“Is he safe?”
This was the question King David asked his messengers. A league of rebels had mounted an insurrection against the throne, and during a sortie, the armies of the king encountered the rebel forces. David had been waiting for news about the fighting, and when he saw the fleet-footed courier appear on the horizon, he was anxious to hear the report he brought.
But the question that tumbled out of his mouth first was about the condition of one of the warriors. Not one of his own warriors, but the rebel leader, his son. His favorite son. His rebellious, ungrateful, selfish, narcissistic son, Absalom. Oh, he was charming, passionate, and fierce, a great leader, but he would not surrender to God’s perfect and holy will, which included recognizing the anointing of his father as king. Instead, he wished to be king and was waging a war to declare the throne. (You can read more about David and Absalom in 2 Samuel 18.)
As any father might be, David was torn. When he ordered his military leaders to crush the rebellion, he also directed them to “deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom” (18:5) So upon the arrival of the herald bringing word from the battlefront, despite the loss of many men in the kingdom’s effort to bring an end to the rebellion, David revealed a father’s heart instead of a king’s governance. He worried about Absalom’s life although Absalom had long since ceased revering his father’s word.
Absalom’s life came to an end that day in a most inglorious way. No, he wasn’t safe. But he had long since given up all claim to safety when he rebelled against the Divine and attempted to usurp God’s chosen ruler, his father. We are none of us safe when we act against God.
“Is he safe?” The question this time came from one of the children who visited Narnia and was in reference to Aslan, whom they just discovered was a lion—“the great Lion”—and not a man.
“I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion,” said Susan. . . .
“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver. . . . “Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
In Christ, we are not guaranteed safety in this life—after all, he is battling principalities and kingdoms of the air in an effort to gather as many of the lost into his kingdom as possible, why think we would escape harm if our leader does not?—but we are promised deliverance from death in the next. Oh, that I would pursue the good King who demolishes the terrors of sin of darkness on my behalf, instead of the counterfeit king whose rebellion sets him on the path of destruction forever.