Rejecting the Invitation & Refusing to be Reckoned

Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament book of Second Samuel which describes the narrative of the reign of David king of Israel. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters fourteen through seventeen of this Old Testament book. Before I get into the words which are written and recorded within this passage of Scripture I can’t help but want to revisit something I wrote in an earlier writing. If you turn and direct your attention back to the tenth chapter of the Old Testament book of Second Samuel you will find a second demonstration and manifestation of the kindness of David—a kindness which I am convinced flowed directly from the heart of God. In the ninth chapter of this book we find David seeking out and searching for a member of the house of Saul whom he might show kindness unto for the sake of Jonathan. It would come about that there would still be a member of the house of Saul that was alive in Lo-debar—a son of Jonathan named Mephibosheth who was lame in both feet after a fall when he was only five years old. It’s worth noting that in the ninth chapter of this Old Testament book we not only find referenced the kindness of David, but we also find David seeking to demonstrate and manifest the kindness of God to this member of the house of Saul. As a direct result of hearing about this one who was still alive, David sent and brought him into his presence where he not only called him by name, but also gave him a permanent and perpetual seat of fellowship and communion at his table. What’s more, is that we also find David restoring unto him the inheritance of his father Saul in the land of the tribe of Benjamin, and appointing unto him those who would till the ground and provide food for his table. The ninth chapter of the book of Second Samuel finds David seeking out one from among the house of Saul which might still be left in the earth—one whom he might show and demonstrate the kindness of God toward. In the tenth chapter of this same Old Testament book we continue to find David seeking how he might show kindness—this time, however, it would not be unto a member of the house of Saul, but it would be unto one who had just ascended to the throne among the children of Ammon. If you read the words which are written and found within the tenth chapter of the book of Second Samuel you will find that the king of the children of Ammon died—Nahash by name—and his son Hanun ascending to the throne in his place. Upon hearing of the loss of his father, David desired that he might show kindness unto Hanun, and sent servants unto him in order that he might bring comfort and consolation unto him during the time of grieving, mourning, sorrow and loss. The kindness and compassion of David, however, was perceived by the princes of the children of Ammon as an attempt to subvert his authority, subvert his kingdom, and send in spies who would spy out the land in order that he might overthrow Ammon and the cities therein. Consider if you will the narrative that is found in the tenth chapter of the book of Second Samuel beginning to read with and from the opening verse of the chapter:

“And it came to pass, after this, that the king of the children of Ammon died, and Hanun his son reigned in his stead. Then said David, I will shew kindness unto Hanun the son of Nahash, as his father shewed kindness unto me. And David sent to comfort him by the hand of this servants for his father. And David’s servants came into the land of the children of Ammon. And the princes of the children of Ammon said unto Hanun their lord, Thinkest thou that David doth honour thy father, that he hath sent comforters unto thee? Hath n to David rather sent his servants unto thee, to search the city, and to spy it out, and to overthrow it? Wherefore Hanun took David’s servants, and shaved off the one half of their beards, and cut off their garments in the middle, even to their buttocks, and sent them away. When they told it unto David, he sent to meet them, because the men were greatly ashamed: and the king said, tarry at Jericho until your beards be grown, and then return. And when the children of Ammon saw that they stank before David, the children of Ammon sent and hired the Syrians of Beth-rehob, and the Syrians of Zoba, twenty-thousand footmen, and of king Maacah a thousand men, and of Ish-tob twelve thousand men. And when David heard of it, he sent Joab, and all the host of the mighty men. And the children of Ammon came out, and put the battle in array at the entering in of the gate: and the Syrians of Zoba, and of Rehob, and Ish-tob, and Maacah, were by themselves in the field. When Joab saw that the front of the battle was against him before and behind, he chose of all the choice men of Israel, and put them in array agains the Syrians: and the rest of the people he delivered into the hand of Abishai his brother, that he might put them in array against the children of Ammon. And he said, If the Syrians be too strong for me, then thou shalt help me: but if the children of Ammon be too strong for thee, then I will come and help thee. Be of good courage, and let us play the men for our people, and for the cities of our God: and the LORD do that which seemeth him good. And Joab drew nigh, and the people that were with him, unto the battle against the Syrians: and they fled before him. And when the children of Ammon saw that the Syrians were fled, then fled they also before Abishai, and entered into the city. So Joab returned from the children of Ammon, and came to Jerusalem” (2 Samuel 10:1-14).

