But Ittai answered the king and said, “As the Lord lives, and as my lord the king lives, surely wherever my lord the king may be, whether for death or for life, there also your servant will be.” Vs. 21
Who was this Ittai character, and why didn’t David act more like him? Maybe you missed this verse. There are many names and places mentioned and many are not spoken of again. Friends of David turning to follow Absalom. Friends of David sent to spy on Absalom. Friends of Absalom giving really bad counsel. Then there is Ittai. While we may not know his back story, we can see he is a man of conviction. He recognizes David’s authority and shows great integrity by staying at his side.
This rift between David and Absalom had grown and simmered for many years, and from our text there seems to be no attempts at true reconciliation. Absalom deals with his anger by plotting for years to take the kingdom. David, the true king, flees. Is this the same David who killed his tens of thousands in battle with Saul? Where was the David we tell our kids about in Sunday school? Is this evidence of the guilt he still carried from his very public shame? We are not told. What we are told is the David ran rather than confront his own son. Is your conflict worth giving up the kingdom?
The last word Jesus gave us before his ascension in Matthew was the great commission: Matthew 28:18-20. What amazes me about this passage is how often well-intentioned churches do the exact opposite of what Jesus asks us to do:
Jesus said “go” – we like to stay right where we are, or at least leave our faith right where it is.
Jesus said “make disciples” – our best efforts are usually just to invite people to church, because inviting people to church takes minimal effort.
Jesus said “baptize” – we try to get this one right in the Baptist world, but I’m not sure we recognize baptism as one step of four commands in the great commission.
Jesus said “teach them to obey all that I commanded you” – we usually teach toward knowledge not obedience, and certainly not obedience to ALL of Christ’s commands.
Jesus gave us clear instructions may we be who Jesus Christ has called us to be.
If you don’t mind, I am taking a little detour into Matthew 28, rather than sticking with 2 Samuel 13. Being Easter, I thought it only fitting.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…” Matthew 28:19
The truest Christian life, is a life never alone. By definition the Christian life can only be lived in relationship; it’s its very purpose (John 17:3). So, it is no wonder Jesus concludes Matthew 28 in this way, “as you go, you will see I am always with you; you will never go alone.” Okay, I added a few words, but isn’t that what Jesus is saying?
The disciples were worried of course, left to fulfill Jesus’ mission in His absence (at least so they thought), but I think these words were intended for more than just assurance. What if they were intended to help them in the going, a little motivation. So rather than don’t worry, I will always be with you, Jesus meant, when you go, you will see me there.
Let me flip it. What if we struggle to see Jesus (or feel alone) sometimes because we are slow in the going? If we could only get the lead out of our feet, maybe we would have regular encounters with Jesus.
vs. 21 Now when King David heard of all these matters, he was very angry.
I keep looking for the verse or verses that were never written. Maybe a verse where David shows compassion and encouragement to Tamar. Or, where he rebukes and disciplines Amnon. Yet, none of those things happened. Why? Well, verse 21 might give us a hint. The reference to his anger was to David’s title as King rather than his responsibility and calling as father. A lesson for all parents. There are always relationships and layers that we must filter decisions, responses, and actions through. However, the most important ones are the relationships within our families (Husband, Wife, Father, Mother, Son, Daughter). We must always remember to keep family relationships at the top of our priorities and responsibilities. By God’s design, those key relationships are the best images and portrayals of the gospel.
Why would this account of palace intrigue even be included in Scripture? It might have to do with succession to the throne. Amnon was, after all, the eldest son of David and the likely heir to the throne. His counsel came from a cousin, Jonadab, who was the son of one of David’s older brothers. Jonadab may have even had aspirations for the throne himself. (He was shrewd!) Then, there was Absalom, and later Adonijah (the oldest after Amnon and Absalom’s death). David’s plan all along was that his successor would be Solomon. God had a plan that ran all through history…a family line that would lead to the birth of Christ.
The word is ‘sovereignty’…God is sovereign over all creation, all history, and all governments…everything! Does ‘everything’ include our lives? Is God sovereign over the events of my life? Am I really in charge of my own destiny? Seeking God first can make such a difference in our lives pointing others to Him!
Mercenary, opportunist, chameleon: Meet Jonadab, advisor to cads, keeper of scuttlebutt, guardian of plausible deniability. One day he’s advising Amnon on exactly how to trap and rape Tamar, another day he’s filling the role of king-whisperer as the only one who has the straight story to calm an increasingly panicked David amid an onslaught of fake news in the wake of events provoked by the trapping and raping of Tamar. Jonadab was there at the hatching of the sexual assault plan; he was there to soothe souls in the aftermath of sexual assault revenge. He sprang into action whenever he saw that he could be useful. Amnon liked having him around, wouldn’t you think? David probably did, too. Everybody spoke well of him. It seems Jesus had something to say about that kind of thing.
Thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, I will raise up evil against you from your own household; 12:11
But Absalom did not speak to Amnon either good or bad; for Absalom hated Amnon because he had violated his sister Tamar. 13:22
Don’t ever let yourself become convinced that your “secret” sin will only impact your life, and that you and you alone will carry the consequences if you are ever found out. The truth of the matter is that our lives are so intricately woven with our families, our friends, even those who associate with us. They all notice our choices, actions, and often suffer with us. We cannot walk in sin and extricate our lives from those who are watching. We may not walk the same road as David, but his life should serve as a cautionary tale to all of us who harbor “secret” sin. It is always less secret than we realize, and the consequences are almost always more public than we could have ever imagined.
However, because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme… (2 Samuel 12:14)
Often, I forget the ever-expanding reach of sin. Sometimes I can imagine how choices may impact me, or maybe, if I’m generous, I can see how those choices might affect those around me. However, in this verse we are reminded that ripples emanate out of our sin that touch countless people.
Others began to use David’s sin to discredit God and use David’s sin as permission to do whatever they wanted. May our lives never be so. May our actions bring people into God’s presence rather than push them away.