2 Samuel 14; 15

Rebellion At Home.

“Absalom stole the hearts of all the people of Israel.” ­– 2 Samuel 15:6 NLT

The ramifications of David’s sin with Bathsheba continue. Not only has David lost the child that Bathsheba was to give birth to, he has lost his son Amnon, who was killed by his brother Absalom for raping their sister Tamar. Then David banished his son Absalom from the kingdom and refused to deal with him for more than two years. He did not seek him out to punish him for murdering Amnon and he did not seek him out to offer amnesty. He did nothing. God had warned David that there would be consequences for his sin with Bathsheba. Among the things God had told David was the fact that he would experience rebellion in his own home. “Because of what you have done, I, the LORD, will cause your own household to rebel against you” (2 Samuel 12:11 NLT). Chapters 14 and 15 record the fulfillment of this prophecy from God.

Once again, we see David’s inaction and seeming ineptitude to dealing with the problem of Absalom. Rather than take control of the situation, he let it fester. He allowed Absalom to languish in exile, making no attempt to remedy the matter. It wasn’t until Joab attempted to pull a “Nathan the Prophet” plan that David was forced to take action. Using a woman disguised as a widow who told David a story about her two sons, Joab forces David to see the situation surrounding Absalom from a new perspective. He agrees to allow Absalom to return to Jerusalem, but then refuses to see him. So Absalom returns, only to find himself banished from the king’s presence. Two more years will pass, with Absalom growing increasingly frustrated and angry over David’s rejection of him. When he finally gets David to see him, it appears all is well, but Absalom has been poisoned by the treatment he has received. And he begins a methodical plan to take over his father’s kingdom. He does it by slowly winning over the hearts of the people. He begins to undermine their trust in David. He becomes their friend and confidant. Driven by bitterness and anger against his dad, Absalom seeks revenge, and fulfills the warning that God had given David.

David is forced to flee from the city of God. When he hears that Absalom has solidified his standing with the people and successfully completed his coup attempt, David flees instead of fighting. He gives up. Rather than stand against Absalom, he does nothing again. He abandons the city. And while we could probably applaud David’s seeming willingness to leave matters in God’s hands, it seems sad that the king of Israel, God’s chosen leader to protect the people of Israel and the city of God, would just walk away, leaving it all in the hands of a murderer and conspirator. Perhaps David is resigned to accept that this is all part of God’s punishment of him for his sin with Bathsheba. But it is almost as if a melancholy still lingers in David since his sin was originally exposed. He does not appear to be the man we have come to know. His inaction is uncharacteristic. He is not the young man who took matters into his own hands and single-handedly took on the giant Goliath. Now, when faced with a difficulty, he seems to run. David’s sin had compromised his decision-making abilities. He doesn’t seem to know what to do. But rather than seek God’s will, he seeks to leave – to run away. He abdicates his throne as easily as he had abdicated his responsibilities as a father. When the situation required decisiveness, he did nothing. His inaction had driven his own son to rebel against him. His unwillingness to deal with the matter had not made it go away, it just delayed the inevitable. His inaction had produced a negative reaction. The man after God’s own heart had seemingly lost heart. So we find him leaving the city of Jerusalem in mourning, his tail between his legs. But things would get worse before they got better.

Father, forgive me for the times when I choose inaction over action. When I choose to do nothing instead of take responsibility and make the difficult decisions that need to be made. Give me the strength to stand up and be the man you’ve called me to be. While I always want to trust You, I know there are times I need to step up and do the right thing. Help me to do so. Show me how to deal with the Absaloms in my life biblically and decisively. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men