But as I read his story my heart goes out to him. Look at some of the details and let me know what you think.
1. When a half-brother rapes his sister (2 Samuel 13) Absalom tenderly comforts her and takes her into his own home. He later names a daughter after this sister. What a kind, loving man he seems to be when we first meet him. But things start to change.
2. According to the law the rapist, David’s son and Absalom’s half-brother, should have been executed. David hears about it and gets “furious” but does nothing. His son rapes his daughter. David gets mad but does nothing.
3. Two years later Absalom carries out the justice the law demands by killing Amnon. David hears about it but does nothing.
NOTE: Had David taken action and impartially applied the law, even though it was his son who would have been executed, many lives could have been spared in the future. Of course, had Absalom forgiven the injustice, that too would have changed the course of his life for the better.
4. Absalom flees fearing for his life and David longs for him to return but David does nothing.
5. A family member and advisor guilts David into bringing Absalom back to Jerusalem but check this out – David sends for Absalom but does not go to him personally. He sends others but David does nothing.
6. When Absalom obeys and returns to the city David refuses to see him. For two years Absalom lives in the same city as his father but is never allowed to see him.
6. Absalom finally says, Why did he bring me back if he won’t see me? “I want to see the king’s face, and if I am guilty of anything, let him put me to death.” (2 Samuel 14:32) Absalom seems to be the bigger man here. “If I did wrong then give me what I deserve. But if I did nothing wrong then stop treating me like I did.”
7. David relents and sees Absalom but apparently there are no apologies, no humility, no forgiveness, no understanding. Now Absalom begins to foment a rebellion against his father and he becomes a villain of Scripture. (2 Samuel 15)
What a sad tale but doesn’t it seem David is more responsible for the outcome than Absalom? A son rapes a daughter and dad does nothing – nothing! A son kills a brother and dad does nothing. When forced to do something David half-forgives. Even when David knows Absalom is preparing a rebellion he does nothing. Why not run to Absalom – like the father of the prodigal did – beg his forgiveness for your failures as a father. Humble yourself.
Yes, Absalom could also have forgiven and changed the course of his life but David was the father. David should have been the more mature, the first to take whatever steps necessary to affect reconciliation.
What a message for Dads. Be the man. Don’t be an unengaged, observer of your family, a do nothing dad. A leader goes first. That means you needs to be first to forgive – fully. You need to be first to confess your failures. You need to be first to humble yourself and do what ever is necessary to establish harmony and peace in your home and it does not come by sitting on your throne and demanding respect. It comes by you leading the way in humility, in forgiveness, in pardon and in caring concern. Be the man or don’t be surprised if one day you look up and your kingdom has been taken from you and you are left with nothing.
Don’t be selfish; … Be humble, thinking of (your family) as (more important) than yourself. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. (He did not demand His rights.)
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. … he humbled himself in obedience to God and died (to self). Therefore, God has exalted him… (Philippians 2:3-9 NLT)