Pray and Act

May 21, 2011

King David fled from Jerusalem when his son, Absalom, conspired against him to overthrow his rule (2 Sam. 15:13-30). Learning that Ahitophel, David’s counselor (15:12), was among the conspirators, David prayed, “O LORD, I pray thee, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness” (15:31).

After this, Hushai, a key friend of David (15:37), came to him (15:32). David instructed him that if he were to remain with him, he would burden him (15:33). If, however, he would return to serve Absalom, he would serve for David to “defeat the counsel of Ahithophel” (15:34).

Hushai returned to Jerusalem (15:37) and served under Absalom (16:16-19). At this time, Ahitophel was continually giving Absalom exceedingly wise counsel (16:23).

At a key moment, however, Absalom consulted both Ahitophel and Hushai (17:1-14). Although Ahitophel again gave Absalom wise counsel (17:1-4), Hushai persuaded Absalom and all the men of Israel to reject that counsel (17:5-14). David’s prayer was thus answered through the actions of the agent whom he sent.

The juxtaposition of David’s prayer for the defeating of Ahithophel’s counsel (15:31) and his acting to dispatch Hushai to be his agent to bring about that defeat (15:32-37) appears to illustrate how God sometimes answers our prayers. Although we are not explicitly told that such was the case, it is entirely possible that God directed David’s mind so that he employed Hushai as his agent (cf. Prov. 21:1).

David both prayed and took appropriate action concerning the matter of his prayer. His action ultimately resulted in his prayer being answered. Has not God given us this account in part to promote at least our considering doing likewise with appropriate actions in appropriate circumstances?

Rajesh

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