Bernie Madoff ran the most successful Ponzi scheme in history. Over the course of seventeen years, he defrauded investors out of tens of billions of dollars. He was able to get away with this because of his carefully crafted persona as a financial expert. He cultivated potential new investors and was able to win their trust.
In today’s reading, David’s family is troubled. One son was dead. Another son was living in exile as a fugitive. David’s “heart longed for Absalom,” but he did not know what to do about it (v. 1). We are used to seeing David as the master of every situation. But things had not been the same for him since the Bathsheba affair and his actions toward Uriah.
Into this situation steps Joab. Joab recruited a “wise woman” from Tekoa and coached her with a story designed to give David permission to allow Absalom to return home. This scene is reminiscent of the prophet Nathan’s confrontation of David. But it is important to note that this woman was sent not by the Lord but by Joab.
The woman convinced David to allow Absalom to return. Yet, there were significant differences between the woman’s story and Absalom’s situation. In her story, one brother accidentally killed the other in the heat of the moment (v. 6). Absalom, however, had carefully planned the murder of his brother in cold blood.
When Absalom returned home, David still refused to meet with him. Absalom was guilty and had shown no signs of repentance. This estrangement would have dire consequences for the nation. Absalom was now free to win the hearts of the people while the rift between him and his father deepened.
>> As believers living on this side of the Resurrection, we can celebrate that “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1). Jesus provided a way to be fully reconciled with God. He did not ignore our sins but paid the penalty for them through His sacrificial death.
We are thankful for wise friends who give us godly counsel. But we also ask You to help us detect when our trusted friends’ advice does not reflect You. Give us the integrity to always follow Your lead.