There is a fascinating story written in 2 Samuel 18 about a young man called Ahimaaz who was a fast runner. This happened during the reign of King David of Israel (1000 BC). The king’s son, Absalom, lead a coup d’etat against his father and it looked as if he would be successful, but Ahimaaz and another brought a message to David that helped his generals strategically position their army to defeat the enemy and kill the usurper, Absalom.
Ahimaaz wanted to take the message of the victory to the king. This was his words:
“Let me run and take the news to the king that the Lord has vindicated him by delivering him from the hand of his enemies.”
But Joab, the king’s commander-in-chief knew that the news would not be all good and wanted to protect the young man. So, he sent another messenger who set off running. However, Ahimaaz begged Joab to let him go too. Intensely loyal to the king he wanted to be there to see the joy that his message would bring. He insisted so strongly that Joab gave in and let him run as well.
Ahimaaz ran faster than the other guy and overtook him.
As he was approaching the city where David was waiting for the news, the watchman on the wall saw him coming as well as the other messenger. The watchman recognized Ahimaaz from his running style and informed the king who said: “He’s a good man. He comes with good news.”
28 Then Ahimaaz called out to the king, “All is well!” He bowed down before the king with his face to the ground and said, “Praise be to the Lord your God! He has delivered up those who lifted their hands against my lord the king.”
But David’s only concern was with his son, Absalom, whom he loved in spite of the hatred he got in return. “Is the young man Absalom safe?”
And here Ahimaaz realized that he misjudged the situation. What he thought was good news, wasn’t so good after all. He underestimated the king’s mercy and unconditional love for his son, the traitor. He claimed that he did not know the answer even though he did. He wanted to deliver only the good news and could not bring himself to give what he now realized was terrible news.
The second messenger came and told the whole truth, and the King broke down and cried: “O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you—O Absalom, my son, my son!”
I pray that God would give me a heart like David’s. God said of David that he is a man after his own heart. In this story, David displayed this heart of God. I want to be one who refuses to turn my back on my children, my family, and my friends no matter what they do; like God does with us. I also want to be like Ahimaaz, a fast runner who is loyal, eager to do good and sensitive enough to understand another’s pain. I pray that God gives me the courage to speak the truth in love.