The Terebinth Tree

God cares about the tiniest details in our lives. It was no coincidence that I was reading Proverbs 24 when I was considering cutting back on my workouts. (I read one Proverb a day.) I could do strength training twice a week, instead of three times, and take weekends off. Then I read…

Proverbs 24:5, “A wise warrior is strong and a man of knowledge makes his strength stronger.” New English Translation

I read how God cares about the world, my pain, my stress, my waiting, and my burdens.

Psalms 9:7-8, “But the Lord rules forever; he reigns in a just manner. 8) He judges the world fairly; he makes just legal decisions for the nations.” NET

Psalms 31:7, “I will be happy and rejoice in your faithfulness because you notice my pain and you are aware of how distressed I am.” NET

Psalms 31:24, “Be strong and confident all you who wait on the Lord.” NET

Psalms 55:22, “Throw your burden upon the Lord, and he will sustain you. He will never allow the godly to be shaken.” NET

King David

David’s son Absalom tried to take his throne. When facing war with him, he looked to God.

Psalms 3:8, “The Lord delivers; you show favor to your people.” NET

Psalms 4:1, “…Though I am hemmed in, you will lead me into a wide, open place. …” NET

David was escaping Jerusalem, where he was hemmed in, and headed to the desert. Yet, he chose to see the positive – a wide, open place.

He had many options for places to go. He wandered in the wilderness for 15 years when Saul was trying to kill him. He knew the towns and the water sources.

He crossed the river and spent the night in Bahurim. Early in the morning, he met God.

Psalms 4:3, “Realize that the Lord shows the godly special favor; the Lord responds when I cry out to him” NET

Psalms 5:3, “Lord, in the morning you will hear me; in the morning I will present my case to you and then wait expectantly for an answer.” NET

David laid down his worries, frustrations, disappointments, and fears. He waited expectantly for direction.

Psalms 5:8, “Lord, lead me in your righteousness because of those who wait to ambush me, remove the obstacles in the way in which you are guiding me.” NET

He knew Absalom wanted to ambush him and he recognized the Lord leading him to leave. He asked God to remove the obstacles before him, not the threat behind him.

Yet, he was human.

Psalms 6:6, “I am exhausted as I groan. All night long I drench my bed in tears; my tears saturate the cushion beneath me.” NET

He kept his focus on God.

Psalms 6:9, “The Lord has heard my appeal for mercy; the Lord has accepted my prayer.” NET

Then David wrote a beautiful Psalm of worship, Psalms 8, before the battle with Absalom!


2 Samuel 18:9, “…Now as Absalom was riding on his mule, it went under the branches of a large oak tree. His head got caught in the oak and he was suspended in midair, while the mule he had been riding kept going.” NET

In Israel, I learned “the large oak” was called a Terebinth tree. The branches grew close together and it is easy to see how his hair got tangled.

This Terebinth tree was growing on top of Tel Hazor.

I noticed two things in this verse:

  1. Absalom let the mule lead. He wouldn’t have turned into the Terebinth tree if he had been guiding it.
  2. The source of his pride – his hair (see 2 Samuel 14:25-26) – snared him, leading to his death.

(Am I riding out the day or directing it – choosing the activities that are the most important? What is my greatest source of pride?)

“Because Absalom had rebelled against his father, David’s men pursued Absalom and his militia. …Think about how David’s love for his son is similar to God’s love for you. …God spared your life because of His love.”

NET notes on 2 Samuel 18:1-15


“David mourned his son, despite how his son had treated him. Imagine God mourning over you in this way, desiring to take your place and save you (see v. 33). Think about God’s choice to allow Jesus’ death on the cross in your place.”

NET notes on 2 Samuel 18:29-19:7


Joab and Amasa

2 Samuel 20:9-10, “Joab said to Amasa, “How are you, my brother?’ With his right hand, Joab took hold of Amasa’s beard as if to greet him with a kiss. 10) Amasa did not protect himself from the knife in Joab’s other hand, and Joab stabbed him in the abdomen, causing Amasa’s intestines to spill out on the ground. …” NET

Amasa just faced Joab in the war with Absalom, 17:25. He was promoted to Joab’s place in the army, 19:13. Why would he trust him?

Joab was cousin, 17:25.

Proverbs 24:1, “Do not envy evil people, do not desire to be with them.” NET

The Choice

2 Samuel 22:24, “I was blameless before him; I kept myself from sinning.” NET

I always have a choice. I chose to sin or leave, speak or press my lips together. I am envious or I thank God for blessing others.

The amazing thing is God forgave me before I sinned, spoke, or gave in to envy. Jesus paid the price for all of my failures before I was born. (See, “Save me, Jesus.”)

2023 Rainbow Bible Reading Guide ©2009-2023  All Rights Reserved.