Summary: As we descend deep into the world of family matters we cross the crevice of “when you blow it as a parent.” I want to help you navigate safely to the base camp of another challenging aspect of the parental climb
David mustered the men who were with him and appointed over them commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds. David sent the troops out—a third under the command of Joab, a third under Joab’s brother Abishai son of Zeruiah, and a third under Ittai the Gittite. The king told the troops, “I myself will surely march out with you.” But the men said, “You must not go out; if we are forced to flee, they won’t care about us. Even if half of us die, they won’t care; but you are worth ten thousand of us. It would be better now for you to give us support from the city.”
The king answered, “I will do whatever seems best to you.” So the king stood beside the gate while all the men marched out in units of hundreds and of thousands. The king commanded Joab, Abishai and Ittai, “Be gentle with the young man Absalom for my sake.” And all the troops heard the king giving orders concerning Absalom to each of the commanders. (2 Samuel 18:1-5)
Now Absalom happened to meet David’s men. He was riding his mule, and as the mule went under the thick branches of a large oak, Absalom’s head got caught in the tree. He was left hanging in midair, while the mule he was riding kept on going. (2 Samuel 18:9)
In his book, “Living Faithfully”, J Allen Blair tells of a man who was struggling to get to Grand Central Station in New York City. The wind blew fiercely, and the rain beat down on him as he lugged two heavy suitcases toward the terminal. Occasionally he would pause to rest and regain his strength before trudging on against the elements. At one point he was almost ready to collapse, when a man suddenly appeared by his side, took the suitcases, and said in a strangely familiar voice, “We’re going the same way. You look as if you could use some help.”
When they reached the shelter of the station, the weary traveler, the renowned educator Booker T. Washington, asked the man, “Please, sir, what is your name?” The man replied, “The name, my friend, is Roosevelt. Teddy Roosevelt.” (1)
This week the family that we get up close and personal with is King David’s. Our attention is drawn to a son that worked against David, instead of working with and for him. They were definitely not going in the same direction. David is to a Jew what Abraham Lincoln is to an American, what Nelson Mandela is South Africa, what Winston Churchill is to the nation of England. The father of this family is the Sweet Singer of Israel. Born in Bethlehem, he was a giant killer - and an adulterer. Israel reached superpower status under his reign.
He rose out of the isolation of the desert. He wasn’t pampered on the glow of popularity. His character was forged in a place of harshness. David learned faithfulness by tending sheep in an environment of routine and insignificance. Hour after hour, with no entertainment to pass the time, David would meditate on a relationship with God.
David loved Jehovah like no other Jew. The Bible says, “He was a man after God’s own heart” (Samuel 13:14). David was not, however, without flaws. Although he was a great king, his parenting skills left something to be desired.
Today we take a panoramic view of David’s relationship with his oldest son, Absalom. No father son relationship gets as much press as David and Absalom. The chapters of 2 Samuel 13-20 are packed with intrigue, espionage, deception, confusion, and most of all rebellion. Joab has seen the handwriting on the wall for some time, but David could not bring himself to accept the fact that his most beloved son, Absalom, would turn traitor and eventually turn from everything that David’s convictions stood for.
As you look at these chapters, you discover a coup attempt was being devised right inside the borders of the beloved city of Jerusalem. Absalom has one thing on his mind: tear the kingdom away from his father and get possession of the throne. In the latter years of David’s life he had only two options: remain and resist, or run and regroup.
Who likes to admit when you’ve blown it? When you’ve gone off the deep end with an attitude, failed to follow the guidelines and policies concerning safety at work, or find yourself slipping into mediocrity and complacency in a marriage? When you’re short with a friend, rough with a child, or insensitive as a spouse? Admitting we’ve blown it in life has to be at the top of the list of mistakes. All others take a back seat. Everything else is second place. Honorable mention.
Navigating Safely to the Base Camp