Well, good evening. Right over here to my right is March [? Schonberger, ?] and he just wanted to sit there the whole night.
Is that right?
No, Levi, come on up here for a minute. Both these guys help organize and run the high school ministries. And I want you guys, we're going to go through a few internet questions together, by the way.
But I wanted to just have you kind of update us. Bring us up to speed of where the high school is at, what things are going on. You're planning for some things I know. Outreach, tell us about it.
That's random. We're getting ready in just coming up in June for an outreach we're going to be taking down to Belize.
Thank you. God bless, you see you guys.
Go ahead, I'm just kidding. I've always wanted to do that to you.
And it was good. And then coming up in August we have our summer camp. We're going to Colorado, so right now we have our weekly discipleship that meets in small groups all over the city. And we have a group of students who serve [? line a line ?] every week as ushers and greeters.
One of the things we're doing actually this weekend is we're doing, we call it ding dong ditch. And it's not just ringing a doorbell and being mean to people. But it's, we actually collect groceries and things that a family might need. And so we get some information about a family in our fellowship that has a need and our kids just on their own just chip in money, bring stuff and they bless people with it.
And then we, see the thing is, we leave it on the doorstep, push the button and run away.
There's a note with it.
You're leaving a blessing instead of a joke, right?
God gets all the glory, so it's cool.
That's good. Now you go to Belize when?
That'll be I believe June 10 through 20.
And why Belize? Why there?
Well, last summer we went somewhere that wasn't very sweaty. It was really nice, culturally speaking. We went to the UK. And so we, last year we said you know what? We need to sweat next year. We need to get a little bit dirty. And so you and I went to Belize a couple of years ago together and it's an English-speaking place, and so we thought that would be good because there's no language barrier.
We've got good contacts down there. And so we thought that would be a good place for us to go get dirty and work hard and serve God.
And see a jaguar and a monkey. Those are the things as well.
They are there, we've seen that. What kind of stuff are you going to do down there?
Well, we're looking at doing some; the girls are going to do some women's ministry with some of the prison, like ladies that are in detention areas. And they're going to work with other women. The guys are going to do lots of construction stuff, lots of clean-up, those kinds of things around some of the inner city ministry things in Belmopan and some other areas.
We also want to work with a tribe.
Barranco tribe, which is down south out in the middle of nowhere. And last year, the team that went was given access down there and they got to preach and were given favor and they brought toys. So we're going to bring a bunch of toys and things down there.
We're going to bring toothbrushes.
That's a way our whole student ministry--
And just say we're here to give you some needs and we're just here to bless you. And so that's--
I love it, because you save up money, the kids save up their money, the young adults save up their money and then go to a place to work, to minister, to sweat. And you know, that's real Christian ministry. That's neat. God bless you guys. Now before you leave, we have some internet questions we want to go over.
One is from Gabby. And Gabby writes, how do you deal with your Christian husband after he has left you and your children and still claims to be a true believer of the word? March, I know you do a lot of marriage counseling. People come in and ask questions like that.
Yeah, absolutely. Unfortunately, the first thing that came to my mind is he really a believer? If he's a true believer, I would say he would stay committed to his wife and his kids. And he would give evidence not just verbally, but with a testimony, a life that's a testimony of the grace of God that he belongs to Christ.
So to the woman though in this situation, I would just say be patient. Wait on the Lord. Get good godly counsel. Plug into your church. And you never know what God can do.
Right, yeah, I would say Gabby, that what March shared was really good, because Jesus said, if you love me, you'll keep my commandments. And not everyone who says, Lord, Lord will enter the Kingdom of God. So it's always tested by fruit. What we say is tested by what we do. Not what we do saves us, but what we do is a test of our commitment and confession of Christ.
As far as what to do, I would get involved with your local church in this. You know, Jesus said that you go to somebody and you confess or confront that person with their sin. And if they don't listen to you, you take somebody else with you. If they don't listen to them, you tell it to the church. If they don't listen to the church, you treat them as if they were a heathen and a tax collector.
Those are the words of Jesus. So I would get involved with your church. Get them, get some of the leadership to help you out so you're not alone. And maybe call on this man and call him to accountability. Another question we have is from Amanda. It says, my friend says he believes in God. This is sort of along the same lines, but a different situation.
My friend says he believes in God and knows the difference between right and wrong, but has a real hard time living for Christ. He says that he is not yet ready to give up drugs and alcohol. Is there any advice you could give to me to minister to him? You're a drug addict. Why don't you share with us, Levi?
Absolutely. Well, I'm praying about trying to quit, so it's at least a start. I would say it's all perspective. I mean, even if it's just the analogy of wearing a parachute on an airplane ride. I mean, if you know that the plane's going to crash, it's not an inconvenience to wear it. And that's not to say that Christ is an inconvenience.
But if you're looking at big picture and perspective and the fact that we're going to die and stand before God, temporarily, I mean we're told in the Bible that sin has pleasure for a season. But there's a way that seems right to a man, and it's end is the way of death.
