TODAY’S READING: 2 SAMUEL 17-19
“For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” – 1 Corinthians 1:25
“But one of them. Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, ‘You know nothing at all. Noe do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.’ He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. So from that day on they made plans to put him to death.” – John 11:49-53
“Moreover, Ahithophel said to Absalom, ‘Let me choose twelve thousand men, and I will arise and pursue David tonight. I will come upon him while he is weary and discouraged and throw him into a panic, and the people who are with him will flee. I will strike down only the king.” – 2 Samuel 17:1-2
Just like yesterday’s post, Delivered from the Domain of Darkness, there is an interesting connection between these three passages of scripture. The connection has to do with foolishness.
THE FOOLISHNESS OF STRIKING DOWN ONLY THE KING
Absalom has usurped control of Israel from his father David, the true king of Israel. Therefore, David is fleeing Jerusalem. So, Ahithophel, a co-conspirator with Absalom, says he will take 12,000 men and pursue David. He promises to only kill the king.
Absalom means something like my father is peace. However, we are not to think that this saying God is peace here. That’s because Absalom was not acting in the ways of God. His trying to take the kingdom through deceit, violence, force, and murder. These are not the ways of God. Rather, the works that Absalom did reveal his father to be the devil, just as Jesus said in John 8.
The peace that Absalom was about from his father is peace as the world gives – peace through war, violence, murder, control. This is what Jesus meant in John 14:27, when he said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you.”
Ahithophel means brother of folly or my brother is folly. Ahithophel was a counselor to Absalom. He gave Absalom foolish counsel.
Ahithophel was going to take 12,000 men to pursue David that night. Twelve is the number of government and 1,000 is the number of fullness, immensity, or multitude. Therefore, Ahithophel is saying that he will take the fullness of government to pursue David. He would pursue David that night, which was the night that David crossed the brook Kidron. Ahithophel would come for David when he was weary and discouraged. He would scatter the people and only strike down the king.
But, according to 2 Samuel 15:31, “And it was told David, ‘Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom.’ And David sai, ‘O Lord, please turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness.'”
Indeed, David’s prayer is answered as Absalom dies and returns to Jerusalem to take his seat on the throne again.
THE FOOLISHNESS FULFILLED BY JESUS
Caiaphas prophesied that is was better that one man die for the people. But, he didn’t say this of his own accord, which indicates that he didn’t know what he was saying. He thought he was saying one thing, but he was actually saying another. To Caiaphas, his words were foolishness. From those words of foolishness the plans were made to kill Jesus, to strike down only the king.
The chief priests and elders knew they couldn’t execute Jesus according to their law. He had done nothing worthy of being stoned. So, they took Jesus to Herod, the proxy in Israel for the Roman empire, the fullness of the government of the world. Psalm 2:1-2 says, “Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and his Anointed.”
Caiaphas though he would bring peace to the nation by killing this one man. By setting up Jesus to die, the positions and power of the chief priests, Pharisees, and elders would be maintained. Caiaphas was planning to bring peace through violence and murder just like Ahithophel said Absalom should do. So, Caiaphas revealed who was his father.
The night before Jesus died he was weary and discouraged in the garden. And, when the Roman guard came to arrest Jesus, his disciples began to flee. And, it was true that of all the people with Jesus it was only the king, Jesus, that was struck down.
THE FOOLISHNESS OF GOD IS WISER THAN MEN
Caiaphas thought he was wise, giving sound counsel to the leaders of Israel. But, even as a wise man, he was nothing compared to the foolishness of God.
For God to send his son to die for the sins – the violence and lies believed about him – of the world is absolute foolishness to man. How would your son willingly dying at the hands of your enemy achieve anything?
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:27-31, “But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.'”
God’s plan was so foolish that no man would dare claim it. Therefore, once a man understood the plan and what God was doing that man would be able to do nothing but boast in the Lord.