Re:Verse passage – 2 Samuel 15 (day five) What is your instinct and reaction when you are betrayed? Psalm 55 gives us a glimpse into David’s heart and perspective. He is honest…”My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught because of what my enemy is saying, because of the threats of the wicked; for they bring down suffering on me and assail me in their anger.”He is hurting…”If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were rising against me I could hide. But it is you, with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship at the house of God, as we walked about among the worshipers.” Yet, David is hopeful… “As for me, I call to God, and the Lord saves me.Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.”
David’s example serves us well. When he was betrayed, he didn’t chase after Absalom, he chased after God… “Listen to my prayer, O God, do not ignore my plea; hear me and answer me. But as for me, I trust in you.”
It never works to try to bargain with God. It is called ‘foxhole religion’. “Lord, if you will just get me out of this situation, I’ll serve you, forever.” Have you ever done that? Absalom claimed he had vowed to serve the Lord if He would bring him back to Jerusalem. (V. 8) For Absalom, it was a ploy to get out of town without causing a stir. For us, it may be a selfish condition we try to place on God, if He wants our obedience.
Do we really expect God to do our bidding, in order to earn our obedience? We serve God out of love… because He is worthy…because He has already paid for our worship with the blood of His Son. We talked about it last week…if God never did anything else, is it worth it to serve Him? Is it worth our obedience if there is nothing else in it for us? “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
“Absalom provided himself with a chariot and horses and with fifty men to run ahead of him.”
No, this is not a report chronicling yet another person announcing a candidacy in the run-up to primary season. But seriously, folks, how does someone become famous? How does someone become an odds-on favorite in politics or entertainment or in any kind of contested public endeavor? If you want to be the winner, you put yourself out there. You bootstrap it. You do the PR. You rent the billboard, you build the website. You shake the hands and kiss the babies. You give the people what they want, and they’ll give you what you want. And then, just like that, you’ll be swept away by the next big thing.
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.