November 14, 2021
Beware Of Following Absalom’s Footsteps – 2 Samuel 13
In the sermon he delivered on November 14, 2021, Pastor Eric shared the story of Absalom, King David’s son, through which he emphasized the importance of allowing the Lord to avenge our sins.
Read 1 Samuel 13:13-14
Israel was ruled by Saul prior to the accession of David as king. In preparing his army for battle against the Philistines, Saul was aware that their chances of victory were slim. When Saul’s men saw the approaching enemy, they became frightened at the prospect of certain defeat. Saul was instructed to wait for Samuel for seven days before taking action, after which he would be advised of how to proceed. Unable to wait, Saul took matters into his own hands and began to offer sacrifices to the Lord in an attempt to gain God’s favour in battle. His plan failed because burnt offerings were the sole responsibility of the priests. Therefore, he was prohibited from offering sacrifices. When Samuel arrived, he reprimanded Saul for disobeying the Lord. As a result, some permanent promises were withdrawn. Read what God had to say about David in the following verse.
Read Acts 13:22
David was a man after God’s own heart, and therefore he was willing to do all that God asked of him. He was fully committed to God. What a testament to David’s character! We are to follow God’s instructions, as David did, rather than do good things for Him that He did not ask us to do.
Read 2 Samuel 7:1-7
As we see in this passage, David is living in a lavish cedar home that is both permanent and stable, while the Ark of the Covenant, which represents God’s dwelling, is concealed in a tent, a temporary and frail structure. David therefore decided to build a permanent temple for the Lord. The prophet Nathan, however, reminded David that God has no geographical limitations: God cannot be limited to one specific place. David’s good idea was contrary to God’s plan. David presumed God wanted a house in which He could dwell. However, David was told by the Lord that he was not to build God a dwelling, but rather, God would build a place for all of Israel. The above example illustrates why it is important for us to seek further instructions from the Lord, rather than follow our own ideas that appear right in our own eyes.
Read Luke 2:51 and Acts 2:46-47
As with Jesus, the early church enjoyed favour with God and people. Much can be learned from their example. Moreover, because Christians represent Jesus to the world, we should care about the way people perceive us.
Read 2 Samuel 5:13 and Deuteronomy 17:17
Both Solomon and David had many wives. Using Solomon as an example, we know that his many wives turned his heart away from God and led him to worship foreign gods. This is an example in the Old Testament where God tolerates something without necessarily endorsing it. Throughout the Old Testament, there is much tolerance, even though it is not God’s will.
Read 2 Samuel 13:5 and Deuteronomy 22:28-29
David had several wives and concubines. He fathered Absalom and Tamar with Maacah. David’s eldest son, Amnon, harboured feelings for his half-sister, Tamar. Despite his numerous attempts to approach her, he was unsuccessful. Jonadab, Amnon’s friend, suggested that Amnon lie on his bed, pretend to be ill, and invite his half-sister to lie next to him, so he did. Once Amnon was alone with Tamar, he committed the unthinkable: he raped her. Back in those days, if a man raped a woman who was not engaged or betrothed, he was obliged to pay a sum of money to her father and had to marry her. The only way out of this situation would be if the girl’s father refused to give her away. In the event that the girl’s father refused, the offender would be required to pay a more substantial sum.
Read 2 Samuel 13:15-16
A second act of outrageous behaviour was then performed by Amnon. Rather than marrying her, he sent her away, ruining her future. She was devastated. In those days, a single woman was regarded as an indication of a serious problem. It was a sign that she was either barren or cursed. Therefore, even though Absalom had raped Tamar, she still desired to marry him.
Read 2 Samuel 13:21-22
David and Absalom were furious when they learned what had happened to Tamar. Absalom hated his brother Amnon for violating his sister, and although David was very angry, he did not take any action to remediate the situation. Thus, Amnon seems to have gotten away with his crime and Tamar does not appear to have received justice.
Read 2 Samuel 13:23
Absalom’s scheme was similar to that of Amnon’s. Absalom requested David’s permission to invite all the king’s sons to the feast where he would have Amnon killed. Two years of simmering animosity and bitterness led to the death of his brother. While it is important to stand up for justice, if we experience injustice in our own lives, we should not attempt to rectify the situation on our own. Doing so will result in our own destruction. Sadly, even within families, strong bonds can be severed due to bitterness. It is essential that this issue be resolved. Those who feel that justice has been denied to them to this day, and who still harbour bitterness within them, they are invited to hand over their bitterness to God today. The Lord does not condone, approve or endorse injustice. At the moment, bitterness only harms one person, and that is you. Being angry with someone has been compared to drinking poison and hoping the other person dies. Unresolved bitterness has the same effect on us. Bitterness kills. It saps our motivation. It prevents us from moving forward. We are to let go of bitterness as God invites us to cast our cares upon Him.
Do you still harbour unresolved bitterness?