Israel 2016

Israel 2016
Roman architectural influence in Bet Sean, Israel

Friday, April 7, 2017

Canonical Reading Plan for Apr 8, 2 Sam 13-15

Today's readings are 2 Sam 13-15.

Family tensions rise in 2 Sam 13:1-14. David has been forgiven of his sin with Bathsheba, but there are still consequences he must live with. One of his sons, Amnon (2 Sam 3:2), burns with the same consuming lust David had. Amnon rapes his half-sister Tamar (1 Chr 3:2), who was willing to be his wife if only he would approach the king and ask for her (2 Sam 13:13). Amnon is willing to exchange a few moments of pleasure for a lifetime with the woman he was so smitten by! How easy it is to sin, thinking the momentary pleasure will satisfy us, all the while surrendering enduring peace and joy.

Amnon’s guilt causes him to send Tamar away to her brother, Absalom (2 Sam 3:3). In time, Absalom kills Amnon (2 Sam 13:23-29), setting off another chain of events and revealing a rebellious and murderous heart in Absalom. Note, while these sons and daughter of David are all brothers and sisters, they do not all have the same mother.

David has no control over his sons, just as Adam and Eve had none over theirs (Gen 4:8), just as Eli (1 Sam 2:12) and Samuel (1 Sam 8:1-3) had no control over theirs. Banished by David, Absalom flees to Gershur to stay with his grandfather, leaving David to mourn Amnon. Keep your eye on Absalom. Notice how God will use an evil, ungodly person to accomplish His will.

Joab sends a woman to David who pulls a Nathan on him, as we saw in 2 Sam 12:1-7, causing David to realize he should be merciful toward Absalom (2 Sam 13:1-20). Absalom returns to Jerusalem where he waits four years to show his gratitude to David (2 Sam 15:7), a hint of his heart attitude.

In return for the grace he received from David, Absalom plots to steal the kingdom from David through subterfuge and politicking. He is successful, eventually declaring himself king (2 Sam 15:1-12).

David, realizing his support has eroded to the point that he may be unable to defend the city, flees Jerusalem to avoid a massacre (2 Sam 15:13-17). He stops to assess those who remain that are loyal to him (2 Sam 15:18-23). The number is substantial.

David has made a wise move. Rather than risking a battle in the city with questionable support, he has removed himself and paused long enough to inventory the size of his army and to see who he can trust.

In an act of faith and trust in God, David sends the ark back to Jerusalem, accompanied by trusted Levites and priests (2 Sam 15:24-29). Abiathar has proven his loyalty (1 Sam 22:20-23). He and Zadok make a sacrifice and offer up prayers for the king (2 Sam 15:24).

Further betrayal ensues when David finds out Ahitophel, one of his counselors, has defected (2 Sam 15:12, 31). While he is weeping at a place “where God is worshiped,” God sends some encouragement in the form of Hushai, an Archite (Jos 16:2) who supports David. Ever the strategist, David sends Hushai to infiltrate Absalom’s court (2 Sam 15:32-37). Note, the encouragement comes at a place of worship.

What an incredible turn of events! All of this began with David being where he did not belong, at home while kings went out to war. David's sin has done what invading armies were unable to do, throw the kingdom into turmoil and division. God forgives our sins and restores us into a relationship with Him, just like He did with David, but there may be earthly consequences.

Furthermore, we, like David, love our children and have great influence on them, positive and negative. Still, we are not responsible for their actions as adults since we are unable to continue to control them and mold them. Only God can do that. Trusting them into His hands can be one of the hardest things we ever do. One of the great lessons we learn from David, particularly in these chapters, is to keep our focus on Him and keep our focus on God rather than our circumstances or our children. They're all in His hands.

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