November 4, Sunday

Today’s devotion is written by Jabez Yeo of Remnant Church in Manhattan, New York. (We failed to mention that Jabez also wrote the blog posted yesterday.)

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“The Beginning of the End”

2 Samuel 13:21-39

Two years later, when Absalom’s sheepshearers were at Baal Hazor near the border of Ephraim, he invited all the king’s sons to come there. 24 Absalom went to the king and said, “Your servant has had shearers come. Will the king and his attendants please join me?” 25 “No, my son,” the king replied. “All of us should not go; we would only be a burden to you.” Although Absalom urged him, he still refused to go but gave him his blessing. 26 Then Absalom said, “If not, please let my brother Amnon come with us.” The king asked him, “Why should he go with you?” 27 But Absalom urged him, so he sent with him Amnon and the rest of the king’s sons. 28 Absalom ordered his men, “Listen! When Amnon is in high spirits from drinking wine and I say to you, ‘Strike Amnon down,’ then kill him. Don’t be afraid. Haven’t I given you this order? Be strong and brave.” 29 So Absalom’s men did to Amnon what Absalom had ordered. Then all the king’s sons got up, mounted their mules and fled. 30 While they were on their way, the report came to David: “Absalom has struck down all the king’s sons; not one of them is left.” 31 The king stood up, tore his clothes and lay down on the ground; and all his attendants stood by with their clothes torn. 32 But Jonadab son of Shimeah, David’s brother, said, “My lord should not think that they killed all the princes; only Amnon is dead. This has been Absalom’s express intention ever since the day Amnon raped his sister Tamar. 33 My lord the king should not be concerned about the report that all the king’s sons are dead. Only Amnon is dead.” 34 Meanwhile, Absalom had fled. Now the man standing watch looked up and saw many people on the road west of him, coming down the side of the hill. The watchman went and told the king, “I see men in the direction of Horonaim, on the side of the hill.”35 Jonadab said to the king, “See, the king’s sons have come; it has happened just as your servant said.” 36 As he finished speaking, the king’s sons came in, wailing loudly. The king, too, and all his attendants wept very bitterly. 37 Absalom fled and went to Talmai son of Ammihud, the king of Geshur. But King David mourned many days for his son. 38 After Absalom fled and went to Geshur, he stayed there three years. 39 And King David longed to go to Absalom, for he was consoled concerning Amnon’s death.

There are times when a disaster spells the end for an organization. Such was the case for the Seattle Seahawks, who were trailing the New England Patriots 28-24, with 26 seconds left in Super Bowl XLIX. With the ball on the Patriots’ 1-yard line, Seattle chose to throw the football instead of handing it off to Marshawn Lynch, football’s most dependable goal-line running back. Unfortunately, the Patriots intercepted the pass; Seattle devastatingly lost, and sadly has not been to the Super Bowl since.

Similarly, 2 Sam. 13:23-39 foretells the beginning of the end for David. Years after Amnon’s rape of Tamar, David still has not administered justice, and Absalom harbors much hatred toward Amnon (v.22). Thus, Absalom takes matters into his hands and orders for Amnon’s death (v.23-29). When David hears the news, he is told that “this has been Absalom’s express intention ever since the day Amnon raped his sister Tamar” (v.32). Absalom then flees to Geshur and stays there for three years (v.38).

How does this affect David? Aside from losing Amnon, David eventually loses Absalom as well, as Absalom stages a coup against David (2 Sam. 15) and further humiliates him by sleeping with David’s concubines “in the sight of all Israel” (2 Sam. 16:22). Absalom’s actions predictably spark a civil war in Israel, which leads to Absalom being killed in combat (2 Sam. 18). The greatest king of Israel was never the same, and Israel itself becomes divided into two kingdoms two generations after David.

Disasters in life are inevitable and ultimately reveal our innermost character. It is sobering that David, perhaps the greatest biblical figure outside of Jesus, could not even resolve conflict in his own house. Thus, it is no accident that Paul, when writing about elders, declares, “If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?” (1 Tim 3:3). No matter what life stage we are in, let’s pray that God would shape our character so that the catastrophes all of us eventually face will not lead to further chaos in our lives.

Prayer: Father, I acknowledge that it is too easy for me to let sin fester in my life. Help me to avoid the temptation to turn a blind eye and take the steps necessary to confront the flaws in my character. May I cling onto You in times of despair and not be brought to ruin, but rather be made stronger only by Your grace. In Your Name I pray. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: John 3.

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