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—AUGUST 30.—2 SAM. 18:9-17,32,33.—

Golden Text—"The Lord knoweth the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish."—Psa. 1:6.

THE successful conspiracy of Absalom, so artfully planned and skillfully executed, finally drove David from Jerusalem and planted Absalom there. But the victory of the conspirators was not yet complete while David, the rightful sovereign, lived. So Absalom and his counsellors conspired further against the life of the king.

But the Lord raised up in Hushai a friend for David, and placed him among the counsellors of Absalom, and thus through his counsel brought to naught the foolish and wicked conspiracy. In the pride and wickedness of his heart, bent on the slaying of his father, Absalom placed himself at the head of a great army and went forth to fight. In contrast with this wickedness mark the father's love, even under these extremely trying circumstances, saying to his men as they went forth to meet Absalom, "Deal gently, for my sake, with the young man, even with Absalom."

How suddenly God brought to naught the evil designs of this wicked young man: elated with his success and proudly riding to expected victory, he was suddenly caught by the head in the branches of a great oak; his mule passed on leaving him helplessly suspended, and the friends of David finished the work. Joab's trumpet of victory is blown, the conspiracy has come to naught, the usurper is dead and buried under a heap of stones, and those that were with him seek to hide their faces for very shame; and King David, the Lord's anointed, returned again to Jerusalem in peace.

In the lesson which these circumstances afford let us mark well how short is the triumph of evil doers. Though their eyes stand out with fatness and they have more than heart could wish (Psa. 73:7); and tho now the world calls the proud happy and they that work wickedness are set up, and they that tempt God are even delivered (Mal. 3:15), yet soon they will all be as stubble under the feet of the righteous. (Mal. 4:1.) The time may indeed seem long to those burdened by oppression; but it is not long in God's estimation. He will bring forth judgment unto victory just as soon as the wisdom of his purposes will permit. If justice be delayed, it is only for the development of some greater good than could be accomplished by a speedy adjustment. In this confidence, therefore, let the Christian rest, assured that all things—even the seeming delays—shall work together for good to them that love God, to the called according to his purpose. (Rom. 8:28.) "Cast not away, therefore, your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward; for ye have need of patience that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise."—Heb. 10:36.