Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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Pastor's Blog

Growing in Grace 8/12/2012
Dearly beloved,

David had a number of defining points in his life just as you and I have had. So far we have considered four of them : His defeat of Goliath the dwarf, (1 Samuel 17) his friendship with Jonathon, (1 Samuel 20) his fall into deep sin and his coverup,(2 Samuel 11) and his restoration through repentance and faith. (2 Samuel 12)

Today we will consider another defining period of David's life and that is the rift that developed between David and his son Absalom. David had been granted forgiveness upon coming to repentance over his sin but when it came to forgiving his son Absalom for his sin, David struggled within himself to forgive and receive Absalom.

But through a series of circumstances in his life during this painful time for David, the Lord allowed certain things to happen in his life in order to bring him to a place of compassion toward his son, Absalom. He changed David's heart by allowing David to see himself through different eyes. May the Lord give us ears to hear His voice today.

In our fourth meditation life of David through a few select places, we begin by placing the following verses before us which will guide our meditation today.


KJV 2 Samuel 13:37 But Absalom fled, and went to Talmai, the son of Ammihud, king of Geshur. And David mourned for his son every day.

KJV 2 Samuel 13:38 So Absalom fled, and went to Geshur, and was there three years.

KJV 2 Samuel 14:23 So Joab arose and went to Geshur, and brought Absalom to Jerusalem.

KJV 2 Samuel 14:24 And the king said, Let him turn to his own house, and let him not see my face. So Absalom returned to his own house, and saw not the king's face.

KJV 2 Samuel 14:33 So Joab came to the king, and told him: and when he had called for Absalom, he came to the king, and bowed himself on his face to the ground before the king: and the king kissed Absalom.

KJV 2 Samuel 18:5 And the king commanded Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, Deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom. And all the people heard when the king gave all the captains charge concerning Absalom.

KJV 2 Samuel 18:9 And Absalom met the servants of David. And Absalom rode upon a mule, and the mule went under the thick boughs of a great oak, and his head caught hold of the oak, and he was taken up between the heaven and the earth; and the mule that was under him went away.

KJV 2 Samuel 18:33 And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept: and as he went, thus he said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!

We are making a big jump from 2 Samuel 12 to 2 Samuel 18, but we must as this series of meditations was not designed to be an all inclusive verse by verse study of his life as this will be the second to the last one. There are other important times of his life that could have been considered, but the ones that have been chosen were done prayerfully and carefully.

As one studies the life of another through the written word of the Bible, there are far too numerous things to share through writing, so one needs to be careful that the main themes are chosen and developed. Also one needs to keep in mind that the life of David is recorded in the Old Testament while people like Apostle Paul, Peter and John were residents of the New Testament church. David lived before the age of the Holy Spirit and the latter three lived in the time of the New Testament church in which the Holy Spirit was given and will always be present in the temple of the Living God, the believers in Jesus Christ.

Therefore, when we consider the consequences and judgments of God that were placed upon the David and his family as a result of his sin against Bathsheba and against Uriah, (which were first of all against God), we are not permitted to apply these principles straight cross to the New Testament believers of which we are members. This entire discussion of sin and its consequences would take us on an entirely different track and so therefore we are going to purposefully choose to not discuss that very important subject in the light of how it applies to us today in the age of the Holy Spirit.

As I mentioned in the beginning, the track that we will go on today is concerning how David was brought to a place of deeper understanding of grace towards himself and which seems to have led to a greater compassion for his son Absalom. In the last book of Peter this verse is written for us to remember concerning our meditation over this part of the life of David:

KJV 2 Peter 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

David had sinned, had covered things up for approximately a year (while being miserable as Psalm 32 indicates) had come to repentance through the intervention of Nathan the prophet, had heard of the consequences of his sin from Nathan and had experienced the first one through the death of his and Bathsheba's son. In chapter 13 the troubles begin in the family when Amnon the eldest son and half brother of Absalom rapes Tamar, Absalom's full sister. When David hears of it, he is angry about it, but there is no record in the Bible that he did anything about it. Under the law, Absalom should have been put to death as well as Tamar should have been put to death for being with Amnon. Absalom fled to live with his grandfather and was there for three years, and time passed......

Through Joab, David's general, efforts were made to bring Absalom back to his father so that they could be reconciled. This was accomplished to a certain degree, but not all the way as David allowed Absalom to come back, but only to his own house and David did not want to have Absalom in his presence.

KJV 2 Samuel 13:37 But Absalom fled, and went to Talmai, the son of Ammihud, king of Geshur. And David mourned for his son every day.

Which son was David mourning for? Amnon or Absalom? It could be either as understanding the heart of David, with all his sins and faults, he possessed the compassion of God which does not delight in the death of the wicked and yearns for the physically alive to come to him in repentance and faith. Was David stuck between a rock and a hard place since he had escaped the death penalty for killing Uriah which would make it difficult for him to put to death Absalom? Was his guilt for murder still lingering in his mind making it nearly impossible to pass judgment on Absalom?

