2 Samuel 13:28-29
Absalom ordered his men, “Listen, when Amnon is in high spirits from drinking wine and I say to you, ‘Strike Amnon down,’ then kill him. Don’t be afraid. Have I not given you this order? Be strong and brave.” So Absalom’s men did to Amnon what Absalom had ordered. Then all the kings sons got up, mounted their mules and fled. NIV
I found this verse several weeks ago as I was working my way through my “fear not” list. Even though the King James version clearly says, “fear not,” and even though the NIV also says that Abasalom reassured his men, I didn’t think that this qualified as a reminder not to worry.
This is a bad story. Amnon becomes obsessed with his sister, Tamar, he lures her into his quarters and takes advantage of her. She begs him to marry her, and instead he discards her. Absalom, their brother, is so angry that he cannot contain himself, and ultimately plots the man’s death.
The Message says, “Absalom prepared a banquet fit for a king. Then he instructed his servants …”
A lot of planning went into this, on everybody’s part.
Amnon planned to be ill in bed so that Tamar would come to take care of him, and Absalom plotted out getting Amnon drunk so that he could be killed.
But, here’s the thing: no-one seems to feel at all good about this, and, when all of the kings sons run off after Amnon is killed, they were likely pretty worried about what would happen next.
So, what’s the point here?
I’m pretty sure that this story is here to provide us an example.
When David first hears the news, it gets bungled. He is told that Absalom has killed all of his brothers. This means that almost all of David’s sons are dead, and he is, understandably, devastated. “The king stood up, ripped his clothes to shreds, and threw himself on the floor. All his servants who were standing around at the time did the same.” MSG
Then, David’s brother tells him that only Amnon has been killed, saying, “This has been Absalom’s expressed intention ever since Amnon raped his sister Tamar.”
So, all of the brothers, except Absalom come to David, and everyone mourns.
It’s like a Tennessee William’s play. I’ve often heard it said that at the start of a Tennessee Williams play everyone is on their way to hell in a hand basket and by the end of the last act, they’re there.
The example, I think, is David’s love for his children. Amnon was clearly not a good guy, and yet, David loved him. He bitterly mourned the man’s death.
Absalom goes off the rails, kills his brother, and then, as I remember the story, romps around the countryside doing a whole variety of unpleasant things, and yet, David still loves him. The story is long and convoluted and Absalom makes things miserable for everyone, but, when he is finally dead, David mourns him, too. I remember the first time I read this story. I was so suprised that David would be so upset when Abasalom died because he had been so awful to David and to everyone else.
But, David loved his children.
Just like God loves His children.
We have free will. We can make a complete mess of our lives here and yet, God still loves us. So, while I can’t say that any part of this story holds something not to worry about … I can say that God cares enough to provide us detailed examples of a father’s love. He knew that not all of us would have earthly fathers who would fulfill that role, and so, He gives us the story of David’s love for his wayward children in detail, that we might glimpse a portion of the love that He has for us.
David was a good father. God is the ultimate father, a father who loves His children, no matter what. Now, that’s a reminder not to worry.
That’s what I will think about today.