Then David arose, and all the people that were with him, and they passed over Jordan: by the morning light there lacked not one of them that was not gone over Jordan.
One of the prize gems of human relationships is friendship. Emerson said, "The only way to have a friend is to be one," an echo of Proverbs 18:24. Friendship always enriches our lives, but sometimes it preserves them as well. The friendship of Hushai with David is a fine example. Nathan's prophecy upon David for his great sin was severe and swift in coming. It struck first with David's son Amnon, and quickly thereafter with the hot-tempered Absalom. Absalom's rebellion against his father had taken firm root in Israel. He was clearly in command and was now residing in Jerusalem. But the aura of David's presence in Israel, and the legend of his prowess as a man of war made Absalom's rebellion tenuous. He must pursue his own father and the warriors who were with him. How would this be done?
Absalom's close advisor, Ahithophel, hatched a plan, the sagacity of which was unrivaled. He proposed that the armies of Israel pursue David with 12,000 chosen men and fall on him when David and his soldiers were weary and sapped of strength. They would kill David only. What is most unbelievable is that Absalom readily agreed that this was a good plan. But in the providence of God Absalom opted to get another opinion before he enacted it. Thus he called Hushai the Archite. Although pretending allegiance to Absalom, Hushai remained the loyal friend of David and acted as his informer, revealing Absalom's every move. The plan of Hushai was a classic case of overkill. He called for Absalom to gather Israel from Dan to Beersheba, as many as the sand of the sea, against David in battle. His rhetoric must have appeared venomous, and thus Absalom liked the plan even more than that of Ahithophel. The foolish Absalom did not know that this plan was divinely originated and calculated for his own destruction. "For the Lord had appointed to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, to the intent that the Lord might bring evil upon Absalom."
No sooner was the plan accepted by Absalom than Hushai dispatched Zadok and Abiathar, the priests, to warn David of the impending danger. David arose, and all his men passed over the Jordan River by the morning light (2 Samuel 17:22). They were taking no chances; they fled at the rising of the sun. It is always a wise decision to flee evil at the beginning of the day. Absalom pursued his father across the Jordan River, and the famous incident of his catching his long-flowing hair in the boughs of a great oak tree occurred that day. That day Absalom was killed. God had crushed an evil rebellion against His ordained king through the loyalty and godly commitment of a friend.
Visitors to the Ft. Myers, Florida, home of Thomas Alva Edison, are intrigued by a path in his garden that he called "the walk of friendship." The uniqueness of this walk is that each of the stones that constitute the walk was given to Edison by a friend. The pathway is designed as a memorial to friendship, the kind of friendship that Hushai had with David. Friends lead friends step by step out of danger into delight.
If you have a close friend, rejoice in that friend and thank God for him or her. Enjoy that bond of friendship that you have. In fact, why not write or call that friend today and tell him you love him in the Lord and are praying for him. You will never know what it will mean to him if you don't.
MORNING HYMN What a Friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry Ev'rything to God in prayer! O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry Ev'ry thing to God in prayer.
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