Summary: There were 3 things missing in this tragic story that undermined David’s family and nearly destroyed his kingdom. Do you know what they are?
OPEN: A married couple had a boy that was difficult to raise. He caused all types of trouble in school, in the neighborhood and at home.
One year, the couple went on a trip to Europe while the boy stayed with relatives back home. As they went from one country to another they would send back postcards to their son of the sights they would see. They visited France, and Germany and several other lands. When they were in Greece, they sent back a postcard to their son with this message: “Today on our tour we came to a cliff over which Greek women were said to have once thrown their defective children…. Wish you were here.”
APPLY: Some kids are like that. Some kids are just EXTREMELY difficult to do anything with. And that’s true often enough that a number of books have been written about how to be better parents and how to deal with difficult children.
Now it’s worth while to know how to be a better parent. And these books are no doubt well researched and extremely helpful. But I have found that when it comes to understanding how to be a good parent - sometimes it’s valuable to observe what makes a parent FAIL. To look at how a dad or mom DIDN’T do their job right and find ways of making sure WE don’t mess it up in that same way.
Here in our text today, we have the story of a man who’s an excellent example of how not to be a parent. We have a man who failed to be a good father in this situation and who – because he failed created a recipe for disaster that eventually threatened to tear down his entire household.
We have a man named David. And the son he failed was Absalom.
I. Now, let me to tell you the story of Absalom
Absalom was the 3rd born son of David by his wife Maacah. He was a strikingly handsome young man. 2 Samuel 14:25-26 tells us that “In all Israel there was not a man so highly praised for his handsome appearance as Absalom. From the top of his head to the sole of his foot there was no blemish in him. Whenever he cut the hair of his head— he used to cut his hair from time to time when it became too heavy for him— he would weigh it, and its weight was two hundred shekels by the royal standard.
Now Absalom was not only strikingly handsome/he had strikingly beautiful sister named Tamar. In fact, she was so beautiful that her half-brother Amnon fell into lust over her and conspired to get her alone… and then raped her.
When David found out about this wickedness he became very angry. But as far as we know, he did nothing.
BUT when Absalom found out about his sister’s rape - he was angry too - but he intended to do something about it. First he moved Tamar into his own house and supplied for her needs the rest of her life. That’s what Amnon SHOULD HAVE DONE… had he been a righteous man. But of course Amnon wasn’t a righteous man. He was a very wicked man. He literally didn’t deserve to live. And Absalom intended to rectify that problem. He plotted for the next 2 years to take Amnon’s life. When the time was right, Absalom invited Amnon to a party a few miles away on the border of Ephraim. And while Amnon was there, Absalom got him drunk and then had him murdered.
Then Absalom fled to the north, to his grandfather’s kingdom in the land of Geshur. And there Absalom remained in exile for the next 3 years.
But all the time he was gone, Scripture tells us David longed to have Absalom back. “The spirit of the king longed to go to Absalom” 2 Samuel 13:39
Finally, David does call Absalom back to Israel. But it appears that Absalom’s anger wasn’t reserved only for Amnon. There is a possibility that he was also deeply angry with his father and may have intended to kill David at the same party Amnon was invited to. We read in the text that Absalom implored David to attend this feast as well and only after being repeatedly turned down did he settle only for Amnon.
But, when Absalom returned to Jerusalom, he plotted to take the throne away from his father. He curried favor with the people and built up an army to overthrow King David. When the time was right, he launched his coup and David was forced to flee Jerusalem … fleeing into the wilderness where his forces eventually defeat those of Absalom. Absalom fled on his donkey, and as he rode through a forest, his head got caught in the branches of an oak tree, and as he hung there, Joab (David’s commander-in-chief) killed him with 3 javelins thrust thru his heart.