Friends New and Old
2 Samuel 17:24-29
Verse 24 David went to Mahanaim, and Absalom crossed the Jordan with all the men of Israel.
David headed north to find a place where he, his army and their families could be safe. Since his man, Hushai, had convinced Absalom to gain more troops from Dan to Beersheba, David and his people had a chance to catch their breath and prepare for what was coming next. They needed to be readying a strategy and rest up for what was coming.
In the meantime the text says Absalom’s army was headed over the Jordan River. We need to remember this was not the very next day from the young priests hiding in the well. While the text makes it sound like this happened immediately Absalom needed time to get things put together. More than just gathering the army from Dan to Beersheba, there was the need to find a leader for the army, after all this was his first battle.
Absalom doesn’t look far and wide for his leading officer. He has cousins nearby and chooses one of them. Amasa was not only a cousin to Absalom but also a cousin of Joab and Abishai. These cousins had been proven worthy of the title of General of the Army and that gave Absalom great faith in Amasa to help him secure the throne from David.
The passage then shifts the narrative back to David and his entourage arriving in Mahanaim. When the large group of people entered the town, three men put together supplies to help David and his group. But these aren’t just any men. Shobi was the brother of the king who had mocked David’s messengers of peace. Remember the man who had sent the ambassadors back to David with cut beards and robes cut to the buttocks (2 Samuel 10:4)? Shobi’s brother had fought against Joab and Abishai under David’s command following the incident. It seems Shobi stood by his father’s treaty with David.
Then there were Makir and Barzillai. This isn’t the first we have heard of Makir either. He had spent years hosting Jonathan’s son, Mephibosheth, before David found him and brought him to Jerusalem. By his hosting Mephibosheth for all those years we know the kind of heart Makir had. Barzillai was the only one who wasn’t already connected with David and yet we can see his commitment to the king and his people. God was providing in many ways for David and his people and yet he doesn’t seem to see this as a continued sign of God’s favor.
Making It Personal
When has God provided care in your life from unexpected places? Has He ever used you to provide for someone else who wouldn’t be expecting it? How do you know if God is wanting to use you to help others?
Making It Personal Kids
Has anyone helped you when you weren’t expecting it? Have you ever helped someone else when they needed it but didn’t ask? Who needs your help today?
Father, thank You for this reminder to be on the lookout for those we can help in Your name. Give us eyes which are open to the needs of others and give us the resources needed to provide for them. In Jesus’ name, amen.