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I have no delight in thee; behold, here am I, let him do unto me as seemeth good unto him."

In all this he was doubtless actuated by a sense of his own extreme unworthiness: he saw that the affliction which was laid upon him, was an accomplishment of the threatening long since denounced against him by God himself, and "he received it as the punishment of his iniquity." At the same time, assured in his own mind that the strokes were inflicted by a loving Father, and not by an avenging Judge, he desired only that God should glorify himself in any way which he saw best: "I was dumb, and opened not my mouth, because thou didst it."]

Confine not however your views to David; but, II. Improve the subject for the benefit of your own souls

1. See here the sufferings of that Saviour whom he typified―

[David was a most remarkable type of Christ, no less in his sufferings than in his exaltation to the throne of Israel. In all the Psalms where he speaks of his sufferings, he speaks quite as much in the person of the Messiah as in his own person Even where he seems most exclusively to refer to his own case, he is quoted by St. Paul as pre-eminently typifying the Lord Jesus: "Innumerable evils have compassed me about: mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of my head; therefore my heart faileth me." Doubtless these words, as far as they relate to Christ, speak of him only as bearing the sins of others, whilst David suffered only for his own but the whole Psalm is in a very peculiar degree descriptive of the Lord Jesus. Behold Jesus then as cast out by his whole nation, who said, "We will not have this man to reign over usi!" Behold him forsaken by his own Disciples whom he loved, and betrayed by one who had eaten bread with him, even by Judas, who was actually typified by Achitophel! Behold him going over that very brook Kedron', pursued by armed bands, who sought and laboured to destroy him!

But behold more particularly His deportment under his afflictions. Here was David pre-eminently a type of Him. When the bitter cup was put into his hands, though he prayed for the removal of it, he said, "Not my will, but thine be

f Ps. xxxix. 9.

See Ps. xxii. and lxix.

h Compare Ps. xl. 6-8. with Heb. x. 5-9.


ver. 23, with John xviii. 1.

1 John xviii. 1.

k Ps. xli. 9. with John xiii. 18.

m John xviii. 3.

done." When loaded with execrations, as David was by Shimei, he submitted meekly to the insults, as the Apostle says; "When he was reviled, he reviled not again; when he suffered, threatened not; but committed himself to Him that judgeth righteously." As David too was chiefly solicitous for the welfare of the very man who sought his life, (giving express charge to all to spare the life of Absalom,) so did our blessed Lord pray and plead for his murderers; Father, forgive them! for they know not what they do."


Thus whilst you admire the spirit and conduct of David, you may well take occasion to admire the infinitely sublimer spirit of the Lord Jesus.]

2. Look to him as an example under any sufferings which you yourselves may be called to bear

[This is the improvement which an inspired Apostle teaches us to make of the subject: "Take, my brethren," says St. James, "the prophets who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience." We ourselves are all exposed to sufferings, even as David was : for " we are born to trouble, as the sparks fly upward:" nor do we know how soon troubles may come upon us. The possession of a crown was no exemption to David; nor can any situation, in which we may be, prove an exemption to us. The more secure we are in our own apprehension, the more reason we have to expect that some calamity is near at hand. The saying, "My mountain stands strong; I shall not be moved;" will be a prelude to the hiding of God's face, and the incursion of some heavy trouble". The very things to which we looked for comfort may become an occasion of the bitterest anguish. Absalom was considered as the most beautiful youth in all Israel, and no doubt had often been looked upon by David with inexpressible delight; yet this was the man who assassinated his brother and dethroned his father. And thus it is often found, at this day, that the objects of our fondest delight become, not the innocent occasions only, but even the guilty sources, of our bitterest affliction.


Are there then any amongst us oppressed with trouble? Let us look to David, and after his example commit our cause to God with meek submission and with humble affiance. us see the hand of God in our trials, and view men only as his instruments, raised up by him to fulfil and execute his will°. Let us view men and devils only as the axe or saw in the hand of him that uses it; and, under a sense of our own extreme unworthiness, let us "receive evil at the Lord's hands as well

n Ps. xxx. 6, 7.

Ps. xvii. 13. Isai. x. 5, 15.

as good," and "bless him" equally for whichever in his providence he ordains for usP.]

