REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, written by Pastor David Kwon of Journey Community Church in Raleigh, was originally posted on May 13, 2015. He is a graduate of Drexel University (B.S.) and Columbia International University (M.Div.).
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“Revenge & Forgiveness”
2 Samuel 13:23-39
After two full years Absalom had sheepshearers at Baal-hazor, which is near Ephraim, and Absalom invited all the king’s sons.  And Absalom came to the king and said, “Behold, your servant has sheepshearers. Please let the king and his servants go with your servant.”  But the king said to Absalom, “No, my son, let us not all go, lest we be burdensome to you.” He pressed him, but he would not go but gave him his blessing.  Then Absalom said, “If not, please let my brother Amnon go with us.” And the king said to him, “Why should he go with you?”  But Absalom pressed him until he let Amnon and all the king’s sons go with him.  Then Absalom commanded his servants, “Mark when Amnon’s heart is merry with wine, and when I say to you, ‘Strike Amnon,’ then kill him. Do not fear; have I not commanded you? Be courageous and be valiant.”  So the servants of Absalom did to Amnon as Absalom had commanded. Then all the king’s sons arose, and each mounted his mule and fled.  While they were on the way, news came to David, “Absalom has struck down all the king’s sons, and not one of them is left.”  Then the king arose and tore his garments and lay on the earth. And all his servants who were standing by tore their garments.  But Jonadab the son of Shimeah, David’s brother, said, “Let not my lord suppose that they have killed all the young men, the king’s sons, for Amnon alone is dead. For by the command of Absalom this has been determined from the day he violated his sister Tamar.  Now therefore let not my lord the king so take it to heart as to suppose that all the king’s sons are dead, for Amnon alone is dead.”  But Absalom fled. And the young man who kept the watch lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, many people were coming from the road behind him by the side of the mountain.  And Jonadab said to the king, “Behold, the king’s sons have come; as your servant said, so it has come about.”  And as soon as he had finished speaking, behold, the king’s sons came and lifted up their voice and wept. And the king also and all his servants wept very bitterly. But Absalom fled and went to Talmai the son of Ammihud, king of Geshur. And David mourned for his son day after day.  So Absalom fled and went to Geshur, and was there three years.  And the spirit of the king longed to go out to Absalom, because he was comforted about Amnon, since he was dead.
If you have ever watched the movie Kill Bill starring Uma Thurman, it is a story of revenge. Thurman, a former assassin, known simply as The Bride, awakens from a coma four years after her jealous ex-lover Bill attempts to murder her on her wedding day. Fueled by an insatiable desire for revenge, she vows to get even with every person who contributed to the loss of her unborn child, her entire wedding party, and four years of her life. She goes through great lengths to make sure her enemies pay for what they had done to her.
Today’s verses are also a story of revenge. Absalom hated Amnon because Amnon had abused Absalom’s sister. He could not fathom Amnon getting away with the unimaginable act of sin and so he decides to plot his murder. David’s failure to execute justice might have fueled Absalom to take matters into his own hands. After two years of waiting, the moment of revenge had arrived. Absalom decides to have a sheep-shearing party (v.23) with all of his brothers and half-brothers and such a party would always involve a good time eating, drinking and enjoying each other’s company. When Amnon was sufficiently drunk, Absalom signals to his servants to kill him which results in a great panic causing his brothers to flee. In the end Amnon was dead and Absalom got the revenge he was seeking which was all that mattered. The cost of Absalom’s actions resulted in him fleeing and he ended up in exile.
What can we learn from today’s passage? First, we must remember that we are not to take vengeance on people who have hurt us. Trusting in God’s sovereignty and justice is what we are called to do as believers. Similarly, we must learn how to forgive others. Forgiveness is not an emotion but rather a choice and we need to continually depend on the Lord for strength to forgive those who have wronged us in our lives. Is there someone you need to forgive in your life today? Are you having negative emotions of hatred and anger towards others? Take some time to pray specially that the Lord would strengthen you let go of past hurts and give you a heart of forgiveness.
Prayer: Lord, remind me that vengeance is ultimately yours. Through the power of your Holy Spirit, give me the strength to forgive others and even love those who have hurt me. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Genesis 43
Lunch Break Study
Romans 12:19-21: Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”  To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Matthew 5:43-48: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,  so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.  For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?  And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?  You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Questions to Consider
- From the Romans passage, why is it important that we never avenge ourselves?
- In what ways can we specially pray and love our enemies?
- How do these verses challenge you today?
- Despite people wronging us, we must trust God’s justice. Paul’s exhortation also helps us trust the Lord when we find ourselves suffering unjust treatment at the hands of those who always seem to come out on top. No matter how successful they appear in this life, we know that God will deal with them in the end, and on that day, those who suffer for Christ will be exalted and will receive a great reward in heaven (Matt. 5:11-12).
- Pray that they might come to know Christ. Pray that God would bless their lives and help them and that your heart would be softened toward them. Ask that God would remind you of the grace he has poured out on your life.
- Personal response
Forgiving others is often difficult and sometimes impossible without the power of Christ. Spend time in prayer interceding for your enemies and those who have wronged you. Ask that God would give you a heart to love and pray for them.