2 Samuel 13: All In The Family
I know each of you have faced storms in your life of all types. Sometimes we have caused the storm or we may be innocent victims caught up in another’s storm which has caused collateral damage in our lives and the lives of our family. The trouble can come from without or within. David is told his trouble will come from within- from his own family. Trouble within the family can be the most damaging. But either way trouble causes us to question God – what is going on? What is the reason behind all this? What does it mean? Why has this happened?- and often there is no easy answer for these questions. In fact, many times we shrug our shoulders and mutter- ‘I don’t know.’ Some days it seems I have shrugged my shoulders so much they ache from the shrug of not knowing.
Let me assure you, David’s sins have been forgiven. However what we will observe are the consequences of sin. This is another dark chapter which includes rape within the family and the murder of the rapist by his own brother. Chapter 13 covers a period of several years. It begins with the unnatural affection Amnon has for his half-sister, Tamar, the full sister of Absalom. We see there is also an undercurrent of envy and striving for who will follow King David as King of Israel. Amnon would seem to be the rightful heir as he is the first born. Absalom will use this violation of his sister to further his position as rightful heir to the throne. We know from descriptions that Absalom was a handsome and personable young prince and his sister Tamar was a beautiful young princess.
The plot unfolds in these 39 verses which show both the manipulation of Amnon to fulfill his sexual desires for his half-sister. We also see the cunning patience of Absalom as he lulls Amnon into a false sense of security and lures him to a dinner and gets him drunk then kills him. (Notice the similarity to David and Uriah) So we see lust turn to incestuous rape, and hatred and jealousy and the lust for power turn to murder. King David’s passive reaction to this family violence is so sad and pathetic. I believe his previous sin has made his hesitant to take corrective actions. This is not the shepherd boy who faced a giant with a slingshot and an unwavering faith in his God.
Remember all these were written for our learning that through patience and the encouragement of Scripture we might have hope. (Romans 15)
In chapter 12, there was a powerful word used twice in the Lord’s admonition of King David. He said: ‘Why have you despised the commandments of the Lord, to do evil in His sight?’ And also the Lord says, ‘Now, therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you despised Me,..’ The Lord Jesus uses the same word in the Sermon on the Mount, when He says you cannot serve two masters, for you will be loyal to one and despise the other. This statement followed His teaching on whether we lay up our treasures on earth in the here and now or in heaven for eternity. For where our treasure is our heart will be also. I shuddered when I read these passages, realizing if we are not careful we can be deceived by the things of this world. But I also shuddered to think when I sin, I despise the commandments of the Lord and despise the One who commanded them. King David appears to have forgotten as the Lord reminded him, that it was the Lord who anointed him king and saved him from Saul.
Galatians 6: 7&8 are well-known verses: “Be not deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows that will he also reap. For he who sows to the flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” Deceive is defined as ‘to cause someone to believe something that is not true, typically to gain an advantage.’ Mock is defined as: ‘to disrespect, dishonor or ignore one.’ Mocking is a serious offense. Jeremiah tells us: “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Who can know it? I, the Lord search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.” (Jeremiah 17)
I recently re-read Francis Chan’s book, “Crazy Love.” And in conjunction with reading the book I watched a sermon of his on YouTube. He used an illustration I found very effective. He brought a rope on stage which was probably 50+feet long. The very tip of the rope, approximately an inch or two was dyed red. He said this represents your life in the here and now- 70-80 years or 90 or 100 if you live that long. The point being it was a miniscule in comparison to eternity. It would be as foolish for me to live for here and now and lay up treasures here on earth as it would be for me to spend my money and time on vacation painting the rooms of the vacation rental where we will be for only a week.
