Summary: This message examines how unresolved bitterness destroyed Abasalom's life.
In the United States it is quite common for those in power to make the headlines for all the wrong reasons. There’s nothing that seems to catch our attention like a good political scandal. There are several of these scandals that are forever etched in our minds. We were brought “Watergate” in 1974, the “Iran Contra Affair” in 1985 and in 1998 we were brought the “Clinton-Lewinsky Affair”. The popularity of TV dramas shows that many Americans are drawn to stories that contain intrigue, scandal and cover-ups. Today, we come to a story of a son’s bitterness and a family’s dysfunction that leads to rebellion and revenge. The story has everything that catches our attention; sex, murder, cover-up and a struggle for power. In fact, if we did not know that Absalom’s story was from the Bible we would be sure that it was straight out of one of these TV dramas. Like with political leaders today, the lives of the Royal family in ancient Israel were on public display. So even the slightest whisper of scandal spread like an out of control wild fire. Contained within these six chapters, there are enough plots and subplots to make several seasons of TV dramas. The main characters in our drama are David the greatest king in Israel’s history and his bitter son Absalom. Today our goal is to examine Absalom’s story and see what principles we can take away from it for our own lives.
I. Absalom was raised in a home that was far from ideal.
A. A snapshot of David’s family.
1. David had eight wives that are named in the Bible; however there are hints that he may have had several more not including concubines.
2. With the eight wives that are listed, David fathered nineteen sons and one daughter.
3. There is some evidence that David may have fathered other children with some of his concubines.
4. The mother of Absalom and his sister Tamar was Maachah.
B. The best adjectives that can be used to describe David’s family are fragmented and dysfunctional.
1. David’s polygamy made it next to impossible for him to be able to spend any quality time with his wives and children.
2. While we admire David and all of his exploits, Absalom had a front row seat to view all his father’s inconsistencies.
a. There was rivalry between the sons as they positioned themselves to succeed their father.
b. David’s involvement with Bathsheba and the ensuing cover-up.
3. Absalom witnessed many things during his formative years that undoubtedly scarred him and caused bitterness to form.
4. There are two choices for living our lives. We can choose to live in a way where cover-up is necessary or in a way that cover-up is not needed.
5. We know the choice that David made and his family paid dearly for that choice.
II. The factors that fueled all of Absalom’s bitterness.
A. Absalom’s father was always too busy for him.
1. David was spread so thin there was no possible way for him to be an effective father or husband.
2. Chapters three through twelve cover a span of twenty years and no mention is made of Absalom.
3. Perhaps Absalom was overlooked by his father much like he is overlooked by the Biblical writer.
4. Undoubtedly the pressures of being king were draining which would have made it easy for David to overlook the little things.
5. Here lies the problem: Things that we view as being little are important to someone else.
B. The effects of Amnon’s rape of Absalom’s sister Tamar.
1. Amnon was David’s oldest son and heir apparent to the throne of Israel.
2. Over time Amnon became obsessed with Tamar to the point that he didn’t care about anything else.
3. Amnon’s cousin Jonadab was very shrewd and unscrupulous, so he helps Amnon come up with way to be alone with Tamar.
4. The plan works and despite the protests of Tamar, Amnon has his way with her resulting in him hating Tamar more than he desired her.
5. When David hears about it, we are told he was angry but he failed to do anything about it which further fueled Absalom’s bitterness toward his father.
C. Absalom’s bitterness and desire for revenge will simmer under the surface for nearly two years.
1. Absalom comforts Tamar the best he could after the ordeal but on the inside he is boiling and plotting how to get even with Amnon.
2. At sheep shearing time great celebrations often took place, so Absalom uses this time of celebration to seek revenge against Amnon.
3. One has to wonder why David would allow this situation to happen.
a. David declines to accept Absalom’s invitation.
b. Absalom requests Amnon’s presence despite some apparent suspicion, David sends him along with his other sons.