It’s easy for us to miss unless someone points it out. How many times have we rejoiced over good news and forgotten that was something we had prayed about? Or perhaps God has worked something in our lives and we have not recognized it as relating to our plea to Him, perhaps a job interview to a petition for financial relief?
In 2 Sam. 17 Absalom had rebelled against David his father. David had fled Jerusalem. Absalom was working to establish his rule in the place of his father.
Toward that end, Absalom had sought the counsel of Ahithophel, whose counsel had been described “like that of one who inquires of God” (2 Sam. 16:23). In other words, his counsel was like the voice of God Himself.
Ahithophel’s advice to Absalom was for a quick strike on the fleeing David.
Ahithophel said to Absalom, “I would choose twelve thousand men and set out tonight in pursuit of David. I would attack him while he is weary and weak. I would strike him with terror, and then all the people with him will flee. I would strike down only the king and bring all the people back to you.” 2 Samuel 17:1-3
That advice seemed sound to the king and the other leaders. However, Absalom thought it wise to seek a second opinion. So he called for Hushai, another trusted advisor. Hushai took exception to his colleague and suggested a different approach, which the self-appointed king embraced. The result was David’s escape and eventual restoration to the throne. (You can read the whole account in 2 Samuel 17-18.)
The question is, why did Absalom heed Hushai’s advice over Ahithophel’s, especially when Athithophel’s counsel was held in such high regard? Why did Absalom even seek out Hushai’s input? He hadn’t done so in earlier decisions about establishing his rule after his father David had fled. And finally, why did Absalom opt for the counsel of Hushai over Ahithophel’s?
The answer lies tucked in the earlier narrative.
Now David had been told, “Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom.” So David prayed, “O Lord, turn Ahithophel’s counsel into foolishness.” 2 Samuel 15:31
The turn of events that safeguarded David and restored him to the throne in Jerusalem can be linked to God’s answer to his prayer.
We’re not told in the account if David made the connection (Psalm 3 suggests he would have), but it is certainly there for us as readers to connect. Now our job is to make that connection as events unfold in our lives, that we might return to the God we sought in prayer, to bring Him gratitude and glory.