When Life Is Painful | 2 Samuel 15-18

The Life of David

These chapters look at the most painful years of David’s life. Pastor Timothy Ateek guides us through snapshots in David’s life from chapters 15-18, and helps us find 5 keys to surviving the painful days, weeks, and years of life.

Timothy "TA" AteekNov 5, 2023

In This Series (16)
Salvation is Here | Luke 1:26-38
Timothy "TA" AteekNov 26, 2023
Confidence in Our Great Shepherd | Psalm 23
Oren MartinNov 19, 2023
Leaving a Legacy | 1 Chronicles 28-29
John ElmoreNov 12, 2023
When Life Is Painful | 2 Samuel 15-18
Timothy "TA" AteekNov 5, 2023
What to Do When Stuck in Life | Psalm 40
Oct 29, 2023
How God Rescues Us From Sin | 2 Samuel 12
Timothy "TA" AteekOct 22, 2023
How to Stop Sinning | 2 Samuel 11
John ElmoreOct 15, 2023
Your Confidence, Treasure, and Counsel | Psalm 16
Jonathan LinderOct 8, 2023
Does God Really Love Me? | 2 Samuel 9
John ElmoreOct 1, 2023
God’s Better Plans | 2 Samuel 7:1-17
Timothy "TA" AteekSep 24, 2023
What's The Meaning of Life? | 2 Samuel 6
John ElmoreSep 17, 2023
Living in God’s Will | 2 Samuel 5
Timothy "TA" AteekSep 10, 2023
Trusting God When Wronged (and Trusting God When Wrong) | 1 Samuel 24
John ElmoreSep 3, 2023
Dealing with Other’s Success | 1 Samuel 18:1-16
Timothy "TA" AteekAug 27, 2023
God and Goliath | 1 Samuel 17:37-47
John ElmoreAug 20, 2023
Syncing Up With God’s Plans | 1 Samuel 16:1-23
Timothy "TA" AteekAug 13, 2023


These chapters look at the most painful years of David’s life. Pastor Timothy Ateek guides us through snapshots in David’s life from chapters 15-18, and helps us find 5 keys to surviving the painful days, weeks, and years of life.

Key Takeaways

  • Learning from David
    • God is sovereign in the midst of your pain.
    • Don’t play God in the midst of your pain.
    • Pray for miracles in the midst of your pain.
    • Grow in the midst of your pain.
    • Wait and watch for God’s grace in the midst of your pain.
  • Looking through David
    • In the midst of God’s judgment for David’s sin, David believed that it was possible for God to intervene in his own judgement with grace.
    • Don’t forget that he already has in the person of Jesus. Remember, David points us to the greater David. If you think about it, Jesus became a curse for you and for me. The rocks that Shimei threw were symbolic of an execution, and David deserved to die for his sin. And yet Jesus on the cross was in fact executed. The sinless Son of God was executed in place of a sinful humanity. And in doing so you know what God was doing? He was intervening in his own judgment with grace. Romans 3 explains it as God being both the just and the justifier. He is at the same time the justice who takes the record of our sin and pronounces the punishment of death….eternal separation from God in hell. And yet that judge at the same exact time steps down off of the judge's stand and receives the punishment of death so that you and I not only don’t have to die, but we get to live.

Discussing and Applying the Sermon

  • How does God’s sovereignty comfort you in the midst of difficult circumstances?
  • Are you experiencing unnecessary or unavoidable pain about which we can pray? If so, the 5:30pm prayer service on Sundays would be a great way to let your brothers and sisters at Watermark carry your burdens alongside you.
  • Are you trying to play God in the midst of your pain? How can you trust Him in this season of your life? Is there a promise to believe and cling to in God’s Word (e.g., John 15:1-2; Romans 8:28)?
  • How is God working to grow you and conform you more into the image Christ in this season?
  • Read Hebrews 12:3-11. How can knowing that Jesus willingly carried our ultimate burdens—sin and death—and bore the curse for our sins through his perfect life, sacrificial death and victorious resurrection give you hope in the midst of unnecessary or unavoidable pain?

