Thursday, July 22, 2010

Lessons from Absalom: II Samuel 13-18

The story of Absalom is probably one of the saddest stories in the Bible. I reccomend reading II Samuel chapters 13-18 for the full story, but I'll recap it briefly for you. Absalom, one of David's sons, rebelled against his father and tried to take over the kingdom. He was unsuccessful and was killed by David's men. Looking at his life, we can learn from many of his mistakes, but I want to take a look at his father David's perspective. I should warn you, this is something you probably don't want to hear. This is not an encouragement, but a challenge and a warning.

Sins as big as a rebellion usually don't just happen out of the blue. Absalom's sin was a culmination of several events in his life. Luckily, the Bible clearly lays out these events. In order to understand why he did what he did, let's look at his past so we can understand.

Absalom's story begins in II Samuel chapter 13. In that chapter, his step brother Amnon rapes his sister Tamar. This event is what starts his story all off. As you can see, there is no fault here on the part of Absalom. However, as a result, he kills Amnon as revenge. Then out of fear, he flees for three years to Geshur, a nearby country. This is where things get interesting. Eventually, David calls for his return in order to forgive him. However, David does not permit Absalom to see his face. In fact, the Bible says for two years he was not permitted to see his father's face. Imagine how that must have made Absalom feel. It wasn't until finally after two years that he asked Joab to talk to David and finally saw his father. Then came his rebellion.

Now of course, obviously everyone is accountable for their self. Everyone is responsible for their own salvation. However, when you go through the events leading up to Absalom's rebellion, notice how not all of it was in his control. This all started with his sister being raped. He couldn't have done anything about that. Even worse though is the treatment he got from his father David. Like I said, ultimately Absalom was responsible for his own salvation and what happened to him was no excuse, but that doesn't it make you wonder if this could have all been avoided had David recieved him the way the father of the prodigal son recieved his son (Luke 15:20-24)?

Absalom went to Hell for his rebellion. David realized this. Unfortunately, when he did realize it, it was too late. Look at his response to the knews of his son's death in II Samuel 18:33:

"And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept: and as he went, thus he said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!"

He knew that his son was in Hell, and he knew that he could have done something about it. It happened to David, arguably the most godly man (not counting Jesus) in the Bible. It could happen to you. David wasn't the reason his son went to Hell, but imagine the pain of knowing that he could have done something about it.

I guess a better name for this message would be "Lessons from David". Perhaps, like David, you're saved and, for the most part, living a very godly life. However, is there an Absalom in your life? Is there someone who you could be going on the wrong path and you are not helping one bit? Are you wronging an unsaved friend or family member, driving them away from Christ? Well, I think we all have something we need to do now. At least, I know there is something I need to do.

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