“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” (2 Samuel 17:14).
David’s infamous adultery with Bathsheba unleashed a whole host of horrors on his kingdom. His own family fell apart from within, his sons fighting amongst themselves in a series of events that ultimately resulted in an open rebellion against their father. Absalom, one of David’s first children, murdered his brother in revenge for the rape of their own sister, fled from his father in fear of retribution, and eventually turned the hearts of the people towards himself, convincing him that he would be a much better king than David. When David saw what his son was planning, he feared for his own life and evacuated the city. Absalom took his place as ruler, with a vast number of the people supporting him.
But not all had broken faith with David. He still had friends in strategic places. His closest counselor, Ahtithophel, had abandoned him for Absalom; but another man, Hushai, remained loyal to David. In his distress, David went weeping up the Mount of Olives to pray, begging God to turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness. Before he even reached the summit of the mountain, Hushai came to meet him. He wanted to join David’s refugee group, but the king had other plans. He sent Hushai back to the city, instructing him to pretend loyalty to Absalom and thereby work against Ahithophel’s counsel. It seemed God had answered David’s prayer before he had even begun to ask.
Hushai did exactly as David had requested, returning to the city and becoming one of Absalom’s counselors. When Ahithophel advised Absalom to authorize a small force to find and kill David, Absalom suggested that they first ask Hushai’s opinion. Hushai, knowing that this was in fact an excellent plan that would succeed, brought another option to the table. What if, instead of a small force, Absalom himself led the entire army of Israel out to war? David was a skilled warrior, he reminded Absalom, who would be prepared for a small force to come out against him. Appealing in this way to Absalom’s desire for a spectacle, Hushai’s advice prevailed. Absalom led the entire army out to war against his father—and it resulted in a glorious victory for David.
Prior to meeting Hushai, David had been in despair. He knew that, with Ahithophel on his side, Absalom would surely prevail. But when he cried out to God for help, God provided. In an unforeseen way, He turned Ahithophel’s counsel into foolishness. He was watching over David, even in a situation that seemed absolutely hopeless.
It’s amazing to see how God constantly provides for His people. He hears us when we call to Him, and He often has an answer prepared before we even ask. It probably won’t look like we expected, but His answer is always perfect. Even when there’s nothing we can do, even when it seems there’s nothing anyone can do, God is still in control. He will work in the most unusual ways to bring about whatever needs to happen. When things look bleak, we don’t have to despair. God is ready to fight this battle on our behalf.