Good morning, Watermark. How are we doing today? It's good to see you. I hope all is well. If this is your first time ever with us on a Sunday morning, thank you for trusting us with your morning. I hope this place feels like home very quickly. My name is Timothy Ateek. I'm one of the teaching pastors here.

I want to start by sharing with you… A few years ago, I got a call from my wife informing me… And to be clear, I have asked Kat if I can share this story, and she has said, "Yes." She called me a few years ago and let me know she had hit a parked car in the parking lot of H-E-B in College Station. So I went up to see what was going on.

What had happened was the parking spaces in the parking lot were slanted because it was supposed to just be one way. The problem was instead of backing out of her space to leave, she decided to pull forward through the space in front of her and turn right. Well, because the cars were slanted this way, when she pulled forward and curved right, she cut it too tightly, and the back of her amazing black minivan caught the back right corner of the parked car in front of her.

The unfortunate thing was that the car she hit was a Maserati. If you're like, "What's a Maserati?" it's the most expensive car in the parking lot. It was $7,500 of damage to the Maserati. When my wife was telling her sister about it, she said she hit a "Mazdarati." No. I wish she hit a Mazdarati. When I called the insurance company to let them know what had happened, they asked, "What kind of car was it that she hit?" I said, "Uh, it was a Maserati," and they literally said, "Ooh! Sounds expensive." I was like, "Yes."

Here's what happened in that moment. Kathryn made what felt like a small decision to pull forward in the wrong direction, and that small decision to move in a direction that she shouldn't have resulted in some unnecessary pain. It was unnecessary in the fact that it was avoidable. She could have reversed and left the right way, but instead, she pulled forward.

Here's the thing. I'm not knocking my wife because we all do it. I do it all the time. Now I don't do it as much because of what happened to her, but we all pull through, thinking it's no big deal and it's more efficient and other people do it all the time, so we should do it and there won't be any problem. That was unnecessary pain.

At the same exact time that Kat was experiencing unnecessary pain because of her choice, the woman who owned the "Mazdarati" was experiencing unavoidable pain. Unavoidable pain is pain you don't go looking for, just the fact that you wake up and live life in this broken and busted world. The reality is you don't have to go looking for it. It will find you. She didn't go to H-E-B looking for a headache. It just found her.

I tell you that because that's life. That's just the reality of life. Life in this world will be a mixture of unavoidable pain and unnecessary pain. There are going to be times in life where we pull forward. Not literally now. I'm not talking about cars anymore. I'm just talking about life. There are going to be times where we decide, "I'm going to make this decision. I'm going to do this. I'm going to cut this corner. It's not a big deal. There are other people who do this, so this is just a fine thing to do." That small decision is going to have major consequences, and you're going to find yourself in some unnecessary pain.

At the same time, there's going to be unavoidable pain in life. The diagnosis is going to come. You might lose your job. Your marriage is going to be tougher than you ever thought it would be when you said, "I do." Your kid is going to struggle. That is just life. You don't have to go looking for that pain. Good news: it'll just come to you. This is life. It will be a mixture of unnecessary pain and unavoidable pain.

Just by show of hands, who finds themselves right now in a season of pain, whether it's unnecessary or unavoidable? Yeah. A lot of people are like, "Yeah, it's kind of painful right now." Here's the good news. As we step back into the life of David today, we're going to look at the most painful years of David's life. The most painful years of his life are found in 2 Samuel, chapters 13-19. It was actually a season of unnecessary pain for David.

As we look at snapshots from David's most difficult years, I want to show you five keys to surviving the most painful days, weeks, months, or years of your life. So, if you have a Bible, join me today in 2 Samuel, chapter 15. As I said, David's most painful years span from 13 to 19. We're just going to look at some snapshots from 15, 16, 17, and maybe 18. We'll see what we have time for.

