Ahithophel: Fear from Vulnerability
Finding that his own son had plotted against him was heartbreaking for David, but discovering that his chief adviser was helping Absolom was terribly alarming. Ahithophel was an expert strategist with a reputation of always knowing the advantageous thing to do (2 Samuel 16:23). In addition, he knew David. Ahithophel was a formidable opponent. David knew that he, his family, and his servants were in a very vulnerable situation.
Not many of us will find ourselves the objects of a deadly manhunt. Nevertheless, we experience the same anxiety over our own vulnerability or that of our loved ones. Those who think they have their lives under control are deceiving themselves. There are any number of people and things beyond our control that could totally alter the rest of our lives. It could be a loss of employment, a devastating disease, or a broken relationship.
On 9/11, my wife and I had the TV on for a good part of the day, wanting to understand exactly what had happened and why. We had not paid much attention to the fact that our young children were seeing the footage of the planes crashing into the twin towers dozens of times that day. For one of our daughters, in particular, it caused a tremendous amount of fear. She struggled to sleep at night for fear that a plane would crash into our house.
Her fear exposed my own idolatry. You see, I understood the chance of that happening was very slim. It is hard to explain probability to a ten-year-old. But we recited a memory verse that we had taught her, “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in you” (Psalm 56:3). That verse was a rebuke to my idol of Chance. In Psalm 3, David expressed the same trust in God when he said, “But you, O LORD, are a shield about me” (v. 3).
Jesus gave this gentle rebuke to those of us who are prone to fear:
Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Matthew 6:25-26)
Our Lord reminds us that the one who is ultimately in control of every single detail of our lives and the world around us is our Father. That does not mean that nothing bad will ever happen to us. It does mean that everything that happens to us will be for our good – to complete his loving design to make us like his Son (Romans 8:28-30). We can sleep soundly in the arms of our sovereign, almighty Father.
This is continued in Part 3.