Day 100: Life in the fast lane (2 Sam. 15-18)

Posted: July 9, 2010 in Uncategorized

Then Absalom sent secret messengers throughout the tribes of Israel to say, “As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpets, then say, ‘Absalom is king in Hebron.'” Two hundred men from Jerusalem had accompanied Absalom. They had been invited as guests and went quite innocently, knowing nothing about the matter. While Absalom was offering sacrifices, he also sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counselor, to come from Giloh, his hometown. And so the conspiracy gained strength, and Absalom’s following kept on increasing. 2 Sam. 15:10-12

The promise God had made was coming true right before the king’s horrified eyes. The mistakes of his life were coming back to haunt him. The consequences of his sin, which had been made clear to him, were playing themselves out before him, just as the LORD his God had foretold, and there was nothing he could do about it.

David had sinned with Bathsheba, and had repented, but God made it very clear that he would feel the consequences of that sin through strife in his very own family. The LORD vowed to David that calamity, murder and betrayal would haunt his family – and his son Absalom was the realization of that promise.

Absalom had everything David had – charisma, leadership skills, good looks, the people loved him, he was a mighty warrior, but he lacked one key thing that David held true to. He lacked a dependent relationship with the LORD. For David, he sinned and then sincerely repented. Absalom sinned and just kept on sinning. Absalom, essentially, was King David with the safety turned off, stuck in fifth gear, running off the rails. After returning from Jerusalem, he quietly built a resistance against his father, eventually leading the king to flee the city, and for a time, Absalom controlled Jerusalem. But it wasn’t long that he would meet his end in a humiliating fashion, getting run through with a javelin after getting his hair struck in an oak tree and dangling helplessly as the enemy closed in. It’s almost comical, like a scene out of a comedy movie, dangling by your hair in a tree, but it shows that God was serious about his promise to David, the consequences were dire, but necessary.

Are you an Absalom? Sometimes, I think we all are. Sometimes it feels nice to just do whatever the heck we want, regardless of the consequences, rebelling against our parents, and doing whatever feels good, living life in the fast lane! But that’s no way for a child of God to live! I almost see this story as a cautionary tale on two fronts. Looking at David, it shows that God always fulfills His promise, whether it’s disciplinary or not. And from Absalom’s point of view, it teaches that actions that defy God’s plans will ALWAYS fail. It also shows that the sins of the parents are often repeated, if not amplified, by children. In chapter 16, near the end for example, Absalom echoes David’s sexual sins, and sleeps with his father’s concubines in view of all Israel (just as God had foretold), just as his father had sinned with Bathsheba. Gotta love the irony there.

If you’ll remember, it was also Absalom that avenged the rape of his sister Tamar by killing Amnon, again echoing David’s murder of Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband, on the battlefield. Again, all of David’s strengths, and all of David’s weaknesses, amplified by the fact that he didn’t have a strong relationship with God. David sinned and repented, turning from his sin and finding forgiveness in God, and God blessed him. But Absalom was a complete 180. He sinned, sinned, and sinned again, falling deeper into his lust for power and eventually meeting his end.

I’ve learned (and in some cases, re-learned) a lot of lessons during the first 100 days of my “Odyssey,” but David’s story is both unsettling and comforting all at the same time. It’s actually pretty fascinating. Here we have “a man after God’s own heart,” who is a great, charismatic leader, anointed by God, who is ANYTHING but perfect, gives in to some of the most severe sins imaginable, but then turns back to God, and is blessed again. His family is torn apart, and his sons rebel against him, and yet he still finds comfort in the name of the LORD. Another interesting fact, Solomon, who will eventually become the next king of Israel, is a son of David and Bathsheba! How interesting is that? That a great king, the wisest man ever to live on Earth, would be a child of a man and woman who sinned so harshly? It just proves that even out of the ashes of sin, God can bring about good through His plan! Amazing! But more on Solomon when I get to 1 Kings.

Wrapping it up for tonight, I’m challenging myself that although it may feel good to let my instincts run wild like a runaway train, the most important thing is to keep the reins on! Instead of falling into a pattern of repeated sin, I need to genuinely repent to God, seek His blessing, and He will give it unto me. Absalom could have been a great king. He had all the tools to be a great leader, but he was missing the most important tool of all – His relationship with the Living God! So if you find yourself at a crossroads, one road (probably the hardest one) leading to repentance, and probably some discipline from God, and the other, easier road leading to a little fun, mayhem and self-indulgence, take the holy road, face the music, turn off the safety, set yourself back on the rails, take the first exit off the fast lane, come clean with God, accept the consequences and live the life He designed you for!

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