And so those things that seem so pleasurable, so manageable, so pocket-sized sins, I guess you'd say, there's a way that seems right to a man. But it's end is the way of death and corruption. And there's so much more pleasure to be found in a life of purpose and passion that's lived inside God and his plan for your life.
Yeah, and I would say there's a kind of a key phrase here. He says he's not yet ready to give up drugs and alcohol. You know, Jesus said no man can serve two masters. You're going to love one and hate the other, cling to one and abhor the other. And it seems that a lot of people today want a certain kind of forgiveness that God is not willing to give.
And that is the kind that says, Lord forgive me, but certainly don't expect any change from my life. I'm not going to do anything. I'm not going to change my behavior. But there's repentance that is called for. And repentance means to turn around and turn to Christ. And unless a person is willing to give it up; I'm not saying it's going to be easy.
Sometimes there are habitual sins that hold on and it might take a little bit of extra help and accountability. But certainly you come to God his way. And giving up something, you're gaining something. It's not like, oh, I had to give up something for God. No, no, no. You gave up hell. You gave up misery. And I think you ought to be ready to give those things up pretty quickly.
If it's something that you're having a struggle with and seek some help for that, there's lots of resources around and people who are fellow strugglers who will help you get to a place where you can say no to sin and yes to Christ. Any man is in Christ is a new creation. Old things are passed away and we have a new nature.
And it's kind of the issue, are we going to give into our new nature or our old nature? Are we going to allow ourselves to be dragged down or come up to Christ level with his help? Well, you know what? That's about all we have time for. But thank you guys so much.
And God bless you. All right, would you open your bibles now to 2 Samuel. 2 Samuel, chapter 13 tonight. And lights may be good for people to read. There we go. Proverbs 27 tells us, don't boast about tomorrow, because you don't know what a day may bring forth. Oh, how true that is. How true some of you have found that to be.
A day starts out and ends completely different. Maybe David woke up one day thought, oh, you know there's a battle going on. I'm so glad I didn't go to war. This is great to hang out in the palace. But by the end of that day, after night had fallen, he slept with Bathsheba and set in motion a whole host of consequences that that day would issue forth the rest of his life.
Or the day that David woke up with Bathsheba and they prayed that God would spare that child, but that child died. So the day began and ended completely two different ways. I was in a hospital room yesterday with a young girl from our church who was in an auto accident. She broke her neck. She broke her shoulder.
The guy who was driving had to be cut out of a car and medevaced into town. The day started peacefully for them. A quiet ride back home. But it ended both of them in a hospital. All alive, all seemingly, prayerfully we hope, will be better and come back. But don't boast about tomorrow. You don't know what a day may bring forth.
I'll never forget the day I woke up when we were having a crusade here in town and it was the greatest of days. We were looking forward to that day with great excitement and anticipation. Some of my friends were in town and we were going to have a meeting that night. My wife was pregnant with our second child.
That afternoon we found out that she lost the child. Two hours later, we found out my father had died. All in one day. Not knowing what a day may bring forth. Now because that is true, because you and I have no clue as to what any day may bring forth, therefore, we can't boast about it, it only makes sense that we be prepared for it.
You may not be able to anticipate it fully, but you can prepare for it completely. This is something the Lord ministered to me this morning. I was reading that familiar passage about Mary, who was sitting at the feet of Jesus. And Martha, her sister, was busy, distracted with much service. And she complained that Mary wasn't working.
And Jesus said, hey, Mary has chosen the better part and it won't be taken from her. But Martha, you are distracted with much serving and only one thing is needful, and Mary found it. To sit and be prepared at the feet of Jesus. Now hopefully you're doing that on a daily basis.
Hopefully your day begins, it might end this way, but hopefully it begins with time that you carve out and before you do anything else, you seek the Lord's face and place the day in his hands and say, Lord, I don't know what the day is going to bring, but you do, and I want to ready myself by plugging into you and your resources.
Some of us tonight are here, we're in a bible study with friends, with relatives, bibles open, heart open. But you're distracted. There's other thoughts going through your mind. Other issues, personal issues. May be the great cloud of war and worry about troops or what's going to happen for your future in America with all this. It is important that you let nothing distract you from sitting at the Lord's feet and being prepared.
Come what may, though 10,000 camp around me to destroy me, David said, I won't fear. You can only do that when you're prepared. So that's just something the Lord laid on my heart this morning I wanted to begin with to determine in your own mind and heart, don't let yourself be distracted from what the Lord may be wanting to show you personally to prepare you for what your day or days ahead may bring.
In chapter 13 we have a story about a very unusual and sad day. It was sad in the life of David, because it involved his children. It was sad and the life of Tamar, one of David's daughters, the sister, the full sister of Absalom, the half sister of Amnon. And Amnon raped his half sister because he lusted after her.
Not only was her day shattered, but her future was disgraced, shattered. David in his own family, will reap some of the consequences as predicted by Nathan the Prophet just a couple of chapters back. In verse one of chapter 13, we pointed out a very interesting word that may be even best to re-translate.
