Today's Devotions

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Showcase: Assorted Treats

  • Falling in Love With God +

    “falling in love with God,” as Boa’s subtitle for the facet explains. In this approach we attempt to enter into Read More
  • The Shack +

    The Shack (Windblown, 2007) is a fictional religious story about experiencing grace and learning forgiveness. It was written by William Read More
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Don  Carson

http://www.biblestudytools.com/rsv/2-samuel/13.html

http://www.biblestudytools.com/rsv/2-corinthians/6.html

http://www.biblestudytools.com/rsv/ezekiel/20.html

http://www.biblestudytools.com/nrs/passage/?q=psalm+66;+psalm+67

THE THREAT TO DAVID'S REIGN predicted by the prophet Nathan begins with a sordid side-tale that nevertheless betrays exactly what is wrong with David's rule (2 Sam. 13).

The multiplicity of royal wives meant that there were many half brothers and half sisters. This sets up the wretched rape of Tamar. The profiles of the people involved, with the exception of Tamar, betray what today we would label a dysfunctional family. Of course, only two of the brothers, Amnon and Absalom, are seen close up. But David's handling of them—or better, his utter failure to handle them—is of a piece with the way he had earlier failed to handle Joab (see meditation on September 9).

Amnon is lustful, immature, irresponsible, deceptive, and brutal. One of the most revealing statements about him is what is said immediately after he has raped Tamar: "Then Amnon hated her with intense hatred. In fact, he hated her more than he had loved her" (2 Sam. 13:15). We are dealing with a spoiled child who has become an evil man.

If at this point David had exercised the justice he should have displayed in his role as head of state, the history of the next few years would have been entirely different. He shares the sin of Eli (see 1 Samuel 3 and the August 13 meditation): he sees his sons doing evil, and does nothing to restrain them. If he had required Amnon to face the full force of the law, not only would he have fired a shot across the bows of any other potentially wayward son, he would have proved he cared for what had happened to his daughter, and he would have drawn the horrible bitterness and vengefulness that Tamar's full brother Absalom now brings to a boil.

At this point Absalom is a tragic figure. He rightly holds Amnon accountable. Unable to find redress in the legal system that his own father has short-circuited, he opts for vengeance, then has to flee his father's wrath. Doubtless he should not have slain Amnon, but up to this point he is presented as a more attractive and principled character than the man he assassinates. Yet he knows that even David cannot ignore this particular murder, so he flees, leaving his father to look foolish and indecisive.

Relationships between fathers and sons are rarely both rich and straightforward. But the pattern of David's life, juxtaposed with Eli's but a few short chapters earlier, illustrates the kinds of disasters that befall families where the father, however loving, indulgent, godly, and heroic he may be, never holds his children to account, never disciplining them when they go astray. David's failure with Amnon and Absalom was not a first: it was the continuation of a moral and familial failure begun when the boys were in diapers.

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/loveofgod/

Reflections to Consider

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Publications

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Music

  • Jesus be the centre

    Center is a song that speaks of the essence of our life in Christ, and echoes the words the Christ Read More
  • I Lift My Hands

    A powerful hymn of adoration and praise Arkansas Gospel Mass Choir. This succinctly captures the joy of knowing our savior. Read More
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Audio & Video

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Favorites

  • Dallas Willard: An interview with John Ortberg on Understanding +

    Ortberg interviewed Willard toward the end of Willard's life about Understanding, Read More
  • Dallas Willard on C.S. Lewis +

    Willard discusses the  impact of Lewis on Christian thinking Read More
  • Dallas Willard: the genius of Jesus +

    Dallas Willard discusses the way that Jesus brings us to the Father, Read More
  • February 26 Devotional: Henri Nouwen, Ash Wednesday +

    When I speak, let it be of blessing and gratitude; Read More
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Hidden Blessings

  • The Enigma of King Saul +

    Why did God choose Saul as the first king of Israel? Read More
  • All Things Working To the Glory of God: Stephen’s Martyrdom +

    God works in mysterious ways– Read More
  • God's Love For Us +

    The well of love God has for us is deeper than our imaginations can grasp-- Read More
  • Truth versus Deceit +

    As stated countless times throughout the Bible, God is pure–God is truth. Read More
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