GOD is always working BEHIND-THE-SCENES on our BEHALF: So Absalom and all the men of Israel said, "The advice of Hushai the Archite is better than the advice of Ahithophel." For the Lord had purposed to defeat the good advice of Ahithophel, to the intent that the Lord might bring disaster on Absalom. (2 Sam. 17:14)
Ahithophel was not only a trusted royal counselor, but he was also a valued friend of King David. This is evident from the following description about Ahithophel from King David himself: "But it was you, a man my equal, my companion and my acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together and walked to the house of God in the throng" (Psalms 55:13-14). Ahithophel’s counsel was highly respected in those days and his advice carried a lot of weight in the royal palace: "Now the advice of Ahithophel, which he gave in those days, was as if one had inquired at the oracle of God. So was all the advice of Ahithophel both with David and with Absalom" (16:23).
It is therefore surprising how he got into such a lofty position when his name means ‘brother of foolishness’. He was the father of Eliam, one of David’s ‘mighty men’ and numbered among the ‘thirty’ (23:34). It was possible that he was Bathsheba’s grandfather (11:3), which might help explain why he sided with Absalom in his ill-fated rebellion. One piece of Ahithophel’s advice that Absalom followed was to lie with David’s concubines (16:21), an act which fulfilled Nathan’s prophecy (12:11–12) and in effect meant that Absalom was assuming the throne of Israel from King David.
Having been successful in his first counsel, Ahithophel next advised Absalom to muster twelve thousand men, overtake David, kill him unexpectedly, and bring his followers back to Jerusalem. Ahithophel’s counsel called for an immediate following up of the situation before David could regroup. Absalom was pleased to hear this counsel, but decided to call Hushai for a second opinion. This was the opportunity Hushai had been waiting for, and God used his skillful way with words to defeat Absalom. Hushai’s counsel reminded Absalom of David’s abilities as a guerrilla fighter, and of the need for careful planning and for the gathering of sufficient troops so as to make a decisive victory certain. Hushai also suggested that Absalom himself lead in the campaign in order that he might gain everyone’s respect. Absalom decided that Hushai’s advice was the better one, so he rejected Ahithophel’s counsel just as David had prayed earlier (see 15:31).
In fact, God had sovereignly caused Hushai’s counsel to be accepted, thus buying David valuable time. In the providence of God, David would be protected by God even though he was betrayed by his former counselor and military adviser Ahithophel. God had thus worked through Hushai to overthrow Absalom’s rebellion. Let us clearly understand that even though God does not openly intervene at times, He is far from being inactive. We can ask ourselves the following question: How is God working on our behalf today? Based on God’s Word, we can infer the following six ways as a start:
- God is causing all things to work for our good: Romans 8:28
- God is interceding for us in heaven as our High Priest: Hebrews 7:23-28
- God is protecting us from our enemy: Psalm 27:1-3
- God is providing for all our needs: Psalm 23:1-3
- God is working out His glory in us: Philippians 2:13
- God is preparing a place for is in heaven: John 14:1-3