Now after that, it was so that Absalom, the son of David, had a lovely sister, whose name was Tamar. And Amnon, the son of David, loved her. But then over in verse 15, after he did force himself upon her, Amnon hated her exceedingly. So that the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he loved her.
And Amnon said to her, arise and be gone. I've noticed that the world likes to use the word love a lot. Misuse the word love. And often use it for merely a biological response of the hormones. They will say, let's make love. And what they mean is let's satisfy a biological impulse and have sex.
But to clothe it in the language of love, just, well it sounds so much better. So much so that people growing up today hearing that vocabulary actually think that one equals the other. And they don't. The lust, the impulse, that is God-given, but must also be God-guided, does not necessarily equal love, does it? Any animal can mate. It takes commitment to love.
I read an article of a college student raised in an atheistic atmosphere. Went to college. Found at college several Christians. And this Christian said at first, I thought these Christians were awfully naive and simplistic, especially when it came to the issues of morality, sexuality. So naive, so ridiculously simple in their approach to things, basing everything they believe in on the Bible.
And then this fellow started listening more carefully to what the Bible actually had to say about relationships. And he wrote this article. I thought, in part, you should listen to it. He changed his view. He said, lust is powerful and seductive, but it's inherently selfish and opposed to love.
As we foster and feed lust in our lives, we are dragged inexorably toward isolation, loneliness, insecurity and emptiness. If we substitute lust for love, we end up with a meaningless sensation, which eventually loses its novelty and can never satisfy beyond the physical.
I thought that was so well put, I want to read it to you again. Lust is powerful and seductive, but it's inherently selfish and opposed to love. As we foster and feed lust in our lives, we are dragged inexorably toward isolation, loneliness, insecurity and emptiness. If we substitute lust for love, we end up with a meaningless sensation, which eventually loses its novelty and can never satisfy beyond the physical.
Boy, what an example we get here of somebody who said, I love Tamar, I can't live without her. And as soon as the sexual act was committed, I hate you. Get out of my sight. I never want to see you again. He retreats into his lonely isolationism. She is also isolated as the stigma of a rape victim is placed upon her, and in that culture, it was quite a stigma.
In verse 19, Tamar put ashes on her head and tore her robe of many colors that was on her, and laid her hand on her head and went away crying bitterly. And Absalom, her brother, said to her, has Amnon, your brother been with you? But now hold your peace, my sister. He is your brother. Do not take this thing to heart. So Tamar remained desolate in her brother Absalom's house.
The law of Moses actually would have allowed Tamar and Amnon to marry. Half brothers and half sisters could do that. Case in point, Abraham and Sarah. Remember when they went down to Egypt and his wife was really beautiful, which she was in her mid to late '60s and Abraham was so afraid that the pharaoh, the King of Egypt is going to fall in love with her and kill him to get her.
He just said, I tell you what. Just tell everybody you're my sister. And people say, oh, he was lying. He wasn't lying. He was half lying and half telling the truth because it was his half sister. You see, she was the daughter of the same father, but different moms. And according to the law of Moses, you could be that far removed and it was allowable.
So that's what Tamar asked from Amnon. Look, talk to my father and your father, David. He'll allow us to establish a relationship. But he didn't want a relationship. He didn't want a commitment. I'm not ready for marriage. But he was ready to violate her, and he did.
Now the plot thickens, because Absalom sees this ah, as a way to execute this guy for his crime. But it's not just because of revenge. It's because he wants to put Amnon out of the way, because he's in line for the throne, being the firstborn.
So he's thinking, I have a shot at the throne. I want to be the king. So I'm going to kill this guy. He deserves it anyway. What is sort of disconcerting is the counsel that he gives to his sister. I mean, imagine she has just been violated, been raped, and will live in disgrace the rest of her life. And all he can say is, has Amnon, your brother, been with you? But now hold your peace, my sister. He's your brother, don't take this thing to heart.
Would you want this guy for your counselor? Boy, what a patriarchal society it was at that time. He's your brother. You've got to honor your brother. Your brother sinned against you. It was wrong, I'll take care of it, but you're just a girl. He's the brother. Didn't help.
David, her father, didn't even help that much. Notice the next verse. But when King David heard all these things, he was very angry. Oh, big deal, right? Because he didn't do anything about it. It just says he was angry. Oh, that's horrible, what's for dinner? There is no record of David, who should have intervened, stepped in and made things right. He didn't do it.
Classic case of a passive, preoccupied father. Preoccupied with his kingdom. Preoccupied with his affairs of state and his own business. And he was angry. He got emotional. But he didn't set it right. He didn't he didn't even rebuke his son. Why? Perhaps because he felt he had no authority, moral authority.
Perhaps the whole thought of Bathsheba was still fresh in his mind and heart and he still felt so guilty because of that, and he's thinking, oh, what right do I have? I can't rebuke somebody morally. After all, I'm an adulterer and a murderer. My words are going to be empty. I have no moral authority. I've given that up long ago. So I feel bad about it, but I can't do anything about it.
