You would think it was a “fish story” the way some liberals play with stories of America’s historical past. They have twisted the background of many good people into darkness, and have shoved into the limelight others who were less than commendable only because their lives resound with the current agenda. These story twisters are known as revisionists. “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.”
In our personal lives, we sometimes have revisionistic emotions. There are two emotions which plague the people in 2 Samuel 16-18. These emotions cause them to try to rewrite their story the way they thought it should have been. “There is not a lot of money in revenge,” said one sword-wielding assassin. The truth is, there is not much of anything in revenge. Those who secretly wait and conspire against others because of some past wrong are hollow-souled. They want to settle the score, but they are playing a losing game. As David flees from Absalom, Ziba meets David with supplies and a story. He accuses Mephibosheth of consorting with the king’s enemies. He is immediately granted everything that belonged to Mephibosheth. The way Ziba shows up to help David cross the Jordan back to Jerusalem seems to indicate he was getting back what he felt he deserved.
Shimei seizes the opportunity to vent and kick David while he is down. He shouts and hurls insults against David. As a decedent of Saul, it was time to gloat over the humiliation of the rejected king’s successor. Yet another person who could not let go of the past
The most surprising vengeful conspirator is Ahithophel, the king’s faithful counselor. Why would Ahithophel turn against David? He seems to have such a long history with the king? It is possible Ahithophel waited patiently for years to strike back. The shame and humiliation David served Ahithophel’s family was to be repaid at the most opportune moment. It was a decision where David, a man with power and respect, took advantage of a granddaughter and murdered a grandson by marriage. The pain had chaffed at him for years. After Absalom enters Jerusalem, Ahithophel instructs Absolom to humiliate David and eagerly desires to take 12,000 men to hunt down David and slaughter him. This was not a man who was looking for the next ride to the top. It was more than that. He wanted to destroy David while he was helpless…maybe as helpless as Uriah the Hittite might have been when he was killed in battle. As the grandfather of Bathsheba, Ahithophel capitalized on the moment to complete the tortuous revenge against David (2 Samuel 11:3; 23:34).
These vengeful people wanted to rewrite their stories and the lives of others in order to put things the way they should be. Revenge is not the only emotion that desires to rewrite the past. David’s irrational favor for Absolom similarly tries to rewrite history. The times he was not the father he was supposed to be. The times he ignored Absolom. The times he did not deal with sin in the family the way it should have been. All of that was supposed to be rewritten when his faithful and might men met Absolom. They were to deal gently with him, a traitor! The emotion of regret also desires to rewrite the past so we can live in a more comfortable present.
Paul could have lived with revenge or regret, but he said, “This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before” (Philippians 3:13). Paul realized his life was before him. To live in the past feeds revenge or feeds regret until they overpower your rationale. Forget the past and press toward the future. Strive for the prize.