On January 15, 2009, Captain Sully Sullenberger piloted a US Airways flight that hit a flock of Canadian geese shortly after takeoff. The result was an unprecedented double- engine failure. The captain quickly and skillfully landed the aircraft in the Hudson River. After that he ensured that everyone evacuated safely and was the last person off the plane.
David displayed a similar level of decisive action when he discovered Absalom’s betrayal. He gathered his entire household and evacuated Jerusalem (vv. 14–16). When he arrived at the edge of the city, he waited until all his people marched ahead of him before leaving himself (vv. 17–18).
This incident demonstrated that David had loyal followers. One of David’s men was Ittai the Gittite. He was a Philistine from the same hometown as Goliath. Since he was a foreigner, David gave him the opportunity to go back with his people instead of joining him in exile (v. 20). Yet Ittai, who was deeply committed to David, responded: “Wherever my lord the king may be, whether it means life or death, there will your servant be” (v. 21). His loyalty stands in stark contrast to his son’s betrayal.
Another important element is David’s treatment of the Ark of the Covenant. This was an important symbol for ancient Israel, the place of God’s presence among His people. Yet, David ordered it to stay in the city. He refused to use the Ark to his own advantage. He was not willing to use any means at his disposal to stay in the kingship. As one commentator put it, “David is that rarity among leaders, a person who is not obsessed with power...with using everyone and anyone around him (including God) as a support system to his rule.”
>> David demonstrated for us what it looks like to make God our refuge in times of trouble. He wrote Psalm 3 out of this experience. Amid his turmoil, he turned to God and proclaimed, “But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, and the One who lifts my head high” (v. 3).
Oh, to love You so fervently that we can say like David, “I am ready; let [God] do to me whatever seems good to Him” (2 Sam. 15:26). Do we trust Your goodness enough to surrender so completely?