Phillip Brooks, great preacher of years ago, 1800s, said a man who lives right and is right has more authority in his silence than others do in their speech. But David had no authority morally in his speech or his silence, so he just got angry, got emotional, but did nothing.
Now I want to say something to sort of counterbalance that. Because we all fail. And probably every parent looks back to some episode in his or her life with shame and regret. Very few of us can look back and see a spotless record, a clean slate. There are certain issues in our youth that we're ashamed of.
Could be a period of taking drugs or maybe a pregnancy and an abortion or immorality. And we feel, I don't really have a right to speak to my kids. I don't have any moral authority. And Satan loves to use that against us. You have no right to tell them anything. Look you you. You failed, you blew it.
But it must be said. You must take the time to sit down. In fact, perhaps your life is a good example by reason of the failure. Look at me. Look what happened in my life. Look at the shame this caused. Let me tell you the heartache. They need to see that. Folks, they need to hear that.
And even though you don't have a perfect background, the future for your child can look good if you let yourself be vulnerable as a negative example. Couple weeks ago, Ozzy was on Larry King Live. Not Ozzie and Harriet. Ozzy Osborne and his wife were interviewed by Larry King.
And as Ozzy stuttered through the interview, you know what I'm talking about, could hardly get a sentence out, Larry King asked him a very pointed question. Said do you ever talk to your kids about drugs? How do you talk to your kids about drugs? And Ozzy was very Ozzy, he goes [MUMBLES]. Look at me. It's like, you know what? He's got a point there.
It's like, don't do this, because you may end up like me. And you know what? I thought that was actually the best argument he could have come up with. You don't want to stutter your way through life like that. And make a nincompoop out of yourself on national television. It was very powerful actually.
And Absalom spoke to his brother, verse 22, and the neither good nor bad for Absalom hated Amnon because he forced his sister Tamar. Now how long can hatred go on? How long can seething bitterness of one individual who has not been violated, says nothing about Tamar's hatred, just his hatred, how long can that go on?
Came to pass, after two full years that Absalom had sheep shears in Baalhazor, which is near Ephraim. So Absalom invited all the king's sons. Just a little historical background. In those days, shearing the sheep was sort of like, it was like the Super Bowl of shepherds. It's like the yearly bring out the Budweiser party. Hey man, it's sheep shearing time, yeah. And everybody that Sunday got together.
And they hung out and they got the shearers out and they sheared the sheep and had a huge party. It was a big shindig. Well, in Absalom's heart, burning with hatred toward his brother, it says two full years. You know what the Bible says about a root of bitterness in Hebrews 12?
Don't allow a root of bitterness that can grow up and defile many. Boy, I have met people who hate and hold grudges and are bitter and angry toward somebody and perhaps that person doesn't even know it for the longest time. And let me tell you what makes it worse.
What makes it worse is when the other person doesn't know about it and you tell them. You know, I've been bitter at you for five years. I've hated your guts, but I dealt with it, brother, and I confessed to the lord. Hey, shut up. That person doesn't need to hear it. He did know it. He was happy until then. Just deal with that before you and the Lord.
If that person has sinned against you, then go to that person and make it right. But if that person hasn't done anything, doesn't know about it and you're just bitter, deal with it. He's bitter, he's angry, he's hateful because his sister was violated. And instead of doing it the right way according to the law or going to dad and having them involved in some kind of a family situation, he holds onto it and waits for the opportune time to murder.
Verse 28 what happens is, Absalom wants to invite all of the king's kids. And the King David said, we're busy. We don't want to burden you. He says at least let me take my brother, Amnon. He needs to come. So he does. Absalom had commanded his servants, saying watch now. When Amnon heart is merry with wine.
And when I say to you, strike Amnon, then kill him, do not be afraid. Have I not commanded you, be courageous and valiant? What a thing to say to a terrorist, to a murderer. Be strong, be courageous, be valiant. This is the most cowardly act you can commit.
Get a guy drunk and secretly kill him. This takes no courage. You don't need to be valiant there. But he gives this big speech. Be valiant, have not I commanded you? There is a reason for that. He's up to something else. And so the servants of Absalom did to Amnon as Absalom commanded. Other words, they murdered him.
Then all the king's sons arose. Each one got on his mule and fled. Can you picture that? A bunch of guys on mules having a race home. Duh duh duh duh duh duh dun duh duh. Get And it came to pass while they were on the way, that news came to David saying, Absalom has killed all the king's sons and not one of them is left.
So the king arose and took his garment to lay on the ground. And all his servants stood by with him with their clothes torn. Now that's not true, is it? That's not a true report. One of the king's sons is murdered, is killed. But the report comes back, as I often find happens.
Whenever a tragedy occurs, whether it's a war or something, news that filters back isn't always accurate. And that's why be careful with the information you allow into your heart and ears. It says in Proverbs 18, he who hears or he who acts on a matter before he hears a matter, it's a folly and a shame to him.