3. Seek a kingdom of which you can never be dispossessed

[David was at that time the mightiest monarch upon earth: yet how soon, and how easily, was he dispossessed of his throne. To what then can we look as stable and permanent? Alas! like Shebna, we may in an instant be cast out from all that we possess, even as a stone is cast out from a sling. But there is "a kingdom which cannot be moved," and against which the gates of hell shall not prevail." This is the inheritance which our Lord Jesus Christ will give to all who truly believe in him Of this David was secure :


and therefore he regarded not the loss of an earthly kingdom; but willingly submitted to it, if God had so ordained. Do ye likewise secure a portion that is out of the reach of any enemies. Have God for your friend; and you need not care who is your enemy: for "if He be for you, none can with any effect be against you." You may look with complacency on the gathering storm, and defy all the powers of earth and hell to hurt you. So did David1; and so did Pauls: and so may the least and weakest of the human race: for "the lame shall take the prey:" though they were prisoners too, "they should take those captives, whose captives they were; and should rule over their oppressors ":" yea, though they were even slain, yet should they rise to resume the conflict; and "their enemies should fall under the slain." "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom":" and, once possessed of that, "all tears shall be wiped away your eyes for ever."]

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2 Sam. xv. 30. And David went up by the ascent of Mount Olivet, and wept as he went up, and had his head covered, and he went barefoot: and all the people that was with him covered every man his head, and they went up, weeping as they went up.

A CONSCIOUSNESS of ill desert has a tendency to reconcile us to the afflictions with which our sins

are visited. In some respect indeed it embitters our trials, which the testimony of a good conscience would alleviate: but in other respects it has a good effect, in that it silences every murmur against the dispensations of a righteous Providence. The troubles which David had experienced in his family as the punishment of his own sins, had already been great and manifold: but in the rebellion of Absalom they were risen to their height: they were borne however with a spirit of piety suited to his state, and worthy of his high character.

Let us consider,

I. The circumstances in which he was placed-
These were most afflictive-

[He was now driven from his throne, banished from the ordinances of religion, and in danger of immediate destruction. Now considering him as a man, such adversity must be painful in the extreme; and still more when we recollect that he was a king, and therefore susceptible of pain in proportion to the degradation which he suffered. But view him as a man of humanity, and then how distressing must it be to see his country involved in civil war, and to be himself on the eve of a bloody engagement with thousands of his own subjects! View him also as a man of piety, driven from the ordinances of religion, and suffering under the rebukes of an offended God; what can be conceived more distressing than such a state as his?]

But they derived ten-fold poignancy from the source from whence they flowed

[The people that inflicted these wounds were his own subjects. Had he been attacked by foreign enemies, he would have gone forth against them with alacrity: but to be constrained to fight with those over whom he had reigned so many years, in whose defence he had so often exposed his own life, and for whose benefit he had laboured all his days, this filled him with the deepest grief".

But amongst the insurgents was his own peculiar friend, from whose counsel and assistance he might have derived the greatest benefit. How keenly he felt this disappointment, we learn from the lamentation he poured out on this memorable occasion": and who that has known the sweets of friendship must not sympathize with him?

a Ps. lv. 1-8. with Zech. xiii. 6.

b Ps. lv. 12--14.

But the bitterest ingredient in his cup was, that it was mixed for him by his own son; that son, whom he had so recently, and so undeservedly received to favour, and in whose professions of piety he had begun to rejoice. As the most exalted joys, so also the acutest sorrows, flow from those who stand to us in the relation of children: and in proportion as this worthless son was beloved by him, was the anguish occasioned by his rebellious conduct. The insulting language of Shimei was of no account in the mind of David; that he was willing to beard: but to be so treated by his beloved Absalom, was a grief almost insupportable. And we doubt not but that every tender parent will readily understand how greatly such a consideration must have overwhelmed his mind.]

Let us next proceed to notice,

II. His conduct under those circumstances

Zadok and Abiathar had brought to him the ark, judging that it must be a comfort and a benefit to him to have access to God under his heavy trials. But David ordered them to carry back the ark, being himself prepared for every event, inasmuch as he enjoyed in his own soul,

1. A confidence in God's care

[David well knew that God's presence was not confined to the ark, nor his agency necessarily connected with it. He knew that wherever his enemies might drive him, God's ear would be open to his prayer, and his arm be extended for his relief. Hence, though he honoured the ark as the symbol of God's presence, he did not confide in it: but trusted in God, who was represented by it. He knew that, if God should be on his side, the efforts of his enemies would be all in vain; and that, however menacing their aspect at the present, he should in due time be brought back again in safety.


Such is the confidence which God's people should maintain under all the trials which they may be called to endure. "The name of God is a strong tower to which they may run," and in which they may defy their bitterest enemies. "If He be for them, none can be against them;" nor can any weapon that is formed against them prosper." It is the privilege of every saint to know, that his affairs are in God's hands; and that as nothing can be done but by the divine permission, so nothing shall be done, which shall not work for his spiritual and eternal good. The language of his soul therefore should at all times be, "The Lord is on my side; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me"

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c 2 Sam. xv. 7-9.

d 2 Sam. xvi. 5-11.

e ver. 30.

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