There is irony in Absalom’s name; it means peaceful. It was not to be. When David committed adultery and murder, Nathan pronounced God’s judgment, “Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife” (2Samuel 12:10). Chapters 13-15 tell of torrid events that wreak havoc in David’s household. At the center of the storm is Absalom.
David had many wives, and with many wives came many children, each with the same father, but not necessarily the same mother. Amnon thought his half-sister Tamar beautiful, and desired her until he took her by force, then disposed of her in disgrace. Absalom, Tamar’s full-brother, brooded revenge for two years before killing his half-brother Amnon. The other brothers fled Absalom, fearing they were next, and Absalom fled the city of David, fearing his father’s displeasure.
It took some convincing, but David eventually invited Absalom back to Jerusalem. David, however, refused to see Absalom for two more years, and during that time, the handsome Absalom stole the hearts and loyalty of many of the people, including Ahithophel, a trusted advisor to the king. Turns out Bathsheba, the woman of David’s adultery, whose husband David murdered, was the daughter of Eliam (2Samuel 11:3), the son of Ahithophel (2Samuel 23:34). Ahithophel, David’s counselor, was Bathsheba’s grandfather. Sin weaves a nasty web. At chapter’s end, David fled his throne, fearing Absalom.
How did David end up exiled from his city and kingdom? It traces to choices, bad choices he made. David’s murder of Uriah and adultery with Bathsheba are glaringly bad, but not the beginning. “It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful” (2Samuel 11:2). Wrong place to be, but still not the beginning of bad choices. One more verse back.
As a teenager, I was told that “nothing good happens after midnight.” Every teenager hears this because every mother says it. What’s wrong with 1am? Nothing necessarily, but after midnight is the wrong time to be in the wrong place.
“In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, …David remained at Jerusalem” (2Samuel 11:1). David was supposed to be at war. War is where the men were, leaving all their wives at home in Jerusalem. Where David was. On the palace roof. At bathing time. Wrong time, wrong place. Sin begins not with temptation, but with opportunity.
Wonderful God, You made this world and called everything in it good. You gave this world to the people You created and told us to take care of it. You said everything is yours except one thing, and we then wanted the one thing.
God, shape my heart to desire nothing more than You and Your kingdom. Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, may I think about these things. Strengthen my resolve, keep me from evil, and do not let me give sin a foothold into my life.
May my eyes at all times be focused on You.