The five keys to surviving the most painful days, weeks, and years of your life are these. I'm going to go ahead and give them to you so you can look for them as we study the text. First, you need to know God is sovereign in the midst of your pain. That's where you have to start. Because God is sovereign in the midst of your pain, then you need the second point, which is don't play God in the midst of your pain.

The third key is pray for miracles in the midst of your pain. The fourth key is grow in the midst of your pain. Grow spiritually in the midst of your pain. Then, finally, wait and watch for God's grace in the midst of your pain. We're starting in 2 Samuel, chapter 15, and we are looking at the first truth.

1) God is sovereign in the midst of your pain. When I talk about God being sovereign, what I'm talking about is God being in control. I'm talking about God being in charge. If you want a title for chapters 13-19 of 2 Samuel, it's simply this: God Is Sovereign. He's in control. He's in charge. It doesn't just chronicle the pain David experienced; it chronicles how God is sovereign even in the midst of his pain. So, look at it with me. Let's read verses 13 and 14. It's going to drop us into David's pain.

"And a messenger came to David, saying, 'The hearts of the men of Israel have gone after Absalom.' Then David said to all his servants who were with him at Jerusalem, 'Arise, and let us flee, or else there will be no escape for us from Absalom. Go quickly, lest he overtake us quickly and bring down ruin on us and strike the city with the edge of the sword.'"

Just to catch you up to date, David's son Absalom, for four years, has been subtly undermining David's leadership. After four years, what he has effectively done is he has stolen the hearts of the people of Israel, including the military leaders. When verse 13 says, "The hearts of the men of Israel," that's most likely talking about the military forces. He has stolen their hearts. Because of that, David finds himself having to flee for his life. He is now on the run from his son who's seeking to take his life.

I want you to imagine how painful this moment must be for David. His son is literally trying to kill him after he stole his job. Not only that. I mean, David was the most victorious king in the world at this point. He was this great military figure, and now his military has been stripped from him. Think about everything David loses in this moment. He loses the palace. He loses the throne. He, in a sense, loses his identity. He loses his comfort and safety and ease.

He loses everything. Talk about pain. But remember, we're talking about the fact that God is sovereign in the midst of David's pain. Where do we see that? Well, you have to remember what God told David through the prophet Nathan when God confronted David about his sin with Bathsheba. Do you remember what God said?

What you need to know is chapters 13-19 are just the unpacking of what God told David back in 2 Samuel 12:10-11. Listen to what God says. "'Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.' Thus says the Lord, 'Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house.'"

What we're seeing now in chapter 15 where David's son Absalom steals the throne from him and seeks to kill him… This is just the fulfillment of what God said would happen. These are the consequences. This is David living in the midst of unnecessary pain. What is important to realize here (don't miss it) is God is the one orchestrating David's consequences. God is sovereign. He is in control. He's in charge even in the midst of David's pain.

Now, what's interesting is this isn't the only time David has lived on the run from someone trying to take his life. How did his life start when we got introduced to him? He was anointed king back in 1 Samuel, chapter 16, and around the age of 15, he then spent the next 10 to 15 years running for his life from King Saul. But that wasn't unnecessary pain. It wasn't a result of David's sin. That was a result of Saul's sin. That was unavoidable pain.

My point in showing you all that is David was well acquainted with both unnecessary pain and unavoidable pain, and in both experiences God was in complete control every single day of David's life. This is important, because I'm trying to help you understand. God is sovereign. He is in control. He is in charge in the midst of your pain. When pain comes, what's our natural question toward God? "Where are you?" We naturally want to know where God is in our pain. Here's the answer: he's right in the middle of it, and he's sovereign in the midst of it.

Now, we're going to jump into theology for a second. So, for those of you who geek out on theology, welcome. For those of you who don't, I'm glad you're here. I'm going to say something right now which, for some of you, is going to consume your lunch conversation, and for others of you, you're going to struggle to fall asleep tonight because you are thinking about what I'm telling you.