If I am being honest with you when I read this particular portion of Scripture, I can’t help but see a tremendous parallel between David the king of Israel seeking to shew kindness unto another, and how the kindness which David sought to show unto this king of Ammon was perceived as being an attempt to exploit them to overthrow them. There is a New Testament passage when you find the Son of David speaking forth a parable about another king who attempted to send forth his servants to invite men and women to the place of fellowship, to the place of relationship, and to the place of communion. Upon seeing the servants that came unto them, however, the servants were cruelly treated and sent back to the king much like the servants which David sent unto the king of the children of Ammon. I can’t help but see a strong and powerful parallel between the narrative which is found in the tenth chapter of the Old Testament book of Second Samuel and the parable which Jesus the Son of David told of another king who attempted to invite others into a place of fellowship and relationship with him, and how they not only scorned his invitation, but also rejected it and sent the servants which he had sent back unto the king dejected, humiliated and ashamed. In fact, if you read the four gospel narrative accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ you will find distinct parables which Jesus the Christ—this New Testament Son of David who would one day rule upon and from the throne of David—concerning the sending of servants to bid men and women to come unto a banquet and to come into the place of fellowship, and how the servants and those whom the king sent were not only spitefully treated, but were also humiliated and ashamed. In fact, I can’t help but wonder if when Jesus spoke and delivered these parables He did not have in mind, and was not looking back to the ninth and tenth chapters of the Old Testament book of Second Samuel and the kindness which David showed—not only unto Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan who was the son of Saul, but also the kindness he attempted to show unto Hanun the king of the children of Ammon when his father Nahash who was the previous king had died. Consider if you will the words which are written and found in the gospel narratives concerning these parables which Jesus spoke unto His disciples and those who would walk with and follow Him:

“And Jesus answered and speak unto them again by parables, and said, The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, and sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: and the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: and he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither, not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:1-14).

“Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a wine press in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: and when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. When the lord therefore the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? They say unto him, He will miserable destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read the Scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the LORD’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes? Therefore I say unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits therefore. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that He spake of them. But when they sought to lay hands on Him, they feared the multitude, because they took Him for a prophet” (Matthew 21:33-46).

“Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the LORD” (Matthew 23:34-39).

Each of these passages of Scripture help further illustrate the tremendous reality of what took place during the days of David king of Israel when he attempted to shew, display and manifest kindness toward another in the time of great loss, sorrow, mourning and grieving, and how the kindness of David king of Israel was not only spit upon, but also trampled upon. I can’t help but read the words which are written and found within the Old Testament book of Second Samuel and see the words which Jesus would later speak in parables as being portrayed in an earthly and natural form. When I read the words which are written and recorded within the tenth chapter of the book of Second Samuel I can’t help but see a perfect picture of the words which Jesus spoke in parables unto the Pharisees. It’s interesting and worth noting that when David king of Israel sent his servants unto the king of the children of Ammon, he sought to extend the right hand of fellowship and friendship to him, as well as to bring some type of comfort and consolation during a tremendous time of loss, sorrow and grief. What we find when the servants of David the king of Israel arrived in Ammon was the princes of Ammon speaking directly unto the king of David’s malevolent attempt to spy out their city in order that he might overthrow it. How tragic it is that not only was David’s kindness misunderstood, but it would ultimately result in conflict and war. As you read the words which are written and found within this chapter you will find those servants which David sent unto the king of Ammon were spitefully entreated and utterly humiliated, as one half of their beard was shaved off, and their garment was cut in the middle from the front unto the back, thus exposing them. Pause for a moment and think about the tremendous tragedy of what took place, for when David attempted to bestow kindness upon the king of the children of Ammon, his kindness was misconceived and perceived as being means of engaging in conflict and warfare. It’s worth noting that if the king of Ammon had any suspicion or any doubt of David’s intentions, he could have very easily have sent messengers unto David to try and decipher his motives and intentions, however, instead of doing so, he actually spitefully entreated and humiliated his servants. What’s more, is that when he realized that they had now put themselves in a position where they stank in the sight of David, they actually took this a step further attempting to engage the children of Israel in conflict and warfare. It would be the king of the children of Ammon that would enlist more than thirty-thousand from Syria who would come alongside them to fight agains the children of Israel in battle.

