“And when Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his ass, and arose, and gat him home to his house, to his city, and put his household in order, and hanged himself, and died, and was buried in the sepulcher of his father.” (2 Samuel 17:23)
Never take offence when your advice is not followed; God’s purposes are never thwarted.
That’s what I learn from this passage. The proof of my observation is found in verse fourteen, where we read, “For the LORD had appointed to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, to the intent that the LORD might bring evil upon Absalom.” There was nothing wrong with Ahithophel’s advice; it was just that in this case, God’s purpose was better served by Absalom’s failure to heed it. Poor Ahithophel, however, was so hurt and despondent that his counsel was unheeded, he went home and hanged himself.
We could learn a good lesson from this, especially those of us who have grown children who are living their own lives now. It’s simply this: They really are living their own lives now. The fact that for eighteen years or more we made all the major decisions for them does not mean our advice will, or should, carry the same weight it did when they were young. Not because we are no longer important, or our advice no longer sound; but because we may not always be around. Now comes the time when their own decision-making skills are usually tried and perfected on the whetstone of experience. Besides, as we learn from this chapter, we may not know what God is doing in their lives. And if we interfere too often, like Ahithophel, we just may end up hanging ourselves!
This is a hard lesson to learn. Take it from one who knows. I want my advice to my children—and anyone else—to be like a costly jewel: precious…and rare.