After Ahithopel had provided such great advice which was recognized by all the elders as a wise strategy, why would Absalom seek the counsel of his father’s advisor? Further, why would he choose such clearly foolish advice over the strategy laid out by someone well-known for his wisdom?
The answer is simple: David had prayed that God would use Hushai to confound the wisdom offered by Ahithophel. God was chastening David for his sin, but He had not abandoned the King. There were dire consequences for David’s terrible failings, but God always presses us toward reconciliation. His desire is to restore a relationship with us, not to punish or cast us away.
David and his followers are able to flee and three unremarkable characters arrive bringing sustenance to refresh them. Shobi, Machir, and Barzillai brought beds and basins, and food and drink, enough for his whole entourage. But more than the physical items they brought, their support brought encouragement that David was not abandoned by Israel. The Bible gives some details about these men which at first glance might seem unnecessary or unimportant. Does it matter which unpronounceable town they came from? With a little searching on a map site for the Old Testament like http://www.bible-history.com/geography/ancient-israel/israel-old-testament.html, we discover that these cities are almost opposite ends of Israel. Their support for David suggests widespread loyalty remained throughout much of Israel.
When we feel as if we are on the run for our life, that the entire world is against us, and there is little hope of survival, God is still answering our prayers, thwarting the evil plans against us, and encouraging us along the way. We aren’t alone and we aren’t abandoned.