Absalom….and a father’s love for a very unlovable son....
David was a scoundrel in some regards and had a lot of blood on his hands when it came to fights and executing his enemies. But with his children and his countrymen he had great patience and compassion.
But despite David’s love, his middle son, Absalom, the incredibly handsome one with “movie-star” charm and charisma, plotted against his father, stole the people of Israel’s hearts and was the cause of thousands of deaths before he as killed by Joab, the leader of the David’s army.
And yet, all the while Absalom plotted against his father and even when he went so far as to publicly have sexual intercourse with David’s concubines(!), David was still hoping for reconciliation and restoration with his son. David was not naive to his son’s sins—-he knew what Absalom was capable of and wisely fled from his own home with armed compassions when Absalom made his move to supplant him.
David had a love for Absalom that no one else could understand—-least of all a military commander like Joab. Sadly, not all fathers are like David. King Saul was ready to kill his eldest son Jonathan on at least two occasions! Other fathers are recorded as burning their sons alive as offerings to an idol; many sons within the history of Christianity have seen their fathers disown them because of the adherence to Jesus.
But not David, and perhaps that’s one reason God loved David so very much. David was an incredible fighter, but he was also quite a lover (often to his discredit) and a proud father that loved his children and would have readily given up his life for even the vilest of his sons—Absalom.
I never could understand David’s parenting until I had four sons of my own. I once considered David to be a very weak and short-sighted father, and I was quite disgusted by his lack of courage when it came to showing “tough love” with his sons. But now that I have sons and I understand a bit more than I did then. I have “walked in his shoes” and I am more in awe of David than ever. Truly, David represents a father that loves like a father should love, more than the “hero-dad” I envisioned when I was uneducated about of what a godly parent should be.
Yes, David made his share of blunders, but his heart was right towards God—-and therefor his heart was right towards his children and countrymen. And that’s the point: He had the the right understanding of ordering his life: his first passion was God—he was the one “panting” and seeking after God; the extraordinary love for his family and friends naturally followed. God gave him a love for Abasolom that was, well, not-of-this-world; it is a representation of the love that God has for me—-and for you.
At times I am similar to Absalom! And yet He loves me and seeks for my life and my protection—-not my death and destruction! Praise God that He showed David the right way to love a son—-even if the son is wicked to the core! Thanks be to God that He loves me, an unworthy son….that He determined that I was was worthy His love and His redemption despite my hateful ways…and that he has given me a better example of what a good father is.
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