KJV 2 Samuel 13:38 So Absalom fled, and went to Geshur, and was there three years.

KJV 2 Samuel 14:23 So Joab arose and went to Geshur, and brought Absalom to Jerusalem.

KJV 2 Samuel 14:24 And the king said, Let him turn to his own house, and let him not see my face. So Absalom returned to his own house, and saw not the king's face.

KJV 2 Samuel 14:33 So Joab came to the king, and told him: and when he had called for Absalom, he came to the king, and bowed himself on his face to the ground before the king: and the king kissed Absalom.

Recounting the progression of Absalom's return to Jerusalem, we see that David received his son, kissing him which was the sign of reconciliation between two people. David extended forgiveness to his son it appears, but what was in Absalom's heart at this time? Was he sincere or was he on a track of revenge toward's his father?

KJV 2 Samuel 15:1 And it came to pass after this, that Absalom prepared him chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him.

From here on there is no mystery as to the heart and motive of Absalom: He wants the kingdom of his father and he aims to get it by hook or by crook. One can read the progressive manner that he worked toward his goal, taking advantage of the disillusionment that must have been with the people of David's kingdom as David did not administer justice to Absalom and Tamar. They considered him a weak leader and so it was relatively easy for Absalom to use flattery to sway the people over to his side, even using the kiss to convince his would be followers of his care and concern for them.

We all understand the significance of a kiss, regardless of what culture one comes from. David kissed Absalom in reconciliation, Absalom later used the kiss to deceive, Jesus embraced people in love (there is no record of him kissing someone) Judas used the kiss to betray. Here David shows us the love of God who is gracious and always willing to forgive, recognizing that this grace could be abused or taken advantage of.

Absalom now made his intentions known, David left the city with his faithful followers, and the battle was imminent. As the battle came near, David instructed his generals very plainly to "deal gently with the young man Absalom for my sake."

Here I might make an observation that David during this time had his son turn against him, his faithful servant Ahithophel went over to Absalom's side and the man of Belial, Shimei openly cursed him and threw stones at him. All this he bore patiently and even went so far to say that the man of Belial was a spokesperson for the Lord. (2 Samuel 16:5-14) David exhibits the patience and forbearance of Christ. He had been forgiven much, had struggled in dealing with Absalom's sin, but now appeared to have a graceful and compassionate heart towards him. He did not want his son killed in the battle, and when he heard that he was killed, he was distraught:

KJV 2 Samuel 18:5 And the king commanded Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, Deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom. And all the people heard when the king gave all the captains charge concerning Absalom.

KJV 2 Samuel 18:9 And Absalom met the servants of David. And Absalom rode upon a mule, and the mule went under the thick boughs of a great oak, and his head caught hold of the oak, and he was taken up between the heaven and the earth; and the mule that was under him went away.

KJV 2 Samuel 18:33 And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept: and as he went, thus he said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!

David's heart was for his son in the battle as he waited for word of the outcome, but there was nothing he could do. The One who oversees the outcome of every battle continued to do what He does, using the wood and a tree as his tools to guide Absalom's destiny and David's army's victory as He wished to do. What happened after Absalom was caught in the tree can be read and thought over in 2 Samuel 18 which leads up to the final verse and the heart break of King David. In the lament and anguish over the passing of his son, we are given things to think about. Oh what heart ache when a loved one goes his own way, oh how we wish things would have been different, oh how we long for our loved ones today who are blind to the grace of God in Christ Jesus. Oh, Lord increase our capacity to love those who are lost in darkness of sin and self.

We look forward in the Bible to two similar times of anguish:

Luke 19:41 And when he (Jesus) was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,
42 Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.
43 For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side,
44 And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.

ESV Romans 9:1 I am speaking the truth in Christ- I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit-
2 that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart.
3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers,1 my kinsmen according to the flesh.

God sent his Son to show us his compassion, Apostle Paul came to know, experience and show that same compassion.
David, living many years before Jesus and Paul, seemed to have that same compassion that is demonstrated in the New Testament time. The question for us today is: Where are we in relation to having compassion for others? Do we extend compassion to all regardless of their lack of response or even their angry response? Are we able by the grace of God to look upon those who are against us as opportunities to forgive and love or do we respond towards them by being angry and by rejecting them out of our lives? How will we gather the lost if we reject them? Let us rather gather than reject those souls.

May we learn from our studies in the Old Testament from the life of David that true compassion looks upon those who are angry, rejected, confused, bitter not in those characteristics, but as opportunities to demonstrate the love and compassion of Jesus Christ toward them. This is what David did, not rendering evil for evil, but working to overcome evil with good. David grew in grace towards himself and, therefore he grew in his capacity to be gracious toward others.

May the Word of the Lord be blessing to us today and always. Amen

Pastor Orval Wirkkala


Posted on 12 Aug 2012 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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