All the people crossed over the Jordan and the king crossed too. The king then kissed Barzillai and blessed him…And behold, all the men of Israel came to the king and said to the king, “Why had our brothers the men of Judah stolen you away…” 2 Samuel 19:39a & 42a
When the king crossed the Jordan River, surrounded by all the people, the reclaimed favor seemed a victory for Israel and David, yet heartbreak tormented his body, soul, and spirit. Grief linked hands with guilt over his precious son’s murder. The commander Joab, the very man who’d ordered Absalom’s death, scorched this father’s grief with a tongue lashing weighted with a threat…if you do not go out, surely not a man will pass the night with you, and this will be worse for you than all the evil that has come upon you from your youth until now.1 I believe that David couldn’t even imagine anything more painful than what he’d already slugged through. I’m sure whispers dug-in their talons—If only David hadn’t taken Bathsheba; if only Nathan hadn’t needed to bring God’s message of how the Lord gave and gave…if that had been too little, I would have added to you many more things…2 The broken relationship from David’s straying eye showed he’d come to despise the word of the Lord.3 What a ghastly revelation for the man after God’s own heart.
Have you experienced your Jordan crossing? People buzzing around, possibly assisting goals or the journey—oblivious to your heart-felt needs and pain as they look to all appearances to be supportive. And many may wish to be so, still the disconnect cannot be ignored. Your heart flounders in a sea of tears that may have been initiated by choices that shouldn’t have been made. Whether angling for popularity or slipping into sorrow-filled situations, they’d clouded thinking, choice by choice…leading wandering attention far from the King of Kings.
Barzillai had sustained David when the crowd was fickle, when the king’s life and kingdom were threatened by a son loved greatly by the father he hated. David wish to give back by sustaining Barzillai, but the man graciously bowed out of what he called being a burden to the king. Even pleasing friends can be a distraction and I believe that God had something else to offer David. The sword of consequences that God had warned would come seemed to prosper David in a different way. He’d become less willing to take life—unless necessary—and he seemed more agreeable. I believe God prepared a way for the king to begin the journey of restored intimacy. The placement of 2 Samuel 22, a song David had spoken to the Lord, made me think that the king reflected on this worship with deeper heart-felt understanding of God’s deliverance.
It is a fight to keep our minds stayed upon the Lord and certainly a battle worth winning. Let your heart beat quicken to His pace and not the strained expectations of others or yourself. He has something for you even when exhausted you cross your Jordan only to meet difficult attitudes and challenges on the other side. Look what He did for David, do you really think he would do less for you?
Precious Lord, fill me with an awareness of You. I desire to not wander away because of distractions and difficulties. You are great and greatly to be praised. Let my feet be fixed to follow after You all of my days. Amen