There is a part of me that can’t help but wonder if when Jesus delivered the parables concerning those whom the king had sent to invite men and women to the wedding, as well as the king who sent his servants unto the husbandmen, He had in mind the narrative of David as this king of Israel not only attempted to bestow and show kindness unto a member of the house of Saul for the sake of Jonathan, but also when David attempted to show kindness unto the king of the children of Ammon when his father had died. When and as I read how the king of the children of Ammon spitefully entreated and humiliated the servants of David, I can’t help but see a powerful glimpse and backdrop into the parables which Jesus had spoken—not only of the husbandmen who had stoned, beaten and killed the servants which the king sent, and then proceeded to kill his son and heir to the estate, but also of the inhabitants of the city who entreated the servants of the king spitefully when they came to bid them come unto the marriage the king had prepared. Of course we know and understand that these parables were not only an indictment of their ancestors who had beaten, stoned, tortured and killed the ancient prophets of old, but also how they had spitefully entreated—not only John the Baptist, but also Jesus the Christ. The nation of Israel had their chance with the ancient prophets of old, and now they had their chance with the righteous and holy Son of the King of the universe, and not only did they spitefully entreat and persecute Him, but they would also deliver Him up to death. I can’t help but read the words which are written and recorded in the tenth chapter of the Old Testament book of Second Samuel and consider the fact that it might very well have served as a backdrop and foundation for the parables which Jesus told—not only the parable concerning the invitation to the wedding, but also the parable concerning the gathering of the harvest and fruits. It’s worth noting that one of the parables had to do with fellowship, relationship and communion, while the other parable had to do with reckoning of stewardship, as well as to gather that which was sown and that which was reaped in the midst of the vineyard. In the parable of the marriage it was the king’s feast and the king’s banquet which men and women were bidden to come unto, and in the parable of the vineyard, the vineyard belonged to the king who had left the vineyard in the hands of husbandmen. I am thoroughly convinced that we must read and consider the words which are written and recorded within the tenth chapter of the book of Second Samuel and come face to face with the absolutely incredible reality that they might very well have been an ancient picture and portrayal of a New Testament reality, in which Jesus the Son of David delivered two parables concerning the treatment of the servants of the king.

In the Old Testament book of Second Samuel it was the servants of David king of Israel which were spitefully treated, while in the New Testament the parables which Jesus the Christ spoke dealt not with the servants of an earthly king, but were a picture and portrayal of a deeper spiritual reality—namely, the reality of the servants of the King who sits upon the throne of David. The parables which Jesus the Christ spoke unto the Pharisees of that generation were a tremendous indictment against their ancestors for how their ancestors treated the ancient prophets of old—those servants of the King which were sent to warn them and turn their hearts back to God through repentance. In fact, in verses ten through twelve of the fifth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew we find the following words which were spoken by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before” (Matthew 5:10-12). Jesus made it very clear during His three and a half years of public ministry that the ancestors and fathers of the generation of the children of Israel into which He had come were responsible for the slaughter, massacre, mistreatment, persecution, and spiteful treatment of the ancient prophets. It was the generation of their fathers which would hear and see the servants of the King—the ancient Hebrew prophets who would speak in the name of the LORD—and they would beat some, stone others, and still kill others. Jesus was very clear throughout His public ministry that their fathers were warned and heard the word of the LORD spoken unto them, and yet they failed to heed and acknowledge that warning, and instead spitefully treated the Hebrew prophets. Now there was a new generation that was present in the earth—a generation that was not hearing from the ancient Hebrew prophets, but a generation which heard directly from the Son of the King Himself. Even the author of the New Testament epistle written unto the Hebrews wrote how in times God had spoken unto our fathers through His servants the prophets, however, He has now spoken unto us by and through His eternal Son. There was now a new manifestation and a new revelation of the living God that was being manifested within the earth, and this generation would reject, despise and persecute Him before finally and ultimately delivering Him over to be killed and crucified at the hands of the Romans.