A lot of times we'll hear one person's side of it, and then we'll act and react. Somebody'll come to you and whisper something in your ear and you go, really? And then you'll act without investigating it fully, without asking the other party involved. This is a phenomenon in marriage counseling.
She'll come in, pastor, my husband is a creep. Really? Yeah, this is what he said, this is what he does, and he does it all the time, 24 hours a day. He's done it for the last 55 years. Really? Yeah. Really, I'm serious. Now when you talk to him, they haven't been married 55 years. They've been married five years. He doesn't do it 24 hours a day, only 23 hours a day.
But this stories vary. It's also part of human nature, as David, to listen to something and believe the very worst, not the very best. I believe that. Tear your clothes more. If I were to tell you, hey, you just won a million dollars, you probably go, oh yeah, right, sure. Not in your lifetime.
But if I were to say, tragic thing has occurred. Your house has burned down while you've been here at church and somebody backed into your car and totaled it out in the parking lot, oh, I knew it. Shouldn't have come tonight. Knew it would happen. We, as humans, often think the worst, not the best.
David hears it, mourns, believes it. It wasn't true. It was set right. Verse 33, now therefore let not my Lord the King take the thing to his heart to think that all the king's sons are dead, for only Amnon is dead. Now that was bad enough, and he's not minimizing it. He's just saying it's not as bad as it has been told.
Verse 34, then Absalom fled. The young man who was keeping watch lifted his eyes and looked up and there were many people coming from the road on the hillside behind him. And Jonadab said to the king, look, the king's sons are coming as your servant said. So it is, so it was. As soon as he had finished speaking that the king's sons indeed came, lifted up their voice and wept.
Also the king and all his servants wept very bitterly. But Absalom fled and went to Geshur, and was there three years. Question, do you know why he went to Geshur? Because his mother, if you remember, was named Maacah. Remember that? I'm drawing a blank. His mother was named Maacah. And his mother's father was Talmai, the King of Geshur. He's going home to grandpa.
Going to a non-believing city-state there in the Middle East for refuge, for protection. David made some mistakes in his life. And I just want you to bear with me, because we're going to get to it in the next chapter. David married a lot of women. He had a problem with lust. He had a problem with women. He had a wandering eye, no doubt.
He would be the kind of person who would not look and look away, but look like this. And then realize, hey, I'm the king. I can have anything I want, like Bathsheba. Or because I am a king, I can have many wives from other kingdoms. After all, it is the Semitic custom to work deals with other kingdoms by taking their daughters as my wives, so we'll have a lifelong alliance.
Yet God said in the law that a king shall not multiply wives unto himself. So he did what was customary, but not what was right in God's eyes. That was a mistake. Why did he marry her? I don't think it was just for political reasons. I think, I believe personally that this Maacah, even though her name is horrendous,
I mean what kind of a chick is named Maacah? Or Maacah, however you want to say it, it's not a happy name. It's weird to us. But I believe she was a knockout. I believe she was gorgeous. You know why? Because you're going to read in chapter 14 that Absalom was the most incredible looking person in all of Israel.
From the bottom of his feet to the top of his head, he was gorgeous male. A perfect model, a perfect specimen. Which means probably not only David had some good looks going on, but she was gorgeous as well, because he, this kid Absalom was beautiful to behold.
Now I want you just to keep that in your mind, especially those of you who are single. Well, all of us, but especially those of you who are single, because we're going to find that as we go through chapter 14 and make application to it. Verse 39, let's finish up this chapter.
And King David longed to go to Absalom, for he had been comforted concerning the death of Amnon because he was dead. Now there are some similarities I just want you to make note of before we move on. Similarities in the way David killed Bathsheba's husband, Uriah the Hittite and the way Absalom killed Amnon.
Number one, in each case the murder was a means toward an end. In the first instance, David killed Uriah as a means to get his wife and have this child, which later died. In the second case, Absalom kills Amnon as a means to an end because Absalom wants the throne of Israel. He wants the first born dead and out of the way. In his mind, it's his shot at power.
Number two, both died at the hands of other people. In other words, David didn't murder directly, nor did Absalom. They both put a contract out on their lives, so to speak. Used other people to achieve their goal. And number three, interestingly, there was the use of alcohol in both.
David said to Uriah, hey man, good to see you from the battle, buddy boy. I bet you've had a hard war. Hey, get drunk tonight, would you? Yeah, get drunk, have a good time, party hearty and then go home with your wife. Well, he did get drunk and did party hearty, but he didn't go home to his wife, so David killed him.
Here again, the use of wine. Now you know, Proverbs says that wine, strong drink, is not to be used by leaders. It's not a good thing for leaders to be involved in drinking any kind of alcoholic beverage because as God says, it will skew their judgment. They won't be able to be clear and cogent. They'll lack perspicuity in making judgments. They'll be clouded. So they're to stay away from it.
And I think that's just good, practical, plain advice. That's why I don't want any of my leaders, any of my pastors, hey, man, we're having a six-pack tonight, come on over. I mean, imagine how that would look. And it would betray poor judgment, as these men both had poor judgment.
