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Passage: 2 Samuel 13-15

On Tuesday, April 17, 2018, Yujin wrote,

But if He should say thus, ‘I have no delight in you,’ behold, here I am, let Him do to me as seems good to Him (2 Samuel 15:26).

David continues to experience the temporal judgment for His sin against Uriah the Hittite. His son Absalom has usurped the throne and will even sleep with David's concubines before all Israel. David does not protest any of his punishment but humbly accepts it, holding out hope for God's mercy. 

Remember, David had already lost his first son with Bathsheba as a consequence of his sin. He then lost Amnon. Soon he would lose Absalom as well. All this was after Nathan told David that God had forgiven his sin (2 Samuel 12:13). Forgiveness did not mean the absence of temporal consequences. So we read in Galatians 6:7,

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.

Again, from Hebrews 12:5-6 we read,

My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord,
Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
For whom the Lord loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives.

David endured the chastening of the Lord. David understood that God does not chasten his children for their harm but for their good, so that they may have a proper reverance for the LORD. 

Friends, we also should recognize that when God chastens us with temporal punishment, the proper response is not to grumble and complain but to humbly accept the discipline and patiently await His mercy. If we remember that God disciplines us for our good, this will help us to respond appropriately to that discipline:

Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it (Hebrews 12:11).

 


Passage: 2 Samuel 13-15

On Thursday, April 16, 2015, Yujin wrote,

Amnon was so frustrated because of his sister Tamar that he made himself ill, for she was a virgin, and it seemed hard to Amnon to do anything to her (2 Samuel 13:2).

When I first read this account of Amnon, I thought the frustration he felt was a moral frustration. I felt some sympathy. Now I see that it was not so much a moral frustration as it was a strategic one. He could not figure out how he might have sex with his half-sister Tamar.

Amnon was not battling temptation. He had already given in to it. His self-induced sickness was all about how he might fufill his desire. He needed the ingenuity of his "friend" Jonadab to help him satisfy his ill-fated longing. As the saying goes, "With friends like that, who needs enemies?"

Amnon's struggle is not like the Christian's struggle with temptation. The Christian's struggle is better personified in Paul's account:

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do... For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing... For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me (Romans 7:16-23).

Our agony is not in the inability to come up with a strategy to fulfill our lusts but in the recognition of the wrongness of our desires and our deeper yearning to do what is right and good. The writer of Hebrews encourages Christians to look to Jesus as the preeminent example of One who did not give way to sin even in the face of shame and death:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood (Hebrews 12:1-4).

Jesus obeyed God even unto death. The writer of Hebrews asserts, "You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood." Jesus was able to endure because He looked forward to the "joy set before him". The Old Testament saints ("great cloud of witnesses") endured because they hoped in a glorious future. We are encouraged to do the same in our struggle against sin. 

I wonder if King David had conversations with his sons about moral struggle or if the shame of his personal failure deflated any confidence to do so. I wonder if he was simply hoping that the terrible consequences for his sins, which Nathan had prophesied, would not come to pass, so that he could simply forget the whole ordeal. 

But every consequence did come to pass, from the death of the first child between David and Bathsheba to a cascade of morally dedgrading and violent events involving David's sons Amnon and Absalom. Even Solomon was not be immune from moral and spiritual disaster. Yet, these events were for us, so that we might learn from them. As Paul writes, 

These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come (1 Corinthians 10:11).

I am reminded not only to unceasingly pursue moral purity but also to diligently and unabashadely teach my daughter how to perceive and avoid moral pitfalls that she is bound to encounter in one form or another.

I encourage fellow Christian parents to follow my example. To simply shelter our children from evil is not enough. We must also fortify their defenses by giving them an excellent example to follow and by teaching them sound values and practicable principles from God's Word. 


Passage: 2 Samuel 13-15

On Wednesday, April 9, 2014, Yujin wrote,

Fernando's comments were misplaced, so I moved them here to the correct location:

On Wednesday, June 05, 2013, Fernando wrote, 

2 samuel 15

David has either by intent or by choosing life, has positioned himself well.

He leaves the city with his faithful body guard the Cheletite and Peletites. But he tests the Gurshites, recommending they should stay since they only arrived yesterday, why should they burden themselves with him.  Tactically, it is better not to enter such a time with unloyal friends who could be a weakness to you and an advantage to your enemy. At such a critical time as this, no opportunities should be given.

Then with Abiather and the priests willing to go with him David leaves them behind. He also leaves Hushai to be positioned as counselor for Absolom. After a prayer to turn Ahithophel counsel as foolishness, and Hushai is explicitly mentioned to be a saboteur, this chapter is wrapped up nicely as a tactic-filled passage for David to remain in power without exerting the power of the sword.

The spiritual weapons implemented here are spread wide: the prayer to make Ahithophel a fool, the insertion of a man who word is intended for evil, creating an environment and culture of faithfulness.


