This mysterious gal summed up the gospel about as well as anyone could
4 min read
…But God will not take away life, and he devises means so that the banished one will not remain an outcast.2 Samuel 14:14
As you read the Bible, if you’re paying attention, there are times you will be blessed to find a treasure in the most unlikely of places. I had this experience recently.
Yes, the entire Bible should be esteemed as nothing less than the Word of God, but sometimes we stumble upon its brilliance in a place where we least expect it.
I was making my way through 2 Samuel 14, a rather long chapter in the narrative of David’s life, when all of a sudden I met this beautifully mysterious woman. She is anonymous, described only as “a woman from Tekoa who had a reputation for great wisdom” (v. 2, NLT). But not only was she wise, she also had a gift for story and a flare for the dramatic. Joab, David’s main military man, had asked her to go to David and intercede for the king’s estranged son, Absalom.
For background, after the Bathsheba affair, David’s dysfunctional family began to disintegrate. Absalom had performed a revenge killing on his half-brother, Amnon, for the rape of his sister, Tamar. To escape, Absalom fled to the east until the storm of his father’s emotions calmed. Three long years passed…David missed Absalom sorely, but not enough to reconcile.
It was complicated.
Finally, Joab intervenes. It was a great idea sending the woman from Tekoa. She shrewdly got past David’s defenses. Joab knew the way to get to David’s heart (like most of us) was through a story, so he sent her with a script. She played it masterfully. If David didn’t help, her son who had been banished and sentenced to death for a crime…the “last coal” of her family as she put it, would be extinguished.
Won over, David agreed to defend and protect this son, who, unbeknownst to him, didn’t even exist.
It was at that point that the woman of Tekoa dared to say,
“…You have convicted yourself in making this decision, because you have refused to bring home your own banished son” (v. 13, NLT)
Wow, the audacity. Like Nathan had done previously, the woman had the nerve to tell King David the bold-faced truth. How could he possibly agree to restore her make-believe son and not welcome back his very own son?
But what the woman said next was the clencher. Her follow-up was simple, profound, and perfect. To make the case for David and his son reconciling, in so many words, the woman from Tekoa gave David the gospel:
We must all die; we are like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. But God will not take away life, and he devises means so that the banished one will not remain an outcast.2 Samuel 14:14
Absolutely brilliant. She reminded David of how God deals with the banished. In short order, she gave the bad news (we’re all banished) and the good news (God has a plan). In fact, look closely and you will find cloaked in her words the simple and timeless message of salvation:
- Like Absalom, we were all banished because of our sin. In Adam, we were all evicted from the Garden. All have sinned (Rom. 3:23) and as a consequence all have died (Rom. 6:23) and face estrangement from God.
- But God loved us (John 3:16) and devised a plan. A long time ago God contrived a way that the banished could be restored and become family once again (Eph. 1:3-6).
- The means by which God has accomplished this plan is none other than Jesus Christ. In Christ, we are reconciled to God no matter how far the chasm between us (2 Cor. 5:17-21). Because of the Cross, where Jesus died as a substitute in our place and paid the outstanding balance for our sin-debt (Rom. 5:8; 1 Pet. 2:24-25; 1 Pet. 3:18), we are now free to come home. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:5-6). Those who place their trust in Him are reunited with their Heavenly Father, never to be cast away again (John 6:37).
It worked. The woman of Tekoa’s words hit their mark and David agreed to let Absalom come home. Things would get complicated again, but for now, David and Absalom were at peace. Thanks to the mysterious woman of Tekoa, the stranger was a son once again. The once-banished was back home where he belonged.
By the way, what happened to that dear woman? The woman of Tekoa? She disappeared as mysteriously as she appeared…without a trace.
It’s a new day with God. Run with it.