As I sit here this morning I can’t help but read the narrative which is written and found in the tenth chapter of the Old Testament book of Second Samuel and find on the pages of the Old Testament a picture and prophetic symbol of a New Testament reality which Jesus the Son of David would speak in two different parables. What we must recognize and understand concerning these parables is that one parable deals with an invitation to fellowship and covenant celebration, while the other parable deals with an account of harvest and stewardship. It’s worth noting that both in the invitation and in the reckoning those to whom the king sent his servants unto rejected the message of the king. Those who were invited and bid come unto the wedding not only rejected the invitation, but there would also come a point when they would slaughter the servants which the king had sent to invite them. When it comes to and pertains to the reckoning of stewardship and harvest the husbandmen who were in left to steward over the vineyard not only stoned some of the servants which were sent, but also beat others, and still others they killed. Eventually, the most tragic of all the indictments which were against the husbandmen was that they would slaughter and kill the son of the king in an attempt to seize and lay hold of the vineyard for themselves. We dare not, we cannot and must not miss and lose sight of the absolutely tremendous and astonishing reality in these parables, for they bring us face to face with the tremendous rejection of the ancient Hebrews prophets which were sent in the name of the LORD, as well as the ultimate rejection of the Son Himself. As if it weren’t bad enough for the generations of their fathers to stone and kill the prophets which were sent by the King to warn them and call them back to repentance and humility before the living God, there would come another generation that would persecute the Son. What’s more, is that not only would they persecute the eternal Son and only begotten of the Father, but they would also hand Him over unto the Romans to be put to death. It wasn’t enough for them to simply ridicule, mock, and persecute Him, for they would actually hand Him over to the Romans to be crucified and put to death. Through the death of Jesus Christ who was and still is the eternal and only begotten of the Father we find the culmination and ultimate fulfillment of the parables which He had spoken unto the Pharisees and unto those who would hear and listen to Him speak.

TREATMENT OF THE MESSENGERS OF THE KING! HOW ARE YOU TREATING THE MESSENGERS OF THE KING? Oh, the more I think about and consider the narrative that is written and found within the tenth chapter of the book of Second Samuel, the more I can’t help but find within this passage of Scripture a powerful symbol and prophetic picture of what would come in the days ahead for the nation of Israel as the LORD would send unto them prophets who would speak and prophesy in His name and warn them coming judgment and wrath. The princes of Ammon together with Hanun king of Ammon would spitefully treat and humiliate the servants of David king of Israel, and would send them back to the king utterly and completely ashamed. What they perhaps didn’t consider or take into account was the chain reaction it would cause, as they realized that they had made a serious and gross miscalculation. Attempting to recover from their gross miscalculation and misunderstanding they would enlist the assistance of more than thirty-thousand Syrians who would join them in conflict and battle against the children of Israel. How absolutely incredible it is to think that an invitation to fellowship and an act of kindness would not only lead to conflict, but it would also lead to battle lines being drawn between Joan and the Syrian army, and Abishai and the army of the Ammonites. What’s more, is that the ultimate reality and culmination of this narrative would result in Syria attempting to mount a secondary attack on the children of Israel, and how this time around David himself would engage in the battle, and would bring the whole host of Israel. What began with an act of kindness would ultimately lead to a tremendous conflict between the host of the army of Israel and the host of Syria. Of course the narrative goes that the army of Syria would be completely and utterly destroyed by the host of the children of Israel, and they would be utterly and completely defeated before David and the children of Israel. This is actually quite telling when you consider the fact that when the king who had initially sent forth an invitation of fellowship and relationship He attempted to bestow kindness unto those to whom He had called, however, that invitation would be turned on its head when they killed his servants the messengers. As a direct result of this, the king would come unto them with his armies, destroyed the murderers, and burned up their city. It’s quite intