Summary: Learning from David’s mistakes with his sons Amnon and Absalom

David’s Dysfunctional Family

2 Samuel 13:21-18:33

Primary Purpose: Learning from David’s mistakes in dealing with his disappointments with Amnon and Absalom

One of my favorite Bible characters is David. David was a great man of God, but wasn’t one who had a easy life. Some of the problems he had were brought about by his own actions or lack of action. This is particularly true when you look at some of the relationships he had with his sons Amnon and Absalom. David was a man who loved deeply, but sometimes had trouble both with disciplining his children and in loving them. This would lead to disasterous results.

First, I want to look at David’s response to his daughter’s Tamar rape by Amnon. In 2 Samuel 13 we read the story. David’s response to this was that he was furious 2 Sam 13:21. Yet, David didn’t express his anger to Amnon. Amnon on his part never ran from or apparently feared his father.

Amnon deserved death for what he did.

What can we learn from that? David didn’t control what he could have. If he had judged his son, even though that would have been painful, then Absalom fury would have subsided and he wouldn’t have sought revenge. David didn’t deal with his problem in a Biblical manner. He didn’t judge the sin rightly. He should have taken this whole matter to the Lord and allow the Lord to guide him in his decision making. Instead, David doesn’t nothing. He should have known the heart of God about this after God had punished him by taking away Bathsheba’s child because of adultery. By doing nothing, it appears David condones what happened.

Second, we see that David refuses to forgive his son Absalom for the murder of Amnon. Because David didn’t judge Amnon, Absalom, Tamar’s half brother does. It’s interesting that though Jonadab, a nephew of David’s understood how Absalom felt, but David didn’t. David didn’t see the unforgiveness in Absalom’s heart.

A. Absalom orders Amnon’s murder (2 Sam 13:28-29)

B. Absalom flees and lives in Geshur for 3 years (2 Sam 13:37)

C. Absalom came home, but David refused to see him (2 Sam 14:32-33) Absalom had to set fire to Joab’s fields in order to get his attention. Absalom feels like he is being treated as a guilty person even though nobody is saying anything good or bad to him. Bitterness enslaves a person

The book “Will Daylight Come?” by Richard Hoefler, illustrates the truth, that forgiveness frees and unforgiveness enslaves. A little boy visiting his grandparents was given his first slingshot. He practiced in the woods, but he could never hit his target. As he came back to grandma’s back yard, he spied her pet duck. On an impulse he took aim and let it fly. The stone hit its target. The boy panicked. Desperatedly he hid the dead duck in the woodpile, only to look and see his sister watching. Sally had seen it all, but she said nothing.

After lunch that day, Grandma said, “Sally, let’s wash the dishes.” But Sally said, “Johnyy told me he wantd to help in the kitchen today. Didn’t you, Johnny?” Ans she whispered to him, “Remember the duck!” So Johnny did the dishes.

Later Grandpa asked if the children wanted to go fishing. Grandm said, “I’m sorry, but I need Sally to help make supper.” Sally smiled and said, “That’s all taken care of, Johnny wants to do it.” Again she whispered, “Remember the duck.” Johnny stayed while Sally went fishing.

After several days of Johnny doing his chores and Sally’s, he couldn’t stand it. He confessed to Grandma that he’d killed her duck. “I know, Johnny,” she said, giving him a hug. “I was standing at the window and saw the whole thing. Because I love you, I forgave you! I wondered how long you would let Sally make you a slave.”

(Originally in Leadership Magazine, Christianity Today Inc, by Steve Cole, To Illustrate Forgiveness, pg.86)

Practical Application: Guard your heart against bitterness. Prov 4:23 tells us that “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”

Pastor Michael Thomas tells the story about a boy who grew up in a rural community that specialized in growing tobacco. Their first summer job was to weed the crop and most of the time he and his fellow workers would walk the seemingly endless rows with a hoe, scuffing out weeds in relative comfort. But sooner or later when they got close to the fence, they ran into thistles- hundreds and hundreds of these little thistles. They looked harmless enough, but you couldn’t scuff them out with a hoe; you had to get down on your knees and pull those prickly little things out by the roots.

You know, bitterness is a lot like those little thistles. We can put away hurts and pains, but the only way to get rid of bitterness is to fall to our knees and root it out through prayerful dependence on God.

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