David is promising the Lord that he is going to do some house cleaning throughout the land. He promises to “destroy all the wicked in the land” (verse 8b).
This is a lofty and honorable goal David has set but I think He should have started with his own family first. I don’t know if David set this goal before or after Absalom’s attempt to take the throne. If it was prior to it, he missed something VERY important. If it was after, he is a little late in making this commitment.
I can see Absalom so clearly when reading this prayer to God.
- Absalom ‘fell away’ from David’s favor when he killed his brother. I’m not saying his brother didn’t have some sort of judgment due him for raping his sister, but it wasn’t Absalom’s place to inflict it.
- Absalom was slandering David continually, in secret, when he intercepted those seeking judgment from David. He told them that David didn’t have time to listen to them but HE would and he would take up their cause.
- One could say Absalom’s heart was very perverse when he raped David’s concubines in the sight of all the people. He was following the advice of other perverse men but he had to be perverse himself to do such a thing.
- Absalom was certainly “haughty” and arrogant. Absalom’s attitude of superiority was clearly shown in how he schemed behind David’s back to assume power. He was arrogant enough to believe he would get away with it, and he almost did.
- David and Absalom didn’t exactly live under the same roof but Absalom was of David’s house. By not dealing with him as he should, David let Absalom ‘dwell in his house’ while practicing deceit. David even wept bitterly when Absalom was killed.
Because of all this going on ‘under David’s own roof’ I feel like this psalm is one of repentance and a promise to do better. He doesn’t want to get back into that kind of situation again. And I don’t blame him! Once was MORE than enough! But David finds himself in another similar situation at the end of his life. Adonijah tried to set himself up as king, going around David’s explicit instructions for who would rule after him. Deception and deceit gone awry again. This time David quickly corrected the problem instead of running from it. I guess he learned his lesson and was keeping his promise he made here. Too bad he didn’t see it coming and guide his son away from such folly, thereby protecting his life.
Having this attitude can make life MUCH simpler. Not associating with those who practice deceit is a GREAT idea! As for someone secretly slandering his neighbor, if he slanders another to you, you can pretty much bet that he is slandering you to another. If at all possible, stay away from such relationships. Certainly don’t feed into them or encourage them. NO ONE wants an Absalom in their circle.
One of the worst problems about Absalom and Adonijah was that they were ‘hidden in plain sight’. David’s love for his children blinded him to the kind of men they had become. He still held onto idealized versions of his children and would hear of nothing else. I wonder if anyone tried to tell him what was going on. Joab certainly didn’t with Adonijah because he joined right in with him.
What was it that enticed Joab to join with Adonijah? Was he more of a man of action than Solomon? Did Joab feel his career would fare better with Adonijah? Was Joab disillusioned with David and wanted nothing to do with the direction David was headed? I don’t know if Joab with be in Heaven to ask. Only God knows where his heart was at.
One thing missing from this psalm that I would include is a request for God to make such people visible to me. The fact that David was so easily duped by those in his own family should have made him more alert to the need for God’s guidance with others. He was pretty shrewd while running from Saul but he appears to have lost that edge. God certainly could have helped him in this area.
Is it possible that this psalm was written while he was running from Saul? He would certainly need such separation during that time. It was one of the most vulnerable times in David’s life. He needed guidance concerning who joined in his group. His life was on the line and he needed to be sure he could trust those whom he labored beside.
I wonder if this psalm is really a prayer. Maybe that is why he didn’t include a request for God’s guidance. This psalm was that prayer. In that case, I’m joining him in this prayer.
Father God, help me be aware of the kind of people I’m associating with. Don’t let me fall into the company of deceivers. Protect me in this newest endeavor I just agreed to. I already have concerns about the person who asked for my help.
Is this a warning from You? If it is, help me gracefully bow out. This person is a friend of my husband’s and I don’t like making waves. At least not anymore. Give me guidance in this please Father.