2 Sam. 13:1-22
I promise that this’ll be the last day I spend criticizing David for a while, but this chapter highlights something that I thought very important. We mentioned yesterday the four-fold punishment that David received for his sin, and today’s reading focuses on the second part. The sordid tale is told of Amnon’s unnatural lust towards his half-sister which culminated in rape. As you read through the rest of the chapter after today’s reading, you can see how Absalom, the full-blooded brother of Tamar, plotted and carried out the cold-blooded murder of the rapist. This led to the estrangement of Absalom from his father, their temporary reconciliation, and his eventual plot to steal the kingdom from David and usurp the throne.
The reason I brought up this story is because it points out a little-known and rarely considered effect of sin. Let’s start with an obvious question: Where was David during all of this? Amnon had despicably used him to ensnare Tamar in his trap, raped his sister, and then threw her out of his living space. The writer reported in vs. 21 that “David was furious,” when he heard what had happened, but there's no record of him doing anything about it. He didn’t arrest Amnon and bring him to justice (rape was a capital crime), and please remember that as the king he was supposed to be the primary law-enforcer in the land. For him to ignore Amnon’s crime was a crime in itself. His lack of action is probably what spurred Absalom on to taking the law in his own hands.
Why didn’t David do anything himself? My theory would be lack of spiritual and moral authority. Amnon’s crime had to do with sexual immorality, and Absalom committed murder, and it’s likely that David hesitated because he felt like a hypocrite taking action against them. Whatever the reason, as a father and as the king, he utterly failed to live up to his responsibilities.
This is a major problem in modern society, and it’s going to get worse. As the generations who grew up during the 1960’s and 1970’s become parents, they’re going to find themselves in a quandary. They don’t want their children to engage in premarital sex, but they don’t relish having to say “Do as I say, not as I did.” They know that children are VERY sensitive to any hypocrisy on the part of their parents, and this is a subject on which they don’t feel like they have a lot of moral authority.
To these parents, you have my sympathy. You made some bad decisions, and now that the Lord's forgiven you, you want to do the right thing. However, you can’t let your past failures dictate how you raise your children. If you don’t want to watch your children make some very self-destructive choices, you have to teach them now about choosing God’s way over what they feel like doing. And of course, you can provide them with a role-model from this point forward.
And to all those reading this who aren't parents yet, please take this into consideration. Keep this mind, tattoo it (figuratively) on your forehead: Sin will take you further than you want to go and cost you more than your're willing to pay. Yes, the Lord's promised to forgive you the moment you confess and repent, but the earthly consequences will be horrible, and you might not be the only one paying a price. Your children probably will as well. The choices you make today will someday affect your children who aren't even born yet.
David had a lot of good qualities, but as a parent he apparently did a horrible job. To all the parents out there, I plead with you: Don’t let the failures in your past become a family tradition.
Father God, I know that little eyes are watching me, even if I’m not a parent yet. You’re the perfect Father. Please help me learn from the Best.
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