What then is the purpose of life? Have we been deceived about what is important? What is eternal? What is temporary? For a few minutes of sexual pleasure David would suffer greatly for 10 or 15 years. He would lose four sons. It was a dark and painful time for him. What is the reason and purpose of all this life here on earth- the here and now, this short span we are here? Listen to this poem by Russell Kelfer:
“You are what you are for a reason. You’re part of an intricate plan. You’re a precious and perfect unique design, called God’s special woman or man. You look like you look for a reason. Our God made no mistake. He knit you together within the womb, you’re just what He wanted to make. The parents you had were the ones He chose, and no matter how you feel, they were custom-designed with God’s plan in mind, and they bear the Master’s seal. No, the trauma you faced was not easy. And God wept that it hurt you so; but it was allowed to shape your heart so that into His likeness you’d grow. You are who you are for a reason; you’ve been formed by the Master’s rod. You are who you are, beloved, because there is a God.”
This poem is very scriptural. Paul told the philosophers on Mars Hill in Acts 17: “And He (God) has made all men from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings.” This is God’s intricate plan. Psalm 139 tells us God wove us together in our mother’s womb. Proverbs 19:21 tells us: “There are many plans in a man’s heart. Nevertheless it is the Lord’s counsel that will stand”.
We all want to control our lives, minimize the risks, insure ourselves and protect ourselves. In fact we live and plan as if we did not believe God even exists. Then a storm comes up and we discover control is an illusion. We have very little control over life. And we realize if life were stable, it there were no unknowns, no troubles and trials, why would we need God? Do we really want God or do we want what God can give us? David was so dependent on God when he was just a shepherd boy. He trusted the Lord with his whole heart. What turned his heart? It was a violation of God’s law and principle. God instructed kings; ‘neither shall he (the king) multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away..’ (Deut.17) Other kings did it. It was a widely accepted practice to build strong allies. David thought he had found a justifiable reason for ignoring God’s principles and instructions which allowed him to indulge his sexual desires. DO NOT BE DECEIVED- unbelievers adopt a worldview which allows them to ignore Christian principles, but Christians do the same thing. David had been conformed by the culture around him. And what he did impacted his family. His sons resembled their father in more ways than physical appearance but in their behavior also. David had multiple wives and concubines, but King Solomon will end up with 700 wives and 300 concubines.
Do you see what has happened in our time? Perverse has become normal. Previous criminal activities have become legal, accepted and celebrated. If you as a believer disapprove of society and today’s culture based on scriptural principles, society will disapprove of you. I believe if King David could come alongside you and read these verses and admonitions about deception and the principle of reaping and sowing- he would tell you deception can be the most dangerous thing you encounter. He would tell you deception can blind you to the truth. What does is mean? What is the purpose of life? Colossians 1 tells us we were created by God and for God.
“You are what you are for a reason, a part of an intricate plan.” Would it not be the most important thing in your life to discover what God’s intricate plan for you is?
There are many young couples who plan a family. They want a family and from the moment they first receive word they are expecting, they begin planning the nursery, having baby showers given, choosing names and doing all those things with great joy. God is a family planner. He created us to be in a family. He chose to be called Father. Jesus is both our elder brother but also our relationship with Him is described as a marriage. All terms of family, a family planned in eternity past. You and I exist as part of God’s intricate plan. He formed us in our mother’s wombs to be part of His family. He wants us to grow up and to be like the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God. We had to be born into this family. This why we must be born again. He wants us to grow up. He shaped us for serving Him. He gave us talents and abilities. He chose our earthly parents and where we would be born and when we would be born.
Now Jesus said he came to give us the “abundant life”. Let me tell you what this does NOT mean: perfect health, a comfortable lifestyle, constant happiness, and all your dreams come true and instant relief from any problems. Someone once said, ‘prosperity hardens the heart. ‘Need I remind you of the rich young ruler? He was told one thing he lacked, go sell all his possessions and give them to the poor and come follow me, Jesus said. The rich young ruler went away sad, because he was very wealthy. He was loyal to one and despised the other. Can you see him going away, both sad and I can imagine him muttering-‘what does he know- he is a nobody. I do a lot of good with my wealth! ‘David had forgotten who had made him king, saved him and gave him Israel and Judah. His heart had been turned away. He was a man who could fix his own problems, until he could not. You know what happened to that fresh-faced courageous shepherd boy who trusted the Lord who delivered him from the lion and the bear and a 9 foot giant? He became a legend in his own mind. He left his first love. Life as king crowded out life with the King of Kings. Remember when you were falling in love with your mate. You wanted to spend all your time with them. When you were away from them, you thought of them. Jesus said I have this against you- you have left your first love.
