This devotional is a teaching about many things that are swept under rugs and the consequences.
- Confront issues OR suffer later.
- Discipline is love.
- How to be angry and sin not.
- Love the Father with all our might, soul, heart, and strength.
- Deal with elephants in the room.
- Pick up the rugs and clean the house–hidden things can’t be healed.
- If you act like there is no elephant in the room, more will show up.
Most of the time, when someone mentions King David, I don’t think about his son, Absalom. No, when I think of David, I think of a humble shepherd who slays giants, a man after God’s own heart–and yet, a man who ends up sleeping with Bathsheba and having her husband killed.
Yes, I think of a man who wrote a book called Psalms, and if it were the only book in the bible, we’d have the whole story. He talks in Psalms about creation. He gives graphic details of a cross and a man who counts all his bones, whose beard has been plucked out, whose clothes have been gambled for, and who had been beaten so badly one could not make out if he were human. He even gives the ending of time in chapter 110. The complete role of the Torah in Psalm 119.
Oh, I can talk about David! But David lost three sons. Two wanted the kingdom and would do anything to get it. Scripture tells us concerning Adonijah, “David had not rebuked him at any time” 1 Kings 1:6. Yes, we often forget that Yahweh said those He loves He disciplines. There is one son of King David’s that truly breaks my heart.
His name is ABSALOM.
A battle rages, as Absalom has won the whole kingdom of Israel.
Our children can pluck our heart strings at times more than anyone. We love them unconditionally. Even if they let us down. Even if they were to raise up a whole army to slay us and take our crown, our kingdom, our wealth– we still love!
But what can we learn from David?
“And the king gave this command to Joab, Abishai, and Ittai: “For my sake, DEAL GENTLY with young Absalom.” And all the troops heard the king give this order to his commanders and the Israelite troops were beaten back by David’s men. There was a great slaughter that day, and 20,000 men laid down their lives.” 2nd Samuel 18:5-7 NLT.
Absalom is David’s favorite son. Absalom killed David’s other son, Amnon, over the rape of his sister. Two years went by and David did nothing. He did not confront or punish Amnon. The Bible says, he was angry but did nothing. Jesus-Yeshua was angry and he acted. We have been told to wait, calm down, and then confront, but Yeshua didn’t wait too long when he saw injustice. He turned over tables!
Sometimes we wait so long, we hurt ourselves and others. Sin happened in David’s household, and he did nothing. David did not punish Amnon for rape, and Absalom takes the matter into his own hands. He kills his half-brother. For two years, he had been harboring bitterness and waiting for his father to do what he should have done. Now we have rape and murder.
Absalom flees and three years go by. He longs to see his father and come home, but David refuses to speak to him. Remember, lack of confronting issues causes greater issues.
Now, I want you to picture Absalom, he is handsome; men and women notice his beauty. His hair is so long and thick; he cuts it once a year and sells it because it weighs over 5 pounds. He has charm. He wins the heart of the people with his charisma and many words. His father has been king for almost 40 years. He was anointed and called. He knows by the prophetic word of the prophets that the kingdom is Solomon’s, but he is ready to take the kingdom and have his father murdered. He is bent on destruction.
Can you hear David say, “Deal GENTLY with the young Absalom?” Oh, our Heavenly Father treats us the same way. A Father’s love is what he has, but his is unbalanced. It reminds me of the itching ear words today that promise prosperity and blessings, only the sweet fruit without the long suffering–without the repentance.
Poor Absalom. He looks at all his father’s mistakes and thinks he can do better at being king. He doesn’t think about all his father’s victories. He only sees his passiveness. So off he rides to battle to take over his father’s kingdom.
“During the battle, Absalom happened to come upon some of David’s men. He tried to escape on his mule, but as he rode beneath the thick branches of a great tree, his hair got caught in the tree. His mule kept going and left him dangling in the air.” 2nd Samuel 18:9 NLT.
One of David’s men sees him there but he won’t kill him. Joab is upset that he did not end his life.
“I would not kill the king’s son for even a thousand pieces of silver,” the man replied to Joab. “We all heard the king say to you and Abishai and Ittai, ‘For my sake, please spare young Absalom.’ 2nd Samuel 18:12 NLT.
“Enough of this nonsense,” Joab said. Then he took three daggers and plunged them into Absalom’s heart as he dangled, still alive, in the great tree.” 2nd Samuel 18:14 NLT.
Joab had, had enough! Over 20,000 men dead and the wicked Absalom trying to take over the kingdom. He and his armor bearers slew him that day and brought the victory.
But what did David do?
David is sitting at the gate, when the men come with the news to tell him they have gotten the victory, and that the kingdom is still his.
WHAT ABOUT YOUNG ABSALOM, IS HE SAFE, DAVID ASKED?
No, they tell him.
“The king was overcome with emotion. He went up to the room over the gateway and burst into tears. And as he went, he cried, “O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you! O Absalom, my son, my son.” 2nd Samuel 18:33 NLT.
Poor David, he could have skipped all this if he would have taken care of the issues.
Now, we have a huge problem:
”As all the people heard of the king’s deep grief for his son, the joy of that day’s victory was turned into deep sadness. They crept back into the town that day as though they were ASHAMED and had deserted in battle. The king covered his face with his hands and kept on crying, “O my son Absalom! O Absalom, my son, my son!” 2ND SAMUEL 19:2-4 NLT.
“And Joab came into the house of king David and said, thou hast put to shame this day the faces of all thy servants who have this day saved thy life and the lives of thy sons and of thy daughters, and the lives of thy wives and the lives of thy concubines” 2nd Samuel 19:5 ESV.
“Joab said, king you seem to love those who hate you, and hate those who love you. You have made it clear today that your commanders and troops mean nothing to you. It seems that if Absalom had lived and all of us had died, you would be pleased!” 2nd Samuel 19:6 NLT.
Oh, what a hard place to be in! When you know that someone is right but you are so grieved by love. When our very own flesh is rising up against us. It doesn’t matter if it’s a son, it can be any close person that we love. If they rise up against us, it hurts more than words can express and sometimes like David, we need a Joab to come and slap us a few times, so we can get our head back on straight.
Joab then tells the king, “Now therefore arise, go out and speak kindly to your servants, for I swear by the LORD, if you do not go, not a man will stay with you this night, and this will be worse for you than all the evil that has come upon you from your youth until now.” 2nd Samuel 19:7 ESV.
Did you catch that? WORSE THAN ALL THE EVIL . . .
David does what David is known best for. He goes out to the gate and greets the people, and he crosses the Jordan and takes his kingdom back–just as he had fasted 7 days for his son by Bathsheba that died. Yes, when he found out he was dead, he washed his face and ate. Now he is doing the same thing. He is letting go of what is behind and pressing forward to what is ahead. The bible doesn’t sugar coat its mighty men and women; it gives us their deepest faults so we can look at ourselves and try and do better. What do we need to confront today?
Photo: Early Sports and pop culture.