Category Archives: II Samuel

God loves you, no matter what

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.

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Filed under Fear, II Samuel, Old Testament

Don’t expect the worst

2 Samuel 9:7

“Don’t be afraid,” David said to him, “for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan.  I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.” NIV

Saul had been the king of Israel before David.  His son, Jonathan, was David’s best friend.  Now, both Saul and Jonathan are dead, and David has asked his people, “Is there anyone left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” (v. 1)  One of David’s servants points out that Mephibosheth, one of Jonathan’s sons is still living and the servant adds, “he is crippled in both feet.”

I, like many people, know what it’s like to live in a less-than-perfect body.  But, in 2010, I am blessed with doctors and remedies that make my situation very livable.  In David’s time, it must have been extremely difficult to be crippled, and not just in one foot, but both.

When I think of Mephibosheth, I have always pictured him as downcast.  Perhaps, I am projecting what I would have felt in his situation, but, that’s how I see him.  The man has had a tough life, and now, his grandfather, who had once been very powerful, is dead, his father is dead, and the new king, whom his grandfather tried very hard to kill has summoned him.

I am betting that Mephibosheth was more than worried about this meeting.  He very well had no idea what David wanted, and, I’m betting, given his history, he did not have high expectations that the encounter would turn out well.

I often find myself thinking that way.  If things have not gone well, I have no reason to assume that they will get better, in fact, I often expect them to just get worse.

But, David tells Mephibosheth not to worry, and then, David restores him to all that the man had when his grandfather was king … and more!

The worst doesn’t always happen … sometimes God has wonderful blessings in store for us, just around the next corner.  But, since he did not equip us to see the future, we don’t know what will happen.

Today, I will think about that, and I will enjoy waiting for God’s next blessing.


Filed under Anxious, Fear, II Samuel, Old Testament