And so Joab, the son of Zeruiah, perceived that the king's heart was concerned about Absalom. And Joab sent to Tekoa and brought from there a wise woman. And said to her, please pretend to be a mourner and put on mourning apparel. By mourning apparel, we don't mean something you wear in the mourning, as much as when you're mourning over somebody's death. It wasn't a bathrobe.
Do not anoint yourself with oil, but act like a woman who has been mourning for a long time for the dead. Go to the king and speak to him in this manner. So Joab put the words in her mouth. Let me paint the picture. Joab knows his boss. Studied him. And that's good and bad. You can study your boss and know how to manipulate him.
He studied his boss and he realized, boy, this guy has a soft spot in his heart for his son, Absalom. Now his son Absalom is a murderer. And if he's to be brought back, he deserves death. David doesn't want that to happen. But David would love to have Absalom back to have this relationship reconciled somehow.
He also knows that David responds not to direct confrontation, as much as stories, parables. After all, Nathan did that, right? Nathan trapped him by a tale. Nathan the Prophet came, hey David, there's this guy, man, he was rich and he had a whole bunch of sheep and this other guy had one little sheep and the rich guy killed the one sheep.
David got all mad. And then Nathan said, you're the guy. Trapped by a tale. And in that parable, Nathan used the story to get David to do something right. Repent, humble himself. Here again, he is trapped by a tale. But this woman is going to get them to do something that is wrong. To receive a son back without repentance.
So here's the story. She is given by Joab a parable, a story, puts the words in her mouth. And she comes up with a very, very similar situation to David's king. She says, in her mourning apparel, my husband died. I'm a widow. I have two sons.
My two sons were out in the field one day and they got in an argument. You know how boys are. One killed the other one. Now the family is saying, bring that boy and let's kill him. That's the just demands of the law. But he's my only hope. He's my last surviving relative. I've lost my husband, my other son is dead. Now my family wants to kill him.
And notice how she puts it down in verse 7. Look at the second part of verse 7. So they would extinguish my ember that is left and leave to my husband neither name nor remnant on the earth. The inheritance laws, the family name will be banished, extinguished.
David says, well, don't call me, I'll call you. I'll think about it. I'll figure this out. And she says, now let me just tell you, King. I am willing to take the brunt of the punishment. Let it be upon me and my head and my family.
So David says then, let me tell you something. If anybody hassles you, you have them come to me and nobody's going to touch a hair on your son's head. He should be able to be restored to you. That's my judgment. Well now watch this, verse 12.
Then the woman said, please, let your maidservant speak another word to my Lord the King. And he said, say on. The woman said, why then have you schemed such a thing against the people of God? For the King speaks this thing as one who is guilty, in that the King does not bring his banished ones home again.
For we will surely die and become like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again, yet God does not take away a life, but he devises means so that his banished ones are not expelled from him. Boy, she just unloads on the King. King, can I just say one more thing to you? Sure, say on.
You're a hypocrite. You don't practice what you preach. You've extended mercy to my imaginary son and you have not extended mercy to your true son, Absalom. He's banished. You won't bring him back. And so she appeals to him on the nature of God. Even God will devise a means to bring his banished ones back. Which is true. It is true.
God has devised a means to bring men and women, estranged alienated from God by birth, by choice, back to him. It's the cross. Is called being born again. It's called Jesus Christ. But it's not automatic. See, forgiveness is never granted without repentance, without change, without a desire to leave the old and turn to Christ.
So she's right, but she's wrong. She's saying hey, what would Yahweh always do? He would forgive. You need to forgive. But it's going to be, it's going to bite David. Absalom is going to try to take over the kingdom. In fact, he will indeed take over the kingdom.
Look at verse 19. The King said, is the hand of Joab with you in all this? The woman answered and said, as you live my Lord the King, no one can turn to the right hand or the left from anything that my Lord the King has spoken for. Your servant, Joab, commanded me and he put all these words in the mouth of your maidservant.
You're a sharp cookie, King. You're pretty keen. You have great insight. You nailed it. It was Joab. Now I have a question. Why is Joab so into this thing? Why is Joab, the second in command of the armies of David, so into Absalom coming back? Is it because he sees that David is really hurting? Perhaps. But I think he's a little more treacherous than that.
Here's my answer to why. Go back to chapter three, would you? Just turn left. Go back a few blocks to chapter three. It's an incident you may remember about. Joab murdered somebody. And verse 27 of chapter three, now when Abner had returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside in the gate to speak with him privately and there stabbed him in the stomach so that he died from the blood, for the blood of Asahel, his brother.
And afterward, when David heard it he said, my kingdom and I are guiltless before the Lord forever of the blood of Abner, the son of Ner. Let it rest on the head of Joab and on all his father's house. Now notice this curse he pronounces on him. And let there never fail to be in the house of Joab one who has a discharge or is a leper or who leans on a staff or falls by the sword or who lacks bread.
