A while back, I was in a Bible study where we discussed 2 Samuel chapter 16. King David’s son Absalom has just seized the throne, and the aging king suddenly finds himself on the run. Before he escaped Jerusalem, however, David deployed a double agent: his faithful confidant Hushai will offer to serve Absalom and undermine the wise counsel of Absalom’s other advisors (15:32-37).
Chapter 16 opens with another report of treachery: Mephibosheth, the grandson of King Saul, to whom David had shown much kindness, has supposedly abandoned the king in hopes of seizing power for himself —a report Mephibosheth will later deny, in chapter 19.
We then meet Shimei, a supporter of the house of Saul, who’s hurling curses and rocks at the fugitive monarch (16:5-6). Some of his troops are ready to remove Shimei’s head for the offense, but David tells them to leave him be. Maybe, the king speculates, these curses are from the Lord.
The whole scene is clouded with uncertainty: What’s true, and what’s a lie? Who can you trust? What is God up to? Which side is the Lord really on here? The characters grope through the uncertainty by relying on messengers and counsellors, or by just making their best guesses.
One thing that no one does is consult the Lord. There are no prayers offered, no prophets called in. No one goes to the source. David is navigating uncharted waters, but he’s trying to do it without his Compass.
So often, uncertainty is the water we swim in. Your health, your finances, your relationships, your job, your plans and dreams—all of it can change in a moment. When it does, how do you navigate those uncharted waters?
Do you fall back on familiar habits and old assumptions?
Do you ask a friend or family member for advice?
Do you go with your gut, rely on instinct, and act decisively without much consideration?
Do you go to the source and consult your Compass?
No doubt David was preoccupied and flustered while he abandoned his capitol and fled for his life. That’s understandable! And the demands of the moment are often all you can see. What David didn’t realize, however, is that these moments demand prayer. They demand the guidance of God’s Spirit, inquiring of the scriptures, and searching for divine wisdom.
When you find yourself unsure of what’s ahead or where to turn, I hope you’ll remember that we have a Lord who, as David wrote, leads us beside still waters and in the paths of righteousness (Ps 23:2-3). If you’re uncertain of the right way to go or how to find peace in the midst of life’s conflicts and chaos, don’t forget, in the bustle and stress of the moment, to turn to your Shepherd. Go to the source. You may not immediately see a way through the confusion or feel like you’re relaxing in green pastures, but, then again, you might.
And if you don’t pause to seek God in those moments, how are you expecting to hear the “still small voice” over the hubbub?