Longing’s a Good Thing

Joab son of Zeruiah knew that the king's heart longed for Absalom. 2 Samuel 15:1

King David is certainly an interesting study. He wept over Amnon and longed to see Absalom, the son who had murdered Amnon. It had been three years since Amnon's death and David was growing anxious in wanting to see Absalom. We don't hear much about the affairs of the kingdom, but we get a great sense that King David was trying to bring his family together. For whatever reason, Absalom would have nothing of it.

Have you ever longed for something only to be rejected time and time again? Have you ever set your heart on a trip you were taking and just couldn't wait to get there? We all have and we all know the feeling of almost getting there or getting that thing but being turned away. Disappointment. Rejection. Sadness. Frustration.

Focus on the Family's well known theme is "Turn Your Hearts Toward Home." In a sense David was doing that. We should too.

Are you longing for that Home? Are you longing for the day when you will be with Jesus? Yes, day by day we get frustrated and disappointed at the things we see around us, but every day we live is just one day closer to when His Glory will be revealed.

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The King Wept Bitterly

As he finished speaking, the king's sons came in, wailing loudly. The king, too, and all his servants wept very bitterly. 2 Samuel 14:36

Absalom had just killed his brother Amnon. A few years earlier Amnon had raped his sister, Tamar. It was obvious to all around (and they said so) that Absalom had killed him to avenge the rape. The King of Israel, King David, wept.

The king is weeping over his family. He had everything a man could want and yet his children were out of control. One son was a rapist; another was a murderer. Even David himself was a rapist who had his lover's husband murdered. It's not hard at all to imagine David weeping and weeping over what his family had become. His weeping showed his sorrow and his compassion.

It's not hard nowadays to weep when we read the news. Children are slaughtered senselessly; homes and fortunes are confiscated by ruthless dictators; genocidal evil men roam many countrysides in Africa. Unfortunately the list could go for pages on as there is a great amount of wickedness in the world.

Fortunately, though, we can weep in our prayers to God. We can weep over the wickedness; we can weep over the injustice; we can even weep over the state of our own souls.

When was the last time you wept?

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Righteous Anger

When King David heard all this, he was furious. Absalom never said a word to Amnon, either good or bad; he hated Amnon because he had disgraced his sister Tamar. 2 Samuel 13:21-22

After the kids are all grown up, David began to see just how dysfunctional his own family had become. David got furious at Amnon for what he did to Tamar, but you know he was probably recalling his own sin in that same household. Amnon was a grown young man with his own choices and tastes. His sin and actions were his own. By law he could have been put to death for what he had done to Tamar.

So David's fury against Amnon was short-lived for David had committed a similar sin. (Even as I write this, I can see that the family was a complete mess).

We too need to get angry at the things that are destroying the family (the church, so to speak). Sexual sin, greed, love of things, coldness of heart, and many others are great examples of things we need a righteous anger over. And that's not even to mention the multitude of events outside of the church that we need to become furious over.

Pray that god will give you the fury David had and the passion he had later in life towards God

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Sin Has Consequences

Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” Nathan replied, “The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. But because by doing this you have made the enemies of the LORD show utter contempt, the son born to you will die.” 2 Samuel 13:13-14

I’ll be honest, these kinds of passages trouble me. My first tendency is to avoid them because they don’t really fit into my idea of a compassionate and caring God. But there’s a lesson in all of this mess (and make no mistake, it is a mess) that is easy to miss.

I read this passage and continued on to the next, and as I thought about it, it all became clearer to me: sin has dire consequences. I know, it’s not exactly material that changes the world, but it is true nonetheless. I don’t think we really realize what kinds of consequences sin has on families and friends. Sometimes the effects are obvious; often they are not.

We don’t have to look far to see the devastation that sin has on families and societies: broken homes, out of control crime, sensless violence, children having children. The list could go on for pages.

And yet, there is forgiveness in Christ. That bears repeating: there is forgiveness in Christ no matter what you’ve done. Sin devastates; Christ rebuilds. Christ heals and mends the brokenness.

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David, You are the Man!

The LORD sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, “There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor.The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.

“Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.”

David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the LORD lives, the man who did this deserves to die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.”

Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man!”  2 Samuel 12:1-7

This is not the first time that Nathan appeared before David. In 2 Samuel 7, Nathan told David that someone from David’s lineage would build a house for the Lord. David trusted Nathan. In the present story, Nathan got David angry about a story character that Nathan had presented.

Then, out of nowhere, Nathan said to David, “You are the man!” Then Nathan revealed to David what he had done.

The last two devotionals have talked about God knowing all. We just cannot hide from the eyes of the Lord. As the Psalmist wrote in Psalm 139, “if I make my bed in the depths, ah, you are there!” No place on earth, under the earth, above the earth, or in the seas can we hide from God. Do you think He doesn’t see it all? Do you think he is able to see watch six billion people at once?

Praise God that He is all-seeing and all-knowing. Then pray that He will continue to smile upon your actions.

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