Whoa. I think that sent a message to Joab, don't you? David doesn't like me. He just cursed me big time. Thinking, supposing that Absalom has a shot at the throne of Israel, in securing his own future, in getting in good with the heir apparent, oh, let's bring this boy back. Let's just forgive him. Let's bring him back. I know your heart's for him. He needs to be back with his dad, which is true.
But there should have been repentance and there should have been a real reconciliation, which doesn't happen. But I think Joab has another scheme going. Well, he's brought back to Jerusalem, but look at verse 24. The King said let him return to his own house, but do not let him see my face.
So Absalom returned to his own house, but did not see the King's face. Look at verse 32, just skip ahead a little bit. Absalom answered Joab and he's been sitting around for a couple of years not seeing his dad. Look, I sent to you saying come here so that I may send you to the King to say, why have I come from Geshur. It would be better for me to still be there. Now therefore, let me see the King's face.
But if there is any iniquity in me, then let him kill me. Let him execute me. Something's going on I want to draw your attention to, especially fathers. David is tricked by this woman to bring his son back. He does. There's really no repentance. There's not a true reconciliation between father and son.
David brings him back. Keeps the kid locked up in his own apartment. David, in the meantime, is stern, aloof, shuts his son out, stubborn. And what happens inside the heart of Absalom? Seeds of rebellion grow. And that bitterness and that hatred for his own father, even though it brings him back, but there's not a true reconciliation, begins to simmer.
And all of those fomenting thoughts will one day come to fruition. Hey, my dad thinks I'm a loser. Then I might as well be one. There's a scripture in Ephesians. It says fathers do not provoke your children to wrath. Another translation says, do not irritate your children and make them resentful.
And sometimes fathers can be really good at that. Treating their sons in such a way that their sons grow up rebellious and angry. What David should have done is gone to his son and said, son, I love you and I am willing to forgive. I need to know that there's real repentance and change in your heart. But I want reconciliation. David should've initiated it as a father.
The willingness to forgive. The willingness to put his arms around him. But he didn't do it. And it exasperated his son. We've done a whole study on this. In fact, we listed eight ways that fathers can breed resentment in their sons. That's in the study that we've done. We don't have time to go through it tonight.
Dads, do you have a son or a daughter that has blown it? And you're at home simmering and you hold a grudge and they're dead to me and I won't talk to them anymore. And meanwhile, you're getting older. And they're drifting farther. And one day, you'll be dead. And you will leave that son or daughter with the inability to reconcile with you.
Working in radiology for many years in southern California, I stood at many a death bed in the emergency rooms and watched children and parents mourn over the loss of loved ones. Wailing, mourning, crying, begging that person to come back. Why? Because we had a fight. We yelled at each other, we said I hate you. We never were able to reconcile. And they're going to have to live out there days with that.
I had a father who was very stern and aloof and distant and made me angry and bitter. You could ask my mother. I kicked holes in the walls and holes in the doors and threatened to murder my father. Imagine a mom hearing that from her son. I was a bitter, angry young man. I know you couldn't tell that, because of the great, wonderful changes that have occurred. That comes out every now and then.
But when I came to know the Lord and I went to share with my parents, and I decided, I'm right. I know the Bible now. And I was junior John the Baptist. You know, the prophet I have come to pronounce on you what God hath said, you need to come to--
And I was like, you know, being like an evangelist. And you need to get saved and come to Christ. You know, I was this stern preacher rather than a loving, accepting son. And every time my father would say something, I'd say something back in righteous indignation.
One day after my brother's death, the Lord spoke to me and said, you know, you're the one in this family that's born again. Yeah, but my father's the one that's stubborn and he's alienated us. But you're the one that's born again. You're my child now. You have me as your Heavenly Father. You have me as your role model.
Yeah, but he's hurt me in my life. Yes, but I've forgiven you for all the cruddy things you've done. And now you, as my child, should and can live at a higher level. And you need to be the one to initiate forgiveness and reconciliation. What do you mean me? I'm the son. I'm the victim here.
The Lord said, you're my child. You represent me now. And that night I went up to my father. He was yelling at me. In fact, my father said to me, you're going to go to hell. Now I had recently come to Christ, so it was confusing after coming to Christ, to be told I'm going to hell by my own father.
As his voice grew louder and his words hotter, I went over to him and I put my arm around him and I buried his head in my shoulders and I hugged him and I said, Dad, I love you. And I don't want to do this anymore. Let's get behind this. And I said, Dad, do you mind if I pray? And then I realized I'd better not let him answer that. I just started praying out loud.
And by the end of the amen, his eyes were wet with tears. He said that's the most beautiful thing I've ever heard. And from that moment on, a reconciliation began. A whole new chapter in our relationship began. And I think that for those of us who know the Lord and have been changed, whatever hurt has happened do you, allow the Lord as your Father to heal that.
Get beyond that. Live at that higher level being his representative and extend mercy and healing and forgiveness in the name of Christ, and watch love melt the hardest hearts. You know, you can only fight love for so long. But true incessant, selfless love, it's a mighty force. You can't stand against it.
