Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Trouble Begins

May 15: 2 Samuel 13-15

20 And her brother Absalom said to her, “Has Amnon your brother been with you? Now hold your peace, my sister. He is your brother; do not take this to heart.” So Tamar lived, a desolate woman, in her brother Absalom's house. 21 When King David heard of all these things, he was very angry. 22 But Absalom spoke to Amnon neither good nor bad, for Absalom hated Amnon, because he had violated his sister Tamar.

23 After two full years Absalom had sheepshearers at Baal-hazor, which is near Ephraim, and Absalom invited all the king's sons. 24 And Absalom came to the king and said, “Behold, your servant has sheepshearers. Please let the king and his servants go with your servant.” 25 But the king said to Absalom, “No, my son, let us not all go, lest we be burdensome to you.” He pressed him, but he would not go but gave him his blessing. 26 Then Absalom said, “If not, please let my brother Amnon go with us.” And the king said to him, “Why should he go with you?” 27 But Absalom pressed him until he let Amnon and all the king's sons go with him. 28 Then Absalom commanded his servants, “Mark when Amnon's heart is merry with wine, and when I say to you, ‘Strike Amnon,’ then kill him. Do not fear; have I not commanded you? Be courageous and be valiant.” 29 So the servants of Absalom did to Amnon as Absalom had commanded. Then all the king's sons arose, and each mounted his mule and fled.
2 Samuel 13:20-29

7 And at the end of four years Absalom said to the king, “Please let me go and pay my vow, which I have vowed to the Lord, in Hebron. 8 For your servant vowed a vow while I lived at Geshur in Aram, saying, ‘If the Lord will indeed bring me back to Jerusalem, then I will offer worship to the Lord.’” 9 The king said to him, “Go in peace.” So he arose and went to Hebron. 10 But Absalom sent secret messengers throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, “As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then say, ‘Absalom is king at Hebron!’”

30 But David went up the ascent of the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went, barefoot and with his head covered. And all the people who were with him covered their heads, and they went up, weeping as they went.
2 Samuel 15:30

The Trouble Begins

Remember the words of Nathan, the prophet, which he spoke to David on behalf of God after David's sin regarding Bathsheba and Uriah.

9 Why have you despised the word of the Lord, to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and have taken his wife to be your wife and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. 10 Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’ 11 Thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house.
2 Samuel 12:9-11

Here we are in the very next chapter of 2 Samuel, and already the trouble begins! When you are king, it is expected (at least in those times) that you would be constantly defending your throne, but when the threat comes from your own house it is doubly grevious.

Take the time to read today's entire passage, as it gives an in-depth look into the background of the conflict created by Absalom. First, Amnon, the king's son, defiles his half-sister, Tamar. Absalom, Tamar's brother, waits patiently for two years before he kills Amnon for his sin.

This begins a rift between David and Absalom; first Absalom is banished from Jerusalem, and then when he returns, the king refuses to see him. Then, just when David forgives Absalom, and the rift seems to be healed, Absalom begins a campaign to steal the hearts of the people away from David, the king, finally causing David to flee from Jerusalem.

As Christians, we often are given occasion to sympathize and understand David's circumstances, when we find trouble in our own households. We look around, and it seems as though every other Christian family we know has perfect, Godly children, while ours seem to rebel against God at every level.

What have we done wrong? That is usually the first question we ask. Is God dealing with our lack of leaning upon Him? Perhaps. But, sin lies in the heart of each of our children; like us they are constantly tempted, especially by the world around them. There is no guarantee that our children will follow the Lord; God uses these times to test our faith. We should not automatically think that their sin is our fault!

Pray for your children; though they are walking in sin now, it does not mean that they will not come back to the Lord later. The answer for us as parents is to pray, and pray, and pray! Nothing we do or say can bring them back; only God can change their hearts.

Sadly I speak these words from experience. Remember, God is our resting place, a very help in the time of trouble. Our true hope and joy is in Christ, and not on the things around us, even our families.

God Bless You,

All Scriptures are from the English Standard Version of the Bible.

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