The woman said, “… When the king says this, does he not convict himself, for the king has not brought back his banished son? Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But that is not what God desires; rather, he devises ways so that a banished person does not remain banished from him.” 2 Samuel 14:13-14

Joab arranged for this woman to speak to King David to encourage him to bring Absalom back from exile after he murdered Amnon (because he raped Tamar). Joab and the people wanted David to show Absalom grace and allow him to return to Jerusalem. The woman rather bravely reminds the king that God creates ways to show mercy and therefore David should do likewise.

Some feel that the God of the Old Testament is harsh and legalistic whereas Jesus inaugurated a new covenant of grace. But God has always been a God of grace. In the beginning, we see God, as an act of grace, making garments for Adam and Eve so they were clothed (Genesis 3:21). Here in these verses, we see that even God’s people in the Old Testament knew that God was merciful and devised ways so that a banished person doesn’t remain banished.

God looks for ways to show his grace and reinstate people when they have fallen into sin. Although he is a holy God, he is also merciful. The sacrificial system that God instructed Moses to establish was to teach his people that forgiveness was possible. Failure isn’t final.

The ultimate way God devised so that a guilty person doesn’t remain banished from God’s presence forever, was the cross. It was a costly solution to the problem of sin but God orchestrated it to ensure people weren’t banished forever.