It's sad that David and Absalom didn't share that. And that Absalom will be dead before David and his son can reconcile. OK, I want to go back and close on this. Look at verse 25, because it'll set us up for next time. We'll go through a couple of verses and closed for the night.
Now in all of Israel, there was no one who was praised as much as Absalom for his good looks. From the sole of his foot to the crown of his head, there was no blemish in him. Man, can any of us say that? There's always some part of us, right? That we say, if I could change this one part or three or four, but mostly this one, there was no blemish in this guy.
Everybody knew he was handsome, beautiful. And when he cut the hair of his head at the end of every year; so guy a haircut once a year whether he needed it or not. Hippie. He cut it because it was heavy on him. The only weighty thing about him was his hair. He was a lightweight in character, but he had a lot of hair.
The hair of his head weighed 200 shekels, according to the King's standard. That's four pounds of hair a year. Maybe at the time when they sheered the sheep, they sheered his head. And said, look at this, man, talk about a lot of wool. And then it gives his sons, in verse 27 and the kind of life that he lived after that.
Now I mentioned his mom, right? Maacah. He should not have married her. He married her probably because she was so beautiful. After all, the son was the best looking thing in Israel. Somebody wisely said that men should not choose wives based on what they see, but based on what they hear. Maybe that's a good rule of thumb.
Probably he based his decision upon what he saw. And the result is, it ended up biting him. You know, I still meet lots of people, a lot of Christians who are irrational and unspiritual in choosing their future mate. It's all based upon infatuation, feeling, emotion of the moment. It's not really well prayed through, thought through.
Often there's no accountability. The couple will isolate themselves and we don't want to tell anybody, because they'll all be against us, man. It's our love. It'll be eternal. Let's just get married. Now she was the daughter of a foreigner, in that she wasn't a believer. She wasn't of the covenant people of Israel, David married an unbeliever.
Should Christians date unbelievers? Well, the Bible says be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers. Oh, but Skip, we're not talking about yoking here. This is just dinner. This is just coffee. Don't make it a yoke now. But listen, your emotions aren't that easily switched on and off. Once you get into a relationship and your emotions are exposed and you start feeling toward somebody, they can take you places.
Don't be unequally yoked together. That's a metaphor in farming. You know, a wise farmer would yoke two oxen, two animals of the same species, same size, same temperament. If he didn't do that, if you got one animal that was smaller or larger or a different species altogether, or a different temperament, they're not going to pull the plow in the same direction.
The yolk is unequal. They'll pull in opposite directions. It won't be a good working situation. They'll pull against each other. Life will be a tug of war, let's say. Oh, how many couples, it would be said, the best summary statement of their life is their marriage is a tug of war. They are going in opposite directions.
That's why we shouldn't be unequally yoked or mismated, as one translation says. And David, I think, made a mistake here in marrying this woman altogether. What do you have in common with unbelievers? Well, we both like jazz. Whoo. Now that's something to base a lifetime on, right? I hope you have a little bit deeper roots than that.
Your answer should be we both love Jesus Christ before any one and anything else in this life. That means more to both of us than anything. If that is a foundation, that's solid, that's solid. It's certainly much deeper than we love jazz and burritos on Saturday night.
She's good looking and she thinks I'm good looking. OK, so what? Is it till looks do us part? That's the relationship? Let's get married and if I get ugly and you get ugly, we'll divorce. No. And I think the result of this relationship is disastrous. And I'm not going to even blame Absalom.
You know, I don't even think you can say there are illegitimate children. There are lots of illegitimate parents who birth children and then don't father their children the right way and nurture their children the right way, as what happened here. David made a series of mistakes that will cost him his kingdom, it will cost him the relationship with his son.
And so boy, it's amazing, isn't it? That the Bible never hides the flaws of even the heroes? Never pulls any punches. Say's here's their life. This is what they've done. Follow the good, don't do that. Heavenly Father, as we close tonight, there's a verse that keeps coming back to my own mind. It keeps ringing in the halls of my brain.
That says God devises means by which his banished ones can return to him. Lord, it all begins with a relationship with you. And some of us, Lord, feel banished. We're alienated, we're aside, we're apart, we're distant. There's no real relationship.
But there's a yearning in our hearts tonight, as there was a yearning in Absalom's heart, to not just be in the same town with his father, but to be under his father's embrace. David, his father, needed a merciful and forgiving heart. Absalom needed repentance. Lord, you already have a merciful and forgiving heart.
May some who are here tonight meet that loving, forgiving heart with their own true repentance. Change, that there might be a reconciliation between an estranged one and the Heavenly Father. Lord, you can bring that deep conviction in an instant, in a moment of time.
Often it is a process, but sometimes the process culminates in an instant. And maybe this is the instant. Maybe right here, right now. Those men, those women, young or old, feeling estranged from their Heavenly Father because of personal sin, because of other interests.
Perhaps being choked up by the cares or the pleasures of this age, are sensing right now the desire for a Father to embrace them, to love them, to forgive them, to reconcile with them. And so Lord, as you bring that conviction, may it be met with decision.