2 Samuel 18:6-8
Verse 8 The battle spread out over the whole countryside, and the forest swallowed up more men that day than the sword.
As David stood and watched his army march off, there was likely many prayers his heart was whispering. Prayers for his men, his son, his family, the kingdom, the future of God's people and even for himself and what all this meant going forward. With their retreating steps went his hope of things taking a peaceful turn. Only time would tell who would be the leader of God's nation.
The men marched into the forest of Ephraim to meet the approaching army of Absalom. This forest was one of the roughest places. It was dense and the terrain was rugged. The kind of place where as you are trying to walk your feet are getting tangled up in the roots and underbrush as well as your arms and torso being snagged by the same branches, underbrush and briers.
The forest and its many obstacles didn't seem to be a match for David's men as they plunged through, small in number but mighty in heart. They tackled the forest and when they met up with the army with Absalom they continued on fighting through the forest and the opposing army. Though David's army. was smaller they managed to kill twenty thousand of Israel's men in that one day.
While twenty thousand is quite a lot of men to be killed in one day, it was only a fraction of the men killed that day. It was like the men were fighting two battles at the same time - one against the opposing army and one against the forest itself. As our key verse for the day tells us, there were more killed by the forest than by the soldiers. Can you imagine underbrush so thick people were dying trying to get through it?
There is only one thing we can take from this knowledge, God was making a point as only He can. He had been planning for this day longer than either David or Absalom. This underbrush and thick root system had not magically appeared that morning as the men marched out to battle each other. No, God had known how He was going to fight the battle to show once again who His chosen man was. God had chosen David and was making a point to all who came to battle that day. You can have the greatest strategies possible but God will still bring about His will.
Making It Personal
When has God shown up in a way you didn't expect? How did you react? Did you worship Him for His hand in your life?
Making It Personal Kids
Have you ever had Jesus help you in a way you didn't expect? How did He do it? Have you told Him thank you?
Father, thank You for all the ways You work in our lives even when we don't expect it. Give us grateful hearts for all You do and help us be willing to be used by You in other people's lives. In Jesus' name, amen.