Published August 12, 2010
2 Samuel 15:13-14, 24-26, 30-37; 19:7-8a
Bible Studies for Life, Aug 29
In last week’s lesson we mentioned that although David confessed his sins and was forgiven, the consequences prophesied by Nathan in 12:7-12 came to pass. In this lesson we are going to look at them in more detail, and learn from David’s responses – both good and bad.
In chapter 12, Nathan told David that because he had killed Uriah with the sword, the sword would never depart from his house (family). He further told David that while his sexual sin was committed privately, David’s family would be involved in open sexual sin.
It is important to note that though all sins have consequences, some sins have greater consequences than others. Also, sins that cause greater shame to the name of the Lord may have more severe consequences.
In chapter 13, we see the prophecies of Nathan begin to come to pass.
• Amnon, one of David’s sons, raped his half sister, Tamar.
• After two years of anger, another of David’s sons, Absalom, planned and carried out the murder of Amnon, then fled.
• Joab, one of David’s key military leaders, orchestrated Absalom’s return to Jerusalem. However, as soon as he returned to Jerusalem, Absalom began to plot a rebellion against his father, David, so he could become king.
• In 2 Samuel 15, Absalom succeeded in turning the hearts of the people from David to himself, the coup began and David was forced to flee for his life. Absalom pursued David, and finally in a major battle, troops loyal to David defeated Absalom’s troops, and Joab, the commander of David’s army, killed Absalom.
In all these crises, there are some positive things David did that we should emulate. There are also some mistakes he made that we want to avoid.
First, look at the negatives. In almost every decision David made in regards to handling crises in his family, he failed. It is obvious from David’s response to Amnon raping Tamar that David was a poor disciplinarian. Scripture says when David learned about it, “he was furious” (13:31) but records no indication that he did anything about it.
It seems he basically decided to give Amnon a pass. We don’t see David disciplining his son, either in his role as the father, or the role of king.
David’s parenting failures were also evident when Absalom murdered Amnon. David was upset, and “wept very bitterly” (13:36). But once David was over his grief, he wanted to go see Absalom.
Rather than be concerned that Absalom had murdered his brother, David became very sad that Absalom was not with him. It is obvious that David had strong favorites among his children
The third big parenting failure is seen when David favored Absalom, and was so co-dependent on him that he was more concerned Absalom had died than thankful that the rebellion had been put down and peace restored to the land (18:33-19:4).
In summary, when it comes to handling the difficult responsibilities of parenting, we definitely do not want to follow David’s example.
However, when it comes to trusting God and entrusting our lives to Him, David’s examples shine! First, when the prophesied painful consequences of his [forgiven] sins began to happen, we never see David rebelling against God, nor complaining or even questioning Him. This is a powerful example of how we, as believers, should respond to painful events that come into our lives – by trusting God’s love and care for us.
The second positive example for us is seen when David learned that his trusted advisor, Ahithophel, had joined with Absalom. This was very painful to David. This may well have been what David was referring to in Psalm 41:9 when he said, “Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.”
David had a wonderful balance of trusting God and being responsible. Upon learning of Ahithophel’s betrayal, David instructed another of his friends and counselors, Hushai, to return to Jerusalem and use his counsel to frustrate the counsel of Ahithophel.
The third positive example for us is how David entrusted his future and well-being to the Lord when he was forced to flee Jerusalem. The priests and Levites took the ark (remember 2 Samuel 6?) and went with David as he fled. But David told Zadok to take the ark back to Jerusalem, refusing to use it as a tool for God’s protection. David said that God would bring him back to Jerusalem, or if He did not, David would accept whatever happened (15:24-26).
Then, as Absalom and his men continued to pursue him, David organized his troops to fight against Absalom’s troops (chapter 18). These are good illustrations of words attributed to a famous missionary, who said, “Pray as if everything depends upon God, and work as if everything depends upon you.”
The next positive illustration is seen in 19:1-8, when David, disconsolate over the death of Absalom, did respond to the strong counsel – basically a rebuke from his friend, Joab – and began to resume the leadership position God had given him as king.
Likely you have heard the saying, “Experience is the best teacher.” This is only partly true. Romans 15:4 says, “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us.” 1 Corinthians 10:11, speaking of the Israelites, says, “These things happened as examples for us, and were written down as warnings for us …”
Crises, both personal and family, are going to come into each of our lives. Therefore, when we read the stories of the good, the bad, and the ugly sides of God’s people, let’s change that old saying to “Someone else’s experience is the best teacher!”
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