Today’s devotion is taken from 2 Samuel 13:23-39
We have in 2 Samuel 13 a tragic story in the life of David where he lost two of his sons, Amnon and Absalom. David’s first born son was Amnon, the crown prince. Amnon had a half sister and half brother called Tamar and Absalom. In the first half of this chapter, we read about the rape of David’s daughter, Tamar by her half brother, Amnon. In the second half of this chapter, we read about the murder of Amnon by Absalom who was avenging what was done to his sister, Tamar. After murdering Amnon, Absalom fled because he was afraid what David might do to him. David experienced great sorrow when he learned of Amnon’s death and Absalom’s flight. This passage is a tragic story but what is this passage teaching us?
Doing what is right
When David found out about the rape of Tamar by Amnon, David neglected his responsibility to execute justice on Amnon. We only read in V.21-22 that David got angry but takes no action to punish a wrongful act (See Exodus 22:16-17). Perhaps David did not feel adequate to hand out a punishment for Amnon when he himself committed sexual sin with Bathsheba. Whatever it is, David could have and should have done something to establish his moral leadership of his family and also his Kingship. Fathers are commanded to raise children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). As Reverend Johnny shared in his Father’s day sermon, as parents, we are called to not be afraid and to be strong and courageous (Joshua 1:9). We must set a standard according to God’s word. This principle applies not only in terms of parenting, but within our workplace or relationships. It also applies if we are leaders in our Church. We must not be afraid to do what is within our biblically mandated authority. Disciplining the one you love is unpleasant and uncomfortable, both for the one receiving and the one applying it. However, we must not be fearful to do what is right. Acting early may prevent ruinous consequences later on in a child’s life or someone’s life or their relationships.
Anger undealt with
Absalom refused to let Amnon get away with what he has done. Absalom is furious but waits 2 years before he kills his brother. For two years, Abasalom did not stop plotting to revenge what Amnon did to Tamar. Absalom nursed his hatred against Amnon until the time was right. Dealing with unresolved anger can lead to bitterness, hardening of the heart and other damaging consequences. Absalom took matters into his own hands and ended up crossing the line from justice to pure revenge. This is precisely why there are numerous warnings for us not to hate people or stay angry. Hatred stirs up quarrels, but love covers all offenses (Proverbs 10:12). Ephesians 4:25 says “Do not let the sun go down on your anger”.
Anger, hate and unforgiveness are destructive emotions. First, we have to exercise self control which means that though we want to act in a certain way but we choose not to because it is against the word of God. Second, Jesus commands us to love our neighbours and to love our enemies (Matthew 5). To choose love and forgiveness requires obedience and humility. Humility because we have to come to the realization that we ourselves were undeserving of forgiveness from Christ. Obedient because we are commanded by the Lord’s prayer to forgive us as we also have forgiven those who sin against us. Just as Jesus forgave the Romans and the Jews for mocking him, spitting him, flogging him and crucifying him when he did not wrong, we must learn to forgive others. Just as Stephen cries out to forgive those who were stoning him to death, we must overcome our human instinct for vengeance and look to the Cross, the ultimate symbol of forgiveness and love.
Heavenly Father, teach us to be strong and courageous to bring up our family in Your ways. Teach us to love and serve our families in Your ways. Help me demonstrate unconditional love to those who hurt me. Help me forgive others as you have forgiven me and grant me a compassionate heart. In Jesus’s name, Amen.