Today's passage in 2 Samuel continues with Absalom's growing rebellion against David. All of this in fulfillment of prophesy.
2 Samuel 12:9-12
Why did you despise the word of the LORD by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.’
“This is what the LORD says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity upon you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight. You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.’”From this sermon....
That was the prophecy for David's future after his sin with Bathsheba, murder, lust and deceit. Reminder, "Whatsoever a man sows, that very thing he shall also reap." David's beloved first born Amnon rapes his own step-sister. His beloved third born Absalom, now heir to the throne and whom even after the rebellion David wanted kept alive because he loved him, tries to kill his father. His dear, dear counselor Ahithophel who has been like the voice of God to him wants to personally shame David's name in front of all Israel. He has been waiting a long time for this. David took Bathsheba and was married to her for a year before God came into the act. Then it was two years before Absalom killed Amnon and three years in exile for Absalom. That is six years. Then two more years while Absalom is in Jerusalem. Ahithophel has been waiting eight years to get David, all the while giving David advice and being his friend and closest advisor. Eight years Ahithophel waits to defame David's name, see his wives raped and personally get to kill him. "I want him for me."
Do you see the tragic interplay here? The willful choices of afflicted men still work out for the glory of God and the fulfillment of prophecy. God is faithful, "Whatever a man sows, that very thing he shall also reap." Fortunately God is also loving, and he is faithful to whom He loves. (emphasis mine)
David had a lot of things working for him and a lot of things working against him. In fact, some of things that we would consider to be "for him" were actually against him.
I think it is extremely difficult to live in a position of incredible wealth and power and remain absolutely faithful to God throughout it all. It's possible, but so very difficult. It's so easy for pride to creep in and we begin to give ourselves, instead of God, the glory and credit for all our achievements. Very few of the Kings of Judah remained faithful to God their whole lives and I think this is why.
I think it's also very common for us to deceive ourselves, not only about our own sin, but about the sins of our children. The head in sand position is just so much easier. Or so we think. Until we, and they, begin to reap the consequences. And then we realize just how much that head-in-sand-position really cost. And make no mistake - it is steep. This is what David did - both with Amnon and with Absalom - and the price was high indeed. It cost Tamar her virginity and entire remaining life, it cost Amonon his life, it almost cost David his kingdom and it cost Absalom his life. Huge ramifications.
It's hard to look in the mirror, see our faults and expose them to the Light. And yet that's the only possible way for healing to occur. It's maybe even harder to look at our children under that same Light. And yet, for their sake and ours, we must! We must.
We must believe the promises of the One who is able to redeem us.
Just like the government official in our NT passage. He believed in Jesus enough to go to Jesus and ask him to help his son. And then he believed in Jesus' promise that his son would live and he acted on it. And then he and his whole household believed in Jesus.
My Life Application Bible says "Faith is a gift that grows as we use it."
We only need to take it one step at a time, but we need to start! We need to believe in the promises of Jesus and then act on them. Then our faith will grow.
The difference between Amnon/Absalom and David is that Amnon and Absalom sinned and continued on in their sin. David sinned and then turned to God. The Psalms reflect this. And that is what made the difference. That's why he was called "a man after God's own heart". Not because he was perfect - as we've seen, he was far from perfect. But he exposed himself to the Light, he clung to God's grace, he clung to God's forgiveness, he turned away from sin and he turned towards the Saviour.
Tomorrow's passage: 2 Samuel 16-18, John 5:1-24