Passage: 2 Samuel 13-15

On Wednesday, April 17, 2013, Yujin wrote,

But Absalom did not speak to Amnon either good or bad; for Absalom hated Amnon because he had violated his sister Tamar. Now it came about after two full years that Absalom had sheepshearers in Baal-hazor, which is near Ephraim, and Absalom invited all the king’s sons (2 Samuel 13:22-23).

Now it came about at the end of forty years [likely a copyists error: "four years"] that Absalom said to the king, “Please let me go and pay my vow which I have vowed to the Lord, in Hebron (2 Samuel 15:7).

Absalom took two years to hatch a plot to kill his half-brother Amnon for raping his sister Tamar. He took four years to recruit followers to usurp his father David's throne. There's no doubt that Absalom was a very capable man. And we are told that he also had a stunning appearance. He may have even become a great king of Israel; however, his character was flawed. 

Absalom excelled in scheming and deception, as his plots against Amnon and David reveal. He was unafraid in resorting to treachery to gain advantage for himself. He burned Joab's grain field in order to get his attention. He openly raped his father's concubines to strengthen his position on the throne. He loved pomp and royal pretensions. He provided for himself both a chariot and horses and fifty men to run before him. He even raised a monument to himself (2 Samuel 18:18).

The capable but character-flawed are among the most dangerous people. They are in the company of men like Hitler, Stalin and Mao, through whom millions faced senseless death. They are like Bernie Madoff, who used his financial acumen and winning personality to con people of nearly forty billion dollars. They are like Kim Jung Il, who starved and manipulated his people to exact servitude and retain power for himself. 

But I would rather be good than smart. I would rather be good than great. This is the example of our Lord Jesus Christ, 

Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:6-8).

Jesus humbled Himself and waited for God to exalt Him in due time. I would like this to be my testimony as well. I pray that I will never find myself defending position, power, or authority but simply doing the right things and trusting the Lord to defend me as He sees fit. 

Friends, we live in a day when politicians have become intoxicated with power and influence, so that they no longer diligently, honorably and selflessly represent the people. We live in a day when many ministers too have become intoxicated by excessive praise from their parishioners, having a steady income from their ministries, building lavish church buildings and monuments, and enjoying "divine" authority. They have become guilty of catering to the people rather than faithfully preaching the Word. They are found to preach one thing but practice another and, by their example, they give permission for their members to do the same. 

I remember someone telling me in no uncertain terms, I cannot let you undermine my authority by teaching from the Bible something different from what I have taught. The concern was not for truth but for their own authority, as if there is any authority apart from the truth of God's Word. Even Paul wrote,

What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow (1 Corinthians 3:5-7).

Now, brothers and sisters, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.” Then you will not be puffed up in being a follower of one of us over against the other. For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not? (1 Corinthians 4:6-7).

Paul, thus, declared that he and Apollos, just as the Corinthian believers, were really nothing but servants bound by the limits of God's written Word. 

David's greatness was not primarily in his abilities but in his faith. He is not best known for being a great leader but rather for being a man after God's own heart. Capability without character means nothing at all, and is worse than nothing, because it is destructive for the person and everyone influenced by them. 

Friends, do not pray that you might be more influential but that you might be more holy. Rather than the popular prayer of Jabez, I would encourage the attitude of John the Baptist, who said, "He must become greater. I must become less." 


Passage: 2 Samuel 13-15

On Tuesday, April 17, 2012, Yujin wrote,

David walked up the road to the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went. His head was covered and his feet were bare as a sign of mourning. And the people who were with him covered their heads and wept as they climbed the hill. (2 Samuel 15:30 NLT)

What a twist of fate! One moment David is king, victorious in every battle, with his power and wealth ever increasing as nation after nation capitulated and sent him tribute. Yet, in the next moment David is fleeing from his own son, who has not only usurped his throne but also threatens his life. Yet, it is no twist of fate but the fulfillment of God's word of judgment in view of David's sin. 

I reflected this morning that just a few weeks ago everything was going well for me in my work, with my family, in my ministry, in personal health, and with respect to my finances. Yet, this morning, I saw how everything hangs on a thread. And I've had one restless dream after another. So this morning, as was my custom, I prayed to the Lord in my bed. I praised Him for everything that I am and have. But I also praised Him for who He is: my Lord and my God. And I praised Him for what I value most: that He be pleased with me. I know that everything can be turned upside down in a moment: My work can go awry, my family also, as well as my ministry, and certainly my health and finances. The Lord reminded me from His Word that I should not rely on any of these things, nor allow these things to direct my life. As Job said, "the LORD gives and the LORD takes away." We must understand that the important thing is not so much what is given and what is taken away, but the LORD, for He remains, and He remains sovereign over all things.