Theologically, we have to think accurately about God's sovereignty in the midst of our pain. Here is the mystery we must wrestle with. Don't miss it. God will ordain circumstances that will cause pain. He will actually accomplish his perfect purposes in our lives and in the world through the sinful acts of humanity, yet God is never the author of evil and man is always responsible for his sin.

Some of y'all hear that, and you're like, "I don't really like what you just said." I mean, that's a weighty statement to say that God will ordain circumstances that will cause pain. God will accomplish his perfect purposes through the sinful acts of humanity. You might be sitting there thinking, "I don't know if that's true." Well, the supreme example of this is in the greater David Jesus Christ. Listen to how Acts 2:23 puts it. It says, "…this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men."

Do you see what's happening here? It's a mystery. God ordained circumstances that caused incredible pain to his Son, the perfect Son, who didn't deserve it but who, for the joy set before him, willingly endured the cross for you and me. God's perfect purposes were accomplished through the sinful acts of humanity. Salvation was purchased for all who would put their trust in Jesus through unimaginable pain. God ordained it, yet he's not the author of evil and man was ultimately responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus.

This is a mystery, yet wrestling with this mystery is part of the journey of faith. This is where we have to start. Whether you're in the midst of unavoidable pain or unnecessary pain, God is sovereign. He is at work, and he is accomplishing his perfect purposes in your life. God will use your pain to make you more like Jesus. So, that's where we have to start. If God is sovereign in the midst of your pain, listen to the second point.

2) Don't play God in the midst of your pain. If God is sovereign in the midst of our pain, then we need to be careful not to try to play God in the midst of our pain. What do I mean by trying to play God? Well, here's what I mean. When life is painful, our tendency is to believe that we know what is best. We believe we know what God should do in order to display the greatest extent of his goodness. We believe we know what's best.

What should God do in our pain? He should take away the pain. If there's a diagnosis, he should cure it. If marriage is too tough, he should make it easier. If a kid isn't flourishing, he should change that. If we're single, "It has been long enough. Please provide the one." Whatever it is, we think we know best. We believe we know the best way God can display the fullest extent of his goodness.

This is why, I would imagine, some of you guys who raised your hand saying you're in a painful season of life… If you're honest, there's a good chance you're either frustrated with God or really disappointed in God, because you feel like God has failed you. Why do you think God has failed you? It's because he hasn't done what you think is best.

When you believe you know what is best even better than God, you are trying to play God. We have to come to a place where we realize that his thoughts are not our thoughts and his ways are not our ways. There is a roof to our finite minds. So, there is a better way than playing God, and David shows it to us. Watch what happens.

David and his family are now on the run. They are leaving Jerusalem. They're leaving town. Watch what happens. Verse 24: "And Abiathar came up, and behold, Zadok…" These are the high priests in the land. These are the religious figures. "…came also with all the Levites, bearing the ark of the covenant of God. And they set down the ark of God until the people had all passed out of the city. Then the king said to Zadok, 'Carry the ark of God back into the city.'"

I want you to imagine what's happening. They're leaving town, and now David sees the religious people coming to him. They had an allegiance to him, and they're bringing the ark of the covenant. What was the ark of the covenant? It was the most valuable piece of furniture in the nation of Israel. It symbolized the presence of God and the favor of God.

So, here was the thought of the high priests. The thought was, "Hey, we're going to take the ark of the covenant to David, because as long as the ark of the covenant is with David, then the favor of God will be on David and not on Absalom. If we take the ark to David, then David will still have the right to be king instead of Absalom." And what does David do? He sees it and says, "Nope. Take it back. The ark of the covenant belongs in the tabernacle. It belongs in Jerusalem."

Watch what David goes on to say. This is amazing. This is true faith. This is what full functioning faith in the midst of suffering actually looks like. It's difficult, and it's uncomfortable. If you came here today and heard we were talking about pain, what you want is for me to just give you a silver bullet that takes away your pain. Instead, I'm giving you something that is messy and tricky, and it feels like more than you could ever muster, yet it's possible by the power of the Spirit.

