Today’s reading begins with the killing of Absalom and concludes with death of Sheba.
After years of Absalom undermining David’s rule and ultimately attempting to have him killed, Absalom met his end. He was riding a mule and came upon a thicket and his head got caught in a tree. When David’s commander Joab came upon Absalom he had his men kill him. When David was informed of his son’s death he was deeply grieved. Grieved to the point of rebuke by Joab.
It certainly would be a devastating personal conflict for David. It would seem to me that this would be one of the most difficult situations for a person to reconcile in his mind. Certainly any person who had been pursued by another who was intent on killing him would feel a great sense of relief. Who wouldn’t? Knowing that this person was dead and could no longer seek your demise liberating. On the other hand, what parent finds it easy to see their son or daughter killed?
In refusing to deal with the sin of one son, Amnon, David set in motion this tragic series of events. The events were birthed in the unrighteous act of conspiracy against Uriah when David had him killed in the battlefield to cover his own tracks with regards to his adultery with Bathsheba. It ought to serve as a warning to every human being. Although God may be merciful to us as people and not make us deal with the direct consequences of our actions, each act of sin or disobedience sets in motion unforeseen events. Even typing that sentence frightens me. What have I set in motion for my life by the actions I’ve taken?
I guess that’s the most sobering reality of David’s life. Although blessed by God and loved by God and held up for all subsequent human history as the best example of a man after God’s own heart, God did not remove the consequences of his actions with Bathsheba. In another sense, although David’s disobedience led to such great tragedy it was through this union that God chose to perpetuate the bloodline of David leading to the birth of Christ.
I can’t understand it. I can’t see that God condones what David did, but miraculously, God took the disaster that David wrought and created the path for the salvation of the world.