Would I Have Died Instead of You!

2 Samuel 18:24–33 (ESV)
24 Now David was sitting between the two gates, and the watchman went up to the roof of the gate by the wall, and when he lifted up his eyes and looked, he saw a man running alone. 25 The watchman called out and told the king. And the king said, “If he is alone, there is news in his mouth.” And he drew nearer and nearer. 26 The watchman saw another man running. And the watchman called to the gate and said, “See, another man running alone!” The king said, “He also brings news.” 27 The watchman said, “I think the running of the first is like the running of Ahimaaz the son of Zadok.” And the king said, “He is a good man and comes with good news.”

28 Then Ahimaaz cried out to the king, “All is well.” And he bowed before the king with his face to the earth and said, “Blessed be the LORD your God, who has delivered up the men who raised their hand against my lord the king.” 29 And the king said, “Is it well with the young man Absalom?” Ahimaaz answered, “When Joab sent the king’s servant, your servant, I saw a great commotion, but I do not know what it was.” 30 And the king said, “Turn aside and stand here.” So he turned aside and stood still.

31 And behold, the Cushite came, and the Cushite said, “Good news for my lord the king! For the LORD has delivered you this day from the hand of all who rose up against you.” 32 The king said to the Cushite, “Is it well with the young man Absalom?” And the Cushite answered, “May the enemies of my lord the king and all who rise up against you for evil be like that young man.” 33 And the king was deeply moved and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. And as he went, he said, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!”

Yesterday, we saw that Ahimaaz was eager to reach David with the good news of victory. Today, we see that David was also waiting eagerly for news from the front lines. What was happening there? Was the battle going well? Specifically, was Absalom safe and sound? David was happy to see Ahimaaz and remarked that he was a good man and brought good news. However, he was concerned that there was also a second man following. What was the purpose of this?

Ahimaaz told David that all was well. Victory was secure. However, David’s primary concern was his son. What about Absalom? Was he safe? Ahimaaz pretended he did not know the answer to this question and left it to the Cushite messenger to share this news. The Cushite told the king, “May the enemies of my lord the king and all who rise up against you for evil be like that young man.” With that, David knew that Absalom was dead.

In what follows, we see the heartbreak that David felt. His son was dead and David wept and cried out, “Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!” David would have done anything to save his son. This may seem strange since Absalom had been David’s enemy and sought to overthrow him and take the throne. But is this not what God does for every one of us? We are rebels against God and we seek to push him off of the throne and reign in his place. Yet, he loves us like a father and would do anything to save us, including die for us. This is exactly what Jesus Christ did. He died for us so that we could be saved. All we have to do is trust in him. David’s love for Absalom is a picture of God’s love for us. Such an amazing thing to think about!

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