Absalom behaved in this way toward all the Israelites who came to the king asking for justice, and so he stole the hearts of the people of Israel. 2 Samuel 15:6 (NIV)
Much like David, I made a mess of life and my first marriage when I was a young man. Those sins and mistakes are among the long laundry list of sins I have committed that God has graciously forgiven. There are still friends, however, who’ve never spoken to me since. Some I’ve reached out to, but they never reciprocated or returned my calls.
Being forgiven does not erase the fact that we must face the natural consequences of our actions. After being confronted by the prophet Nathan regarding his adultery with Bathsheba and subsequent conspiracy to commit murder, David showed great remorse and sought God’s forgiveness. The events, however, sewed seeds of scandal, anger, and resentment both inside David’s family and in the public among King David’s subjects. Part of Nathan’s prophetic word to David was that the sword would never depart David’s house as the consequences of David’s blind spots would bear bitter fruit.
David’s children knew their father’s weaknesses both as a father and as a king. David’s son Absalom witnessed first-hand King David’s turning a blind eye to the favored, eldest son Amnon’s rape of Absalom’s sister. The seeds of anger, bitterness, and vengeance have taken root in Absalom’s heart. In today’s chapter, Absalom masterfully exploits his father’s scandal and weakened poll numbers in a brilliantly planned and executed coup d’etat. David is forced to make hasty preparation to escape the city with his closest followers and arrange for spies to gather inside information regarding his renegade son and the rebel plot. David’s very own son had stolen his kingdom and was now reaching out to steal his crown.
David, on the run again just as he was as a young man fleeing from Saul, does what he always does. He cries out to God in song. It was during this episode that David, fleeing from his own son and the rebels seeking to usurp his kingdom that David wrote the lyrics to Psalm 3, a desperate plea for God to protect and deliver David and bless God’s people.
Lord, how many are my foes!
How many rise up against me!
Many are saying of me,
“God will not deliver him.”
But you, Lord, are a shield around me,
my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
I call out to the Lord,
and he answers me from his holy mountain.
I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.
I will not fear though tens of thousands
assail me on every side.
Deliver me, my God!
Strike all my enemies on the jaw;
break the teeth of the wicked.
From the Lord comes deliverance.
May your blessing be on your people.
In the quiet this morning, I am reminded of many mistakes I’ve made along the journey and their residual effect on relationships, circumstances, and perceptions. Jesus advised people to “count the cost” before agreeing to follow Him. The same advice might also be given when tempted to sin. There is a cost to wrong-doing and we are all wise to give consideration to the tragic consequences that quote arise in the wake of our poor choices. As the saying goes, “If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.”
A Note to Readers
I’m taking a blogging sabbatical and will be re-publishing my chapter-a-day thoughts on David’s continued story in 2 Samuel while I’m taking a little time off in order to focus on a few other priorities. Thanks for reading.
Today’s post was originally published in May 2014.
Today’s featured image was created with Wonder A.I.
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