). The king is so confident in God that he declares,“I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8, NIV). He also writes, “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want [not lacking anything needed]” (Psalm 23:1, NIV). David believes God will lead, guide, protect, and make it possible for him to return to the LORD’s tabernacle to worship him (23:1-6). He is confident, “My feet stand on level ground; in the great assembly I will praise the LORD” (Psalm 26:12, NIV). In other words, early on in his exile King David is not stumbling in his faith towards God, and he openly shares his faith with others.

When our persecution begins, do we say and do the same as David? Let's begin right with our confidence in God and not in others or in ourselves. Unless we have an established relationship with God, however, we will soon stumble when the stresses of persecution come. The LORD can help us stand on level ground if we will trust him (more...).

Persecution, however, is no bed of roses, especially if it comes from the betrayal of a son, such as Absalom or a daughter. Many people express pain and anguish when they experience it. David is no different. Many of his Psalms are written in reference to this dark time in his life. Yet, to whom does he make his complaints and petitions for help? David prays to God.

Arise, O LORD! Deliver me, O my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked. From the LORD comes deliverance. May your blessing be on your people (Psalm 3:7,8, NIV).

Indeed, God does bless and supply for David, his troops, and all the people with him! Ziba, the steward of Mephibosheth, brings food for these exiles (2Samuel 16:1-2). It appears that Ziba supplies their needs out of kindness, but later we learn that he may have been trying to curry favor with David (2Samuel 19:24-30). Nevertheless, the LORD takes care of them. We may suffer persecutions in our lives, but God is always with us. He has not forgotten us and will take care of us. Let's pray to him for our deliverance.

Lessons to Live By

  • Christians are never forgotten by the LORD.
  • Unless we have an established relationship with God, we will quickly stumble when the stresses of persecution come. He can help us stand on level ground if we will trust him (more...).
  • We may suffer persecutions in our lives, but the LORD is always with us. He has not forgotten us, and he will take care of us. Let's pray to him for our deliverance.

Focus Verse

Psalm 11:1 (NIV) “In the LORD I take refuge. How then can you say to me: ‘Flee like a bird to your mountain?’”

praying hands Write a private prayer response to today’s Bible study:

Please send your comments to

A Look Ahead: Despite his hope, David is not immediately returned to his foes. What does he do while Waiting for Deliverance? What should we do? Find out in our Next Lesson.

Previous Lesson  |  Next Lesson

Back to top of page
Return to Chronological Bible Studies main page
Go to Scriptures main page
Go to Topics main page
Go to Home page

Contact Us