I never really know how a lesson is going to turn out. The story tells itself. But the story within the story is what I want to discover. How does it apply to me or you? We are not royalty like King David- or are we? We are told we are a ‘royal priesthood’. In families we often talk about family resemblance. Satan’s temptation in the garden was twofold: you will not die and you will be like God. God wants us to resemble Him, we were made in His image. He sent His Son who was the exact image. God wants us to be godly, not God. When we decide to sin, we are being our own gods.
Why is this happening to me? Why is life so difficult? Life is supposed to be difficult. It is what God uses to enable us to grow up by learning to trust Him with all our heart, not lean on our own understanding. This is why Peter emphasized you should not consider it strange when you endure fiery trials. “No, the trauma you faced was not easy and God wept that it hurt you so; but it was allowed to shape your heart so that into His likeness you grow.” This is the Holy Spirit’s job. “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 3: 18. This is the sanctification process an ongoing process until the day we go to be with the Lord. The Spirit of God used the Word of God to make us like the Son of God. It takes a lifetime. “God works in you both to will and to do His good pleasure. We work it out with fear and trembling.’ (Phil. 2: 12&13) THIS IS THE SECRET- CHRIST LIVES IN YOU. God’s Spirit gives you the power to choose to what pleases God. Paul often spoke of ‘making every effort’. We are saved by grace through faith- not of works it is a gift of God. But we are saved to good works which God has ordained we walk in. ( Ephesians 2) You and I are to be pursing holiness. This is the desire, the will the Spirit of God puts in us.
God shapes you for your ministry. Everyone in the family has a ministry, this is how we serve others. This is what minister means. Let’s look at your SHAPE
- S. Spiritual gifts. God distributes these gifts. He gives each person the gift He wants them to have.
- H. Heart. As a man thinketh in his heart so is he. God gives you a passion, something which grabs your attention and holds it. This is so we can serve the Lord with all our heart.
- A. Abilities, natural talents you are born with. We all were born with certain natural abilities which God gave us. We can use them or misuse them. They are given to us to develop and use for the glory of God.
- P. Personality. God loves variety. Just look at creation. Same with people. Different personality types. Some are “thinkers” others are “feelers”. Introverted or extroverted. Two people may have the same gift, such as evangelism. However, the introverted and extroverted personality will express the gift in different ways and reach people only their personality type can reach. “They were custom-designed with God’s plan in mind.”
- E. Experience. Experiences vary also. There are family, educational, work, spiritual, ministry and painful experiences. In those painful experiences we are comforted by God so that we might be equipped through our experience to comfort others.
My parents sacrificed for me, my brother and my sister. We have sacrificed for our children. And God has sacrificed for me and you, my brothers and sisters. For God so loved us He gave us His only Son, that whosoever should believe in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
“But as many as received Him (Lord Jesus), to them He gave the right to become the children of God, to those who believe in His Name.” (John 1: 12) We are God’s family.
“The parents you had were the ones He chose and no matter how you may feel, they were custom-designed with God’s plan in mind and bear the Master’s seal.”
You are exactly who God intended you to be. And you are His.
Now concerning King David hear what is said about his whole life, not just this dark period of his life. “For when David had served GOD’S PURPOSE in his own generation, he fell asleep and was buried with his fathers…” (Acts 13:36)
“You are what you are for a reason; you’re part of an intricate plan. You’re a precious and perfect design, called God’s special woman or man. “
All In The Family.