Jesus, thank you for loving me with an everlasting love. When I am weak, you are strong. When I sin, you forgive me and lift me up. You continue to bless me and I desire to honor and glory you. In Jesus’ name, amen.
2 Samuel 13:15-19
David’s story begins with God rejecting Saul as king because he had grown arrogant and cast God aside. God sent Samuel to anoint David as king even though Saul was still on the throne. In anointing David, we learn that God looks at the heart rather than outward appearances.
David had many early successes. The most well known was his first victory over the giant and warrior Goliath. Saul began using David more because God was with David and was blessing David. Everything David did turned out well.
When David’s fame became greater than Saul’s, Saul became jealous, sensing David would end up taking away the kingdom. Saul decided to kill David. As Saul hunted David, David ended up having two opportunities to kill Saul, but David had mercy and spared his life.
Saul eventually died in battle and David became the new king. Things were good for the kingdom and life was good for David.
One day as he was cooling off on his roof, David caught a glimpse of a beautiful woman bathing. He had an affair with her and she became pregnant. This was a problem for David. After trying to cover up his sin, and failing, he had her husband killed. David thought he had gotten away with his sin, but God was displeased with David’s action.
Everything came out when Nathan, a prophet, came and shared a story with David. Through the story, David realized that and acknowledged his sin. Even though David was cut to the heart, there would be consequences to his actions. For one, the child that was born would die. Also, there would be ripple effects going throughout his family.
One of those ripple effects concern two of his sons, Amnon and Absalom, and his daughter Tamar. Amnon was the oldest son which means that he would end up being king after David dies. We aren’t sure about David’s second, son leading some commentators to believe that David’s second son had died.
Absalom was David’s third son, and Absalom’s mother was Maakah, the daughter of King Talmai king of Geshur. That makes Absalom both a king’s son and a king’s grandson. Absalom had kings all over his family tree.
While Scripture doesn’t give us an idea of Amnon’s mindset, he could have been concerned about Absalom especially with Absalom’s royal lineage or perhaps Amnon was just a jerk and wanted to stick it to the guy who had a king as his father and grandfather. Scripture doesn’t give us any indication about his relationship with Absalom. However, Scripture does give us some insight into how he viewed Absalom’s sister Tamar.
Tamar was Absalom’s full sister having David as a father and a king as her grandfather. She would be Amnon’s half-sister; same father, different mothers.
This weeks Message:
Sermon Audio: David – Family Feuds – Divided
The rape of Tamar by Amnon is not only about his lust, but also dynamics within David’s family. In some ways, Tamar was a pawn for Amnon which explains his hatred for her after his horrendous act. Some commentators question the idea of his love for her believing Tamar was a means to a political end. He never loved her, not really. His greater desire was to humiliate her, her brother, and their family. Which he did. There’s some indication that he could have married her, but he in effect said she wasn’t worth marrying.
This event is too big to cover in one sermon. However, my hope in referencing this incident is to reflect on of how life went for David after his sin with Bathsheba, and how his actions were like seeds planted in his family.
If we stand back a bit, we can see how sin ripples through David’s family. When David learns of what Amnon did to Tamar, he is furious, yet he doesn’t do anything. Nothing. Could it be that this event reminds him of his own sin? Perhaps he no longer has the moral authority that he once did.
Tamar, the victim in this whole mess, begs for Amnon to marry her, which may have been perfectly legitimate in that culture. He has no desire for her. She is an object, a means to his ends.
I could go on and on about all the horrible things in this event; the rape, of course, but also lust for power, using women as objects, using people as a means to an end, or putting personal agendas over everything else. I could point out David, sitting there, doing nothing to lead his family, and doing nothing to get things back on track.
David seems like a shell of a man, broken by his own sin, lacking the moral authority to say anything, his light, that once burned so brightly, has become dull through his own actions. Sin, like the cancer of our soul that it is, not only deadens his own life, it kills his family as well.
Because of David’s lack of action, Absalom decides to take matters into his own hands. For two years his anger lingered creating a burning rage within him. He, like his father, and his brother, creates a plan, then executes it through another’s hands, killing his brother Amnon for what he did to his sister.
Sin brought division into David’s family. We leave this episode with Amnon, David’s first son dead and Absalom, David’s next oldest son, running for his life. This is a mess…sin usually is. David’s heart must be breaking, along with all of his whole family’s.
In his sermon “The New Birth,” John Wesley says that we cannot be happy without holiness. Wesley writes,
For it is not possible, in the nature of things, that a man should be happy who is not holy. Even the poor, ungodly poet could tell us, Nemo malus felix: “no wicked man is happy.” The reason is plain: All unholy tempers are uneasy tempers: Not only malice, hatred, envy jealousy, revenge, create a present hell in the breast; but even the softer passions, if not kept within due bounds, give a thousand times more pain than pleasure. Even “hope,” when “deferred,” (and how often must this be the case!) “maketh the heart sick;” and every desire which is not according to the will of God is liable to “pierce” us “through with many sorrows:” And all those general sources of sin — pride, self-will, and idolatry — are, in the same proportion as they prevail, general sources of misery. Therefore, as long as these reign in any soul, happiness has no place there. But they must reign till the bent of our nature is changed, that is, till we are born again; consequently, the new birth is absolutely necessary in order to happiness in this world, as well as in the world to come.
Reflecting on this season in David’s life, I would agree. David’s sin, along with his sons’ has brought misery. The Old Testament tends not to moralize events. The writers relay events, without moral comments. Sometimes we are left wondering “what’s the point?” of that story or event. Scripture shows us the real consequences of sin. We don’t need someone giving us moral comments to realize the pain sin causes.
We are led to believe that sin is between us and God and we can push God aside, do our own thing, head in our own direction, and we aren’t hurting anyone other than ourselves. Scripture shows something different. We are connected with each other. My actions effect you…but your actions effect me as well. Paul tells us to celebrate with those who celebrate and mourn with those who mourn.
Sin brings division. It divides us from God, from each other, and from ourselves. Sin causes us to live fragmented lives.
The Good News is that Jesus loves us. Through him, sin is defeated and we can have life in the name of Jesus. No longer does sin rule. We can find peace and joy through forgiveness in Jesus.