Loving Absalom

“If I were his/her parent…” Have you ever heard someone say this?  You may have heard it from seasoned grandparent or a couple that doesn’t have kids.  Often this is a phrase that comes out in the midst of a tough parenting moment.  It comes out in the grocery store, over coffee with friends, even in the church building. There is an idea behind this phrase that the person saying it would do better; or at least do differently, and often it is complete bologna. Last week, as I was doing my personal Bible reading I came across the story of Absalom.  Absalom was the son of King David and his story is found in 2 Samuel 13 and carries all the way to chapter 19.  By the end of the story, I found myself uttering that same phrase, “If Absalom had been my child, I would have…”  Needless to say, I would not have been very gracious.  See, Absalom’s story began with the assault of his sister by his half-brother.  When his father refused to administer justice, he took matters into his own hands.  He killed his brother and for that he was banished.  Eventually, David began to miss Absalom and he was convinced to bring him back to Jerusalem, but Absalom returned a different man.  He returned arrogant, unrepentant, entitled, and feeling justified.  It did not take long for him to begin to think that he would be a better king than his father.  After some time, he chose to act on that thought and began a coup. David was forced to flee Jerusalem and only by the grace of God was he able to escape, regroup, and reclaim his throne. 2 Samuel 18:5 says, “The king charged Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, “Deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom.” And all the people heard when the king charged all the commanders concerning Absalom.”  Wait… what?  Did I miss something?  This spoiled little punk committed a crime.  David showed him mercy, and he repaid him with an insurrection.  Now David wants his commanders to show him more mercy?  As we continue to read, we learn that Joab did not follow David’s orders and kills him despite the fact that he did not have to. Picking up in verse 33 after David hears the news, “The king was deeply moved and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. And thus he said as he walked, ‘O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!’”  Why is David acting this way?  Why if he were my son, I would have…. Oh… My problem is that I put myself in the shoes of the wrong person.  In this story, I am NOT David…  I am ABSALOM. Think about it for a moment….

  • Absalom was unwilling to wait on justice, so he took matters into his own hands.
  • Absalom was unrepentant in every way; even when he knew he was wrong.
  • Absalom was a flatterer who loved to gather people who only affirmed him.
  • Absalom thought he could do a better job than the king
  • Absalom removed the true king in order to make his own kingdom.

I could say the same thing about myself as it relates to my Heavenly Father as well.  All too often I am unwilling to wait on God’s timing.  I am unrepentant even when I know I am wrong.  I would rather be around people that support my sinful actions than godly people who might confront me.  I often think I know what is best over God’s Word. Ultimately, my sin proves that I am a rebel, hostile towards God, deserving judgment. But David’s heart reflects that of our God.  He loves us despite our rebellion. And What David could not do (taking the place of Absalom), God did when he sent his only Son to die in our place. Every.  Single.  One of us is a rebel deserving the same fate of Absalom, but God in his tremendous love for us took that punishment on himself in order to restore us as His Sons & Daughters. So praise the Lord that I am not David, because I would have done it wrong.  May I never forget that I am a sinner saved by grace, and may I share that grace with all who might receive it!