Look at what David says. This is amazing. Verse 25: "If I find favor in the eyes of the Lord, he will bring me back and let me see both it [the ark] and his dwelling place. But if [God] says, 'I have no pleasure in you,' behold, here I am, let him [God] do to me what seems good to him." Isn't that amazing? Do you hear what he's saying?

He's like, "Look. Take the ark back, because I don't want to assume God wants me to have it. I don't want to assume that his favor is upon me. If God wants to bring me back, he's going to bring me back, but if God doesn't want to bring me back and he looks at me and says, 'I have no pleasure in you,' then, God, you do whatever you want with my life. You do whatever you want, because you are God and I am not."

David is saying, "God, I recognize that you are the sovereign one over all things. I am in your hands, and, God, you are free and justified to do whatever you want to do to me." Can you imagine the freedom there is in David's life to get to that point? There is nothing God could do that would cause David to look at God and say, "You failed." Nothing. God is free to do what he deems is good.

That's surrender. That's true faith. It's to believe that God is free to do what he deems good even when he operates in a way we don't understand, even if we don't agree with it, even if we think we would do things differently if we were, in fact, God. So, I want to speak to those in the room who might find themselves mad at God or disappointed in God right now. I just want to encourage you with words from Tim Keller.

He says, "If you have a God great and transcendent enough to be mad at because he hasn't stopped evil and suffering in the world, then you have (at the same moment) a God great and transcendent enough to have good reasons for allowing it to continue that you can't know. Indeed, you can't have it both ways."

When life is painful, you want a God great enough to take away your pain, but if you believe God is that great that he could do something about it and that's why you're angry at him, because he could do something but he's not doing something, then at the same exact time, you have to give that great and transcendent God… You have to believe he's so great he could have reasons you don't know and could see goodness in the midst of your pain that you could never fathom.

I think about one of my closest friends. I've known him for about 20 years, and over those 20 years, his life has been marked by more pain than I've… He has seen more pain than most people I know. It has been relentless over 20 years. Just in the moment he's in right now, both of his parents are very sick. Both of them are in and out of the hospital.

He has a very rigorous, full-time job, and he is constant caretaker for both of his parents. He has dealt with wondering if either one is going to pass away at any time, both at the same time. At the same time, his sister has terminal cancer. At the same time, his best friend just died a couple of months ago unexpectedly, tragically. At the same time, one of his children is struggling deeply in life.

So, as I was preparing for this talk, I texted him. I was like, "Dude, why haven't you given up? Why haven't you cursed God?" Let me tell you what he responded with. Here's what he said. "He hasn't promised me that he will rescue me out of this world…yet. Someday he will. In the meantime, he has promised to walk with me through the valley of the shadow of death."

Then he said, "John 6." It's where a bunch of the disciples deserted Jesus, but then Peter says to Jesus, "To whom shall we go?" He said, "John 6. Where else will I go? He has the words of eternal life." Then he said this, which I love: "And those without hope…" Meaning, those who don't know Jesus. "…need to see God's children walking among the thorns and the thistles with hope."

Do you know what this is? This is him saying, "You're God, and I'm not. You know what's best; I don't. You decree what is good, not me. So you, God, do whatever you want even when I don't understand it. You have your way, and I will follow. I trust you, from this day until the end, until you take me home."

3) Pray for miracles in the midst of your pain. The story continues. David and his household are still on the move. Watch what it says. Verse 30: "But David went up the ascent of the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went…" This is heartbreaking. "…barefoot and with his head covered. And all the people who were with him covered their heads, and they went up, weeping as they went." Now watch this. Things go from really bad to really worse.

Verse 31: "And it was told David, 'Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom.'" You're like, "Who is Ahithophel?" The text tells us. It told us back in verse 12. Look at who Ahithophel was. Verse 12: "And while Absalom was offering the sacrifices, he sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David's counselor…"

Now, what kind of counselor was Ahithophel? Well, chapter 16, verse 23, tells us. Watch this. "Now in those days the counsel that Ahithophel gave was as if one consulted the word of God; so was all the counsel of Ahithophel esteemed, both by David and by Absalom." Do you get the picture here? I mean, this is a bad day.

