Covered: Psalms 51, 2 Samuel 24, Psalms 1, 19, 24, 103, 119
Not Covered: 2 Samuel 13-23, 1 Chronicles 21-29, 1 Kings 1
Scripture Memory: Help in Temptation – Hebrews 2:18, Psalms 119:9,11
The Book of 2 Samuel can be divided into two main sections – David’s triumphs and David’s troubles. The life of David is both an inspiration, and a warning for believers who need to pattern their lives after God’s own heart, and to avoid the pitfalls of sin. As with David, the ancient king, your life’s course can be dramatically altered by following your fleshly desires rather than submitting to the control of God’s Spirit. While God does not allow your sin to go unpunished, He graciously weaves even your failures into the accomplishment of His will, and the display of His glory. There’s an old saying that sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.
Psalm 51, a prayer of repentance and restoration, (and covered in our reading this week) was actually written in response to David’s sin with Bathsheba.
Who was watching the King during the entire escapade – his children. Children are always watching their parents – they notice everything. They learn from our actions or inactions. So, not only does trouble come to David, but to his children as well. That leads us to a big portion of Scripture (2 Samuel 13- 19) that was not covered in our reading this week. It is a story that would rival any Netflix drama, and have us all on the edge of our seats. It’s a story of lust, temptation, greed, rape, murder, revenge, power, and it all happens in one very dysfunctional family – King David’s family!
Now Amnon, the firstborn of David’s sons thought his half-sister Tamar was beautiful, and he lusted after her. Amnon’s friend and cousin, Jonadab, helped Amnon devise a wicked plan where Amnon would pretend to be sick. Amnon then talked his father, King David, into letting his half-sister Tamar come to him, and prepare food. Amnon dismissed everyone from his home except for Tamar, and instructed her to come, and feed him in his bedroom. (Big Red Flag Here!) Then, when she got close enough, he grabbed her and raped her, despite her cries for him to stop.
After the rape, Amnon threw Tamar out of his house in disgrace. His change of behavior shows his lack of care and concern for Tamar. It also shows us that his only desire was to gratify his own lustful passions. As for Tamar, her virginity and therefore her eligibility for an honorable marriage was lost, not to mention the complete humiliation and trauma she must have felt.
When Tamar’s brother Absalom, David’s third born son, found out what had happened, he hated Amnon for it. When King David heard about it he was furious, however, he did not take any appropriate actions. In fact, he did nothing! With no rebuke or confrontation mentioned, King David seemed to value harmony rather than justice. He not only permitted unrepentant sin to remain in his household, but he also set into motion the undermining of his entire family and kingdom. Perhaps King David felt that because of his own sexual sin with Bathsheba, he was disqualified to rebuke his son. However, while you must confess and repent of your own sin before addressing another’s, no past personal failing should keep you from confronting someone with God’s Word. (Matt 7:3-5)
Since his father, King David, did not handle this matter, Absalom took his righteous desire for judgment and misdirected it into an unrighteous response of revenge. Two years after the rape of his sister, he invited his brothers to come together for the sheep shearing feast he was hosting. Absalom instructed his young men to kill Amnon once he was drunk with wine. They did, and when the rest of the king’s sons saw what happened, they all fled in fear.
Word reached the King that “All” of his sons had been murdered by Absalom. However, Jonadab (remember the cousin who helped Amnon come up with the plan to sleep with Tamar), spoke up and told the king that “only” Amnon was killed. Absalom had planned his revenge ever since the day that Amnon disgraced his sister Tamar. I wonder if Jonadab felt any guilt about his part to play in all of this? Probably not?
After the murder, Absalom fled to Geshur and stayed there for three years. King David grieved over the death of Amnon, and the absence of his son, Absalom. Eventually, Absalom was summoned by King David to come home, where they “reconciled” because David still loved his son. After this so-called reconciliation, Absalom turned his attention to winning the favor of the people and taking David’s throne.
Absalom led a full out rebellion against his father the King, causing King David and his household to flee Jerusalem. Absalom’s anger and jealousy toward his father had obviously turned to intense hatred, and he wanted his father dead. However, we know that pride goes before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18) Absalom’s self-promotion led to nothing. God is Sovereign, and He opposed Absalom’s plan to overthrow his father’s kingdom. Absalom was killed, thus ending his rebellion. All events are settled in eternity, and nothing, not even the Absalom’s of the world, can prevent the power of God to do as He pleases in history.
King David remained a man loyal to the Lord, yet he faced enormous challenges and heartache because of his disobedience. God’s grace enabled him to continue in his reign and to receive the blessing of God so that his throne endured throughout the ages, yet David faced the reality of the consequences of his sin.
Perhaps Amnon’s murder, Absalom’s rebellion and death, and the near civil war with David’s kingdom could have been avoided if David had chosen to confront sin rather than to dismiss it. Perhaps Tamar’s rape could have been avoided if Amnon wouldn’t have listened to his cousin or his lustful flesh. James 1:15 tells us that when evil desire is conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
1 John 2:1 tells us that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
The difference in King David and his sons was that he did confess his sins, and God forgave him. David always chose to entrust himself to the mercies of Yahweh. His heart was pointed toward the Lord!
How will you handle temptation which could lead to sin in your life? One of my favorite Bible Teachers, Donna Gaines, said that there are four voices we hear:
The World says, “Conform to Me”
Satan says, “Listen to Me”
Our Flesh says, “Satisfy Me”
Jesus says,” Come to me, Follow Me”
Whose voice are you listening to? Let’s take a lesson from the story of King David, and listen to the voice of Jesus!
Written by: Julie O’Neal
Photo Credit: Norman Strickland