REPOSTToday’s AMI QT Devotional, written by Pastor David Kwon of Journey Community Church in Raleigh, was originally posted on May 11, 2015.
Devotional Thought for Today
“Unthinkable Things We Humans Do”
2 Samuel 13:1-20
Now Absalom, David’s son, had a beautiful sister, whose name was Tamar. And after a time Amnon, David’s son, loved her.  And Amnon was so tormented that he made himself ill because of his sister Tamar, for she was a virgin, and it seemed impossible to Amnon to do anything to her.  But Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shimeah, David’s brother. And Jonadab was a very crafty man.  And he said to him, “O son of the king, why are you so haggard morning after morning? Will you not tell me?” Amnon said to him, “I love Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.”  Jonadab said to him, “Lie down on your bed and pretend to be ill. And when your father comes to see you, say to him, ‘Let my sister Tamar come and give me bread to eat, and prepare the food in my sight, that I may see it and eat it from her hand.’”  So Amnon lay down and pretended to be ill. And when the king came to see him, Amnon said to the king, “Please let my sister Tamar come and make a couple of cakes in my sight, that I may eat from her hand.”  Then David sent home to Tamar, saying, “Go to your brother Amnon’s house and prepare food for him.”  So Tamar went to her brother Amnon’s house, where he was lying down. And she took dough and kneaded it and made cakes in his sight and baked the cakes.  And she took the pan and emptied it out before him, but he refused to eat. And Amnon said, “Send out everyone from me.” So everyone went out from him.  Then Amnon said to Tamar, “Bring the food into the chamber, that I may eat from your hand.” And Tamar took the cakes she had made and brought them into the chamber to Amnon her brother.  But when she brought them near him to eat, he took hold of her and said to her, “Come, lie with me, my sister.”  She answered him, “No, my brother, do not violate me, for such a thing is not done in Israel; do not do this outrageous thing.  As for me, where could I carry my shame? And as for you, you would be as one of the outrageous fools in Israel. Now therefore, please speak to the king, for he will not withhold me from you.”  But he would not listen to her, and being stronger than she, he violated her and lay with her.  Then Amnon hated her with very great hatred, so that the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her. And Amnon said to her, “Get up! Go!”  But she said to him, “No, my brother, for this wrong in sending me away is greater than the other that you did to me.” But he would not listen to her.  He called the young man who served him and said, “Put this woman out of my presence and bolt the door after her.”  Now she was wearing a long robe with sleeves, for thus were the virgin daughters of the king dressed. So his servant put her out and bolted the door after her.  And Tamar put ashes on her head and tore the long robe that she wore. And she laid her hand on her head and went away, crying aloud as she went.  And her brother Absalom said to her, “Has Amnon your brother been with you? Now hold your peace, my sister. He is your brother; do not take this to heart.” So Tamar lived, a desolate woman, in her brother Absalom’s house.
If you turn on the news on any given night, you will often hear about a crime that seems unimaginable. I recently watched a story of a nurse who burned down a hospital, which resulted in 5 newborn infants dying all because she received a bad review at her job. Shock, anger, and confusion are just a few of the many emotions that come to mind when we read these stories.
This is one of the most heartbreaking and shocking stories in the OT. Just like an unthinkable crime, this passage brings various emotions because of the depravity in display. In 2 Samuel, we see uncontrollable lust, rape, and murder, and at the heart of it all we see the destructiveness of sin.
Amnon, in love with his half-sister Tamar who refuses to sleep with him, deceives and rapes her; in addition to such a crime, it was an act of incest, which was explicitly forbidden in the covenant law (Lev. 18:9; Deut 27:22). Tamar pleads with Amnon and tells him to consider the consequences of his actions, but we see those pleas are ignored (v.12-14). After his physical passions are satisfied, Amnon feels “intense hatred” toward Tamar. Feelings of guilt and shame heighten Amnon’s emotions, so that he now “hated her more than he had loved her” (v. 15).
What can we learn from this passage? First, we need to ask the Lord for self-control in our fight over sin – We see a classic case study of what happens when sin is not controlled and takes over our lives. Amnon is overtaken by his lust for Tamar and the consequences are severe. We need to remember that as believers, God gives us the spirit of self-control to fight sin in our lives. In addition, we must find the right people to help us fight temptation. It is important that we find the right people to keep us accountable – a mature believer/friend; a small group; a leader, etc.
Finally, there are always consequences to our actions, that is, the sins we commit. We hurt others and ourselves when we fall into sin. Therefore, pursue God’s holiness as if your life depends on it, because it does. Say no to sin when it is pliable, but don’t wait until it has fully grown and about to give “birth to death” (James 1:15).
Prayer: Lord, may my heart grieve over the sins in my life because it breaks Your heart. Help me to depend on Your Spirit that empowers and enables me to have victory over sin in my life. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 6
Lunch Break Study
1 Corinthians 10:13: No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
Luke 22:40: And when he came to the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”
Questions to Consider
- What do we learn about temptation and sin according to 1 Corinthians 10:13?
- What do we learn about God and His character?
- What are some practical applications we can live by in order to fight sin in our lives?
- Whatever temptation you face, regardless of how seemingly insignificant or how great it is, know that your struggles are common to all. You are not the first person to experience the temptation, and you most certainly won’t be the last.
- God is always faithful, and He will not let you to be tempted to the point that you must give in.
- There are others out there who can relate to whatever temptation you suffer at any given moment, which is why a strong community is vital in overcoming temptation.
What are the temptations that you are facing today? Fighting sin is a battle and can often be discouraging. Spend some time praying for strength and victory in our pursuit of overcoming temptation and sin.