Can we all agree it's a bad day when your son steals your throne, tries to kill you, and sends you on the run, and then you get a phone call that your closest, trusted, most godly adviser is now against you? That's pretty bad. So, what does David do in regard to Ahithophel? Commentators consider Ahithophel the Judas of the Old Testament. Judas betrayed the King of Kings; Ahithophel betrayed the king of Israel.

What's David's response in this moment? Verse 31: "And David said, 'O Lord, please turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness.'" David prays. But let's be clear what David is doing. He is praying for a miracle. It will take God's miraculous intervention for the most trusted, godly counselor in the country to lose the trust of Absalom.

But here's the great news. If God was sovereign and free to do whatever he wanted in David's life, then at the exact same time, God was sovereign and free to do whatever he wanted in Ahithophel's life. That's why Psalm 115:3 says, "Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases." God does whatever he wants whenever he wants to do it, and there's nothing that resists him.

God doesn't hear David's prayer and think, "All right, angels. All hands on deck here. Get in here. We're talking about the most trusted, godly counselor in the land. Any ideas? No idea is a bad idea right now. What are we thinking? How are we going to…? Because I don't know what to do." No, God is free. He's sovereign. Nothing threatens his plans.

God is going to accomplish all that he wants to do, and that's exactly what he does. What's amazing is God actually… This is so great. David is living in the midst of unnecessary pain. That unnecessary pain has come as a consequence for his sin, and even in the midst of the consequences of his sin, David prays and God answers his prayer. That's grace.

Hushai, who's loyal to David, goes undercover and gets in Absalom's ear. We find this out in chapter 17, verse 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."

Isn't that amazing? God answers David's prayer. Why? He had ordained it. He had ordained to take the good counsel of the godliest counselor in the land… It was actually good counsel that he gave to Absalom, but then God sends Hushai in. And what does he do? He gives bad advice, and Absalom takes it over Ahithophel's good advice. Why? Because God ordained it. It came to pass because God ordained it.

I tell you that just to say, "Keep praying." Pray for a miracle. Who knows what God has ordained? Don't ever assume God doesn't want to answer your prayer. Don't ever assume that. Don't put God in a box that he doesn't belong in. Pray, because who knows what God has ordained. God might answer your prayer. He might perform a miracle in your life.

At the same time… Some of y'all are like, "No, just stop there. Let's not do the 'At the exact same time.'" But it's good to realize that at the exact same time, Jesus the greater David prayed in the garden of Gethsemane for a miracle. Do you realize that's what Jesus was praying for? He was praying for a miracle. "If this cup can pass from me, then let it pass."

Yet God ordained that Jesus would glorify God through suffering. It's possible that is what God ordains for your life: for you to glorify God through suffering. So, I tell you that to say it is good to understand that sometimes, even when you pray, your circumstances might not change, but your heart will, and that's a good thing.

I remember months ago, I was in a season of unavoidable pain, so I began to pray. I was praying for two things. I said, "God, either change me or change my circumstances." God did both. He changed me and he changed my circumstances. Yet there are times where God doesn't change the circumstances; he just changes us.

I was talking to one of you just last week. I spoke at Watermark en Español, and this individual who I've gotten to know over the last few months came up to me and filled me in on how he's doing. I met him a few months ago after one of the services. He was dealing with chronic pain. He had neck and back surgery, and it went bad. It went really bad to the point that it has been debilitating. He can't work, and he can't sleep because of the pain.

When I first met him, it was bad, and the prayer was that God would heal him. Then he came up to me after Watermark en Español last week, and do you know what he was communicating? He was communicating something to the effect of, "I kind of don't want God to completely heal me because of what he's doing in my life."

He's realizing that God is using the pain to draw him to himself, and he's conforming him more to the image of Christ. God is doing a really significant work in him through his pain. So, I tell you to pray. Pray for a miracle, and the miracle might be in your circumstances or the miracle might be in you.

