Purposeful Bad Counsel
2 Samuel 17:14 (ESV) -- And Absalom and all the men of Israel said, “The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel.” For the LORD had ordained to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, so that the LORD might bring harm upon Absalom.
Many people have such a cookie-cutter view of God that they struggle to make sense of clear passages in the Bible. I’ve encountered people whose preconceived ideas about God make it impossible for them to read and properly understand the implications of a text of Scripture. I’m certainly not suggesting that God has bad character or ever does anything wrong. He’s God. He can’t sin or do injustice. But many professing believers have such vanilla views of God that have been informed by tradition more than serious handling of the Scriptures, that they are incapable of handling particular passages of the Word.
Today’s text is one of those passages. We read in 2 Samuel 17:14, “And Absalom and all the men of Israel said, ‘The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel.’ For the LORD had ordained to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, so that the LORD might bring harm upon Absalom.” Absalom is David’s son. He has rebelled against his father and tried to establish himself as Israel’s true king. In this passage, he is seeking counsel from advisors. We read that two different men provided counsel to him: Hushai and Ahithophel. Absalom has gained a following in Israel and has warriors joining him in this rebellion against his father. He seeks counsel for his next move. Notice what the text says: Absalom and his men believed the counsel of Hushai was better than Ahithophel.
Why? Was it a better plan? Was it more reasonable? Did it appeal to their desires and interests? Those may have been secondary causes, but the text tells us that the LORD had ordained to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel in order to bring harm upon Absalom. In other words, because the LORD was with David, not Absalom’s rebellion, He ordained that Absalom and his men would prefer the counsel of Hushai. Why? Because that counsel was not good counsel. That counsel would lead to defeat.
The purpose of highlighting this particular text is to show God’s involvement in the day-to-day decisions and interactions of man. God is not disconnected, watching from above. He is ordaining things in the world to bring about His will. Absalom’s rebellion serves a purpose in His plan, but it will not prevail. Many times the reasons are only known by God, but these revelations from Scripture remind us, and comfort us, that nothing unfolds apart from His involvement.
Reflection & Journal:
- Why does Absalom and his men prefer Hushai’s counsel?
- What does the text explain as the reason Ahithophel’s counsel was rejected?
- How does this passage teach us about the ways of God in the world?
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