David fled from Absalom, but he was not so concerned with fleeing that he forgot to humble himself before the LORD. I believe that is why he walked up to the Mount of Olives in mourning. This humbling of himself was not for the sake of the people with him or simply an expression of sorrow, but it was an appeal to God:

“If the LORD sees fit,” David said, “he will bring me back to see the Ark and the Tabernacle again. But if he is through with me, then let him do what seems best to him.” (2 Samuel 15:25, 26 NLT)

David understood, as Job did before him, that the LORD gives and the LORD takes away. And just as Job did, David continued to bless the Name of the LORD. In the Psalm, which is attributed to the time of his flight from Absalom, David confesses his trust in the LORD:

But you, O LORD, are a shield around me; you are my glory, the one who holds my head high. I cried out to the LORD, and he answered me from his holy mountain. I lay down and slept, yet I woke up in safety, for the LORD was watching over me. I am not afraid of ten thousand enemies who surround me on every side. (Psalm 3:3-6 NLT)

David's confidence whether in the comfort of his home or on the battlefield was the same. His confidence was in the LORD. As Paul wrote, "If God is for us, who can be against us!" (Romans 8:31).

This morning, I affirm that the Lord is my confidence and my glory, as He is also for everyone who calls upon His Name. Even though our lives are filled with ever-shifting events, He remains the same. I thank God that He has put His Spirit within me, never to be removed, until that Day that I will be with Him in glory. What is your confidence and glory today?


Passage: 2 Samuel 13-15

On Monday, April 18, 2011, Unmi wrote,

The sons of David

 2 Sons were born to David in Hebron:
   His firstborn was Amnon the son of Ahinoam of Jezreel;
 3 his second, Kileab the son of Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel;
   the third, Absalom the son of Maakah daughter of Talmai king of Geshur;
 4 the fourth, Adonijah the son of Haggith;
   the fifth, Shephatiah the son of Abital;
 5 and the sixth, Ithream the son of David’s wife Eglah.
   These were born to David in Hebron. (2 Samuel 3:2-5)

In today's section of scripture, we see the beginnings of the disintegration of David's family. Amnon is David's first born son. Amnon rapes his half-sister Tamar.  What was supposed to be the punishment for this sin?  “‘Do not have sexual relations with your sister, either your father’s daughter or your mother’s daughter, whether she was born in the same home or elsewhere....  “‘Everyone who does any of these detestable things—such persons must be cut off from their people. (Leviticus 18:9, 29)  Amnon should have been excommunicated, but it appears that he did not receive any kind of punishment.  2 years later, Amnon is killed by Absalom to avenge his sister's rape. (2 Samuel 13)  Absalom commits premeditated murder.  What was supposed to be the punishment for this sin?  “‘Anyone who takes the life of a human being is to be put to death. (Leviticus 24:7)  Later on, Absalom also sleeps with his father's concubines. What was supposed to be the punishment for this sin?  “‘If a man has sexual relations with his father’s wife, he has dishonored his father. Both the man and the woman are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads. (Leviticus 20:11)  Absalom committed at least 2 capital crimes.

As I see David's family falling apart, I see why Christ had to die on the cross for our sins. As I reflect upon the sinful nature of mankind and its inclination for evil, without the atoning sacrifice of Christ, we would all be found guilty.  "We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way" (Isaiah 53:6) but Christ "poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors." (Isaiah 53:12)

Let us remember what Christ accomplished through His death on the cross.

 


Passage: 2 Samuel 13-15

On Monday, April 18, 2011, Stephen wrote,

I was reminded of what the Lord said to David through the prophet Nathan.  After David's sins of adultery and murder, God said, "Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight. 12 You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel."  As we already know, Absalom is "the one who is close to" David and "will sleep with his wives in broad daylight".  It appears, judging from the above verses that God is the cause of the calamity that will come upon David as a punishment for the sin.  But is that really true?  Eventually Absalom, probably the most handsome of all David's sons, rebelled against his father and slept with David's concubines, which symbolizes his control over the kingdom to its subjects.  The mysterious thing is that, from today's reading, we can see the relational rift slowly but surely starting between Absalom and David.  After Amnon raped his half sister, Tamar, and kicked her out of his house totally disgraced.  The scripture, however, doesn't say anything about how David handled the matter except for being furious.  I assumed that he may not have done anything to punish his son, Amnon for his outrageous thing which is prohibited by law in Leviticus 18:9, "Do not have sexual relations with your sister, either your father's daughter or your mother's daughter, whether she was born in the same home or elsewhere."  No justice was done!  He may have felt guilty of his sin with Bathsheba?  Anyway, Absalom ended up murdering Amnon and ran away.  Thanks to Joab's act, Absalom was allowed to come back to Jerusalem, but David refused to see Absalom.  Eventually David accepted him back by kissing him even though I don't how significant that was for reconciliation.  In conclusion, it seems that God announces punishment for sin but the punishment seems to be caused by us.  The lesson that I get from today's text is that God's sovereignty over the future is not a fatalism but is somehow mysteriously connected with our own behavior and decision.  I was talking to a muslim taxi driver who refused to wear a seatbelt saying "Inshi Allah" which means it's up to God.  He was saying that whether he is wearing seatbelt or not he is going to die if that is Allah's will.  It sounded to me that his ignorance about God may kill him, not that it is God's will for him to die while driving without seatbelt on.  Brothers and sisters!  Let us not be ignorant of God's Word and be prudent so that we may not fall into our own folly.