4) Grow in the midst of your pain. Sometimes the most painful times in life are the greatest opportunities for spiritual growth. Do you realize that? That has been my experience. The hardest year of my life was 2022, and I know God better today, I love God better today, and I trust him more today because of that, because God will use pain to bring about great growth in our lives. So, grow in the midst of your pain.

Look at how things continue. Look at chapter 16. They are still on the run. They're just on the road. Watch what happens. Verse 5: "When King David came to Bahurim, there came out a man of the family of the house of Saul…" This is a random blast from the past-type situation. "…whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera, and as he came he cursed continually. And he threw stones at David and at all the servants of King David, and all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left."

So, just to bring you up to speed, your son takes away your job, steals the throne, and is now trying to kill you, so you're on the run. You lose everything. On the way out of town, you find out your closest, trusted counselor has abandoned you. Okay. That's a bad day. Let's go to sleep, call it a night. Maybe tomorrow will be better. No, no, no. We're not done.

They're on a 20-mile stretch, and now some blast from the past from the house of Saul shows up, and he starts cursing David and throwing stones at him. And he does it for 20 miles. He almost goes a marathon with them. Can you imagine? Throwing stones was symbolic of an execution under Mosaic law. He starts accusing David of things he didn't do.

Look at how one of David's men responds. Verse 9: "Then Abishai the son of Zeruiah said to the king, 'Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and take off his head.'" This is funny. The reason this is funny is Abishai has been with David for a long time, and Abishai was actually with David back in 1 Samuel 26 when Saul was trying to kill David. And do you know what Abishai said back then? He was like, "Let me just go and kill the guy."

I wonder if in this moment David is like, "Is that your answer to everything? Bro, you can't go from zero to 100. There's 'Talk it out.' There's conflict resolution. There's 'Just tell him he hurt your feelings.' Why don't you start there? The answer can't be 'Well, let's just kill him.'" Look at David's response. This is amazing. Verse 10: "But the king said, 'What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? If he is cursing because the Lord has said to him, "Curse David," who then shall say, "Why have you done so?"'"

He's saying, "God might have told him to curse me, and if God told him to curse me, this actually might be God's will right now, so I just want to say yes to whatever God is doing." That is really amazing, because in the moments when you feel most wronged… Here's a way to think about it. What if God is doing something in your life? What if the hardest moments produce the greatest growth? It's good to ask, "God, how are you trying to grow me through this?"

I feel like I've experienced, in a small way, what David was experiencing here. I remember receiving a letter from someone, and when I read this letter, I wept, because it was so personal and attacked my character in a deep way. Never in a million years would I have ever expected to get a letter from this person. Do you know what my instant reflex was? It was to get mad at that person or to want to defend myself.

Do you know what I realized? I realized God was in it. God was revealing some hurt that had not been resolved, and it led to a conversation that began healing. God was in it. He was trying to teach me something. He was trying to grow me, and he was trying to grow this individual. I tell you that just to ask…How does God want to grow you even in the most difficult, painful times in life? So, grow in the midst of your pain.

5) Wait and watch for God's grace in the midst of your pain. In that same moment, David goes on and says this in verse 11. "And David said to Abishai and to all his servants, 'Behold, my own son seeks my life; how much more now may this Benjaminite! Leave him alone, and let him curse, for the Lord has told him to. It may be that the Lord will look on the wrong done to me, and that the Lord will repay me with good for his cursing today.'"

Do you understand what David is saying? He's like, "Hey, let him curse, because God might be behind this. Here's the hope. The hope is that God might see the cursing I'm enduring and bless me because of it, bless me because I endured." Here is what is interesting. Don't miss what I'm telling you. Everything that happens in chapters 13-19 is God's judgment upon David for his sin, including Shimei cursing David. That is a form of God's punishment or judgment in David's life for his sin with Bathsheba.

