In a recent study of the life of David, I have seen some truths about the relationship David had with his son, Absalom, that I have applied to my life with my heavenly Father. I hope they can be of some help to you.
The Mercy of the King
In 2 Samuel 13, Amnon forces himself upon his half-sister, Tamar, who is the sister of Absalom. Absalom becomes furious, enraged with hatred, and begins to plot his revenge on his half-brother, Amnon. For two years, Absalom waits until an opportune time to strike, which he does, and Absalom has Amnon killed.
According to Leviticus 24:17, God's law is clear that murder is punishable by death. With sin natures, we have broken God's law and deserve to die. We, like Absalom, have betrayed the King and are deserving of His judgment. In 2 Samuel 13, Absalom has fled to Geshur and is hiding from his father, who is longing to be restored to a wayward son. "So Absalom fled, and went to Geshur, and was there three years. And the soul of king David longed to go forth unto Absalom: for he was comforted concerning Amnon, seeing he was dead." (2 Samuel 13:38-39).
God is longing to restore us back to Himself. His nature is to be in good standing with His children. In the 14th chapter of 2 Samuel, David's commander, Joab, perceives that David longs for Absalom and Joab devises a plan to bring Absalom back to Jerusalem. Through Joab's ruse, we see that as king, David could override the law and protect transgressors from condemnation (2 Samuel 14:4-21). David tells Joab to bring Absalom home. Although we have transgressed against the King, and although the law states that we must die for our sin (Romans 6:23), our King has conquered the law and can save us from condemnation (Romans 8:1).
The Love of the Father
When Absalom returns home, David punishes him by refusing to meet with him for two years. Because of this, rebellion breeds in the heart of Absalom and he begins to plot, again, against his family. Although David has shown mercy, he knows that some sort of punishment must be given. When the fellowship between a father and son is broken, rebellion can be an immediate response. Instead of being thankful for the mercy God bestows upon us, sometimes we become angry at the cost of our own sin.
Over the years, Absalom rebels against his father's kingdom and he eventually dies in battle at the hand of Joab (2 Samuel 18:14). When David hears of his son's death, he is heartbroken and mourns the loss of his child (2 Samuel 18:33). Even through the evil, the rebellion, and the sin, God's love exceeds far beyond the barriers we can put up. When we challenge His authority, and we disregard His love and mercy, His love and mercy are everlasting.
Absalom's pride and sin cost him his relationship with his father. May we never cast off the mercy and love of our King and Father. The relationship with Him is worth far more than the life we can choose otherwise.
Written by Ryan Williamson