God is Setting All Things Right. So I am Blogging Through the Bible in a Year.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

May 15 - 2 Samuel 13-15: The Tragedy of Tamar; The Corruption of Absalom

Today’s Reading: 2 Samuel 13-15

The Message

English Standard Version

Thought to Guide Your Reading

No one consults with God during these events.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

Amnon, David's firstborn, wanted his half-sister Tamar. While she pleaded for marriage, he raped and tossed her out.
Absalom created a ruse by invited David's sons to eat a feast. He killed Ammon then fled to escape his father's fury.
Joab, through a widow, convinced David to bring Absalom back; however, David would not see Absalom. Two years later, David and Absalom finally reconciled.
Later on, Absalom usurped his father's throne. David and his servants fled, except ten concubines left as caretakers. Per David's orders, the Ark of the Covenant remained in Jerusalem. David sent Hushai to spy on Absalom.

How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right

God's prophecy is coming true.

Nathan told David his house would divide and he would be openly humiliated. In a couple of days we will have the second part of David's punishment come true.

Amnon and Tamar show the perils of unabated lust.

Tamar is the victim of a horrific act. She is raped by a man she was willing to marry, and then thrown out as a piece of trash. She was betrayed by her brother, Absalom, when he suggested the plan to Amnon (although he did not know Amnon would treat his sister that way). In the end she lives her life as an old maid, bitter and childless. All of this happened because a man was unwilling to marry the woman he had lusted after. Beware of lust, it leads down a path that cannot set things right.

David does not consult God when dealing with his family.

Tucked away in this story is the fact that David learns of Amnon's deeds but does nothing because Amnon is his firstborn. David should know the Law required Amnon to marry Tamar. Instead nothing happens and Absalom decides to both execute his brother and take his father's throne. What is sad about this story is that David, a man after God's own heart, wants God to guide him in everything except his family. Do not leave God out of your family—lest it lead to disaster.

Absalom becomes the type of person who takes control over God.

Absalom does not learn from his father's example—both good and bad. David consults God in important matters. Absalom, on the other hand, prefers to take matters into his own hands: silencing Tamar to prevent his family's name from taint, executing Amnon through a ruse which scared his brothers and made him flee for two years, and plotting to overthrow his father's throne. Absalom may have lost respect for his father over the Tamar incident. His good looks and amazing hair could have led him to think more highly of himself than he ought. Most likely the two compounded to create a toxic mind-altering state in which Absalom felt justified in his actions. Beware successes (whether your physic or accomplishments) lest they convince you to take control over God.

The story of Joab and the widow is a moral quagmire.

The only thing that is certain is that no one consulted God when discussing Absalom's punishment and return. Who is righteous in this matter is uncertain. God does not provide judgment in the text. Not all stories in the Old Testament are cut-and-dried, black-and-white moral stories.

David has the Ark of the Covenant returned to Israel because he does not know if God is with him.

David realizes his mistakes. He realizes he missed opportunities to set things right and does not know if exile is his punishment from God or the consequences of Absalom's wickedness. So instead of claiming God is on his side and demanding the return of his throne he instead gives Zadok these orders,
Take the Chest back to the city. If I get back in God's good graces, he'll bring me back and show me where the Chest has been set down. But if he says, "I'm not pleased with you" - well, he can then do with me whatever he pleases. (15:25-26, The Message)
Humble yourself when you feel persecuted—it may be God's punishment. If not, God will restore your state.
This could be a good lesson for churches today. Many places in the USA are antagonistic towards churches. Instead of grabbing on to God's name and proclaiming now is "out of season" to preach God, let us be humble and allow God to bring us back. We do not know, maybe it is God's punishment for not consulting Him in our lives.

How have you responded to God's punishment?

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