Do you see what David believes is possible? He believes it is possible for God to interrupt his own judgment with grace. That's crazy! This is David saying, "Look. I understand what's happening is actually God's judgment, yet I have such an amazing view of God that it's possible that God in his judgment might relent from his judgment and shower me with grace." Here's the great news. That's exactly our stories. If you are in Jesus Christ, that is your story.

See, David points us to the greater David, Jesus Christ. We deserved to be cursed for our sin, yet Jesus was cursed for your sin and for mine. That symbolic stoning of David, which was an execution under Mosaic law… Jesus, the greater David, was, in fact, executed for your sin and mine, yet he didn't deserve it. He was innocent. The sinless Son of God was executed in the place of a sinful humanity, and in doing so, God was intervening in his own judgment with grace. Do you see that?

The wages of sin is death. What you and I deserve for our sin is eternal separation from God, yet Romans 5:8: "God demonstrates his love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." What's God's judgment upon our sin? Death and hell. Yet what does God do? He interrupts his judgment with his grace. Romans 3 explains it as God being both just and the justifier.

God is the judge. God is the one who brings us into his divine courtroom and declares we are guilty because of our sin, because of our rebellion against God, because we have not lived according to God's ways, yet God issues the judgment of "Guilty," and then God himself gets off the judge's stand, comes down, and accepts the sentence on our behalf.

So God is just. He is the one who looks at our sin and calls us guilty, and at the same time, he is the justifier, the one who interrupts God's judgment with grace. Jesus suffered and died so that we on this earth might suffer with the hope that we will live. That's grace. That is the goodness of God in our lives. Dan Dumas explains it something like this: "Only God could design and execute a plan of reconciliation with himself."

Here's the thing. Some of you here this morning might be mad or disappointed with God because of the pain you're experiencing, and something in you believes God owes you. Like, he owes you because you've been trying to follow him, and you think you've lived a good life. I've shared this before. I love what my friend Pastor Gregg Matte says. He says even if God never gave us another thing, he has already given us too much in the person of Jesus Christ.

What you need to understand is that we have life and breath today. We are still standing today solely because of his grace. Everything is grace. Therefore, if you're in the worst season of your life and God delivers you from it…let's just be clear…that's grace. And if he doesn't deliver you from it and you die because of it but you get to be with him in heaven, that's grace. So, my encouragement to you is to wait and watch for his grace in the midst of your pain.

I'll close by sharing this. It's interesting. I shared last week… Back in 2005, I had to step off of staff at Watermark because of sin. That was unnecessary pain I experienced due to my sin. That was me pulling through the parking space in the wrong way, and the consequences were significant. Then I came back to Watermark in 2022, and 2022 ended up being the hardest year of my life.

If you're tracking right now, 2005 was the worst year of my life and 2022 was the hardest year of my life. Both were around Watermark. That's not a shot at Watermark; that's just the reality. I tell you that to say God has me here at Watermark so I can tell the people of Watermark, in the midst of the worst year of my life and in the midst of the hardest year of my life, I realized God truly is sovereign in the midst of my pain. I realized that, and I realized that I am not God. I realized that he knows what is best, so he can have his way.

Yet in the midst of that, God has worked miracles. He has worked miracles in circumstances, and he has worked miracles in me. I can point to 2005 and 2022 as the times in life where I've grown the most, and I grew through pain. It is all because of the grace of God. I tell you that just to say, whether you're in the midst of unnecessary pain or unavoidable pain, take hope. God is sovereign. He's at work, and he loves you, and his ultimate goal is to glorify himself by conforming you more to the image of Jesus Christ. Let's pray together.

Lord Jesus, I pray that you would have your way in our hearts right now, that we would be fully surrendered, that we would know you are the sovereign one over all creation, and you are free, God, to do whatever you want.

Friends, we're going to respond by singing, but if there's something you need to confess to God, if you need to confess your disappointment in God, if you need to pray for a miracle from God, whatever you need to do, don't just move on. Do business with the Lord.

We love you, God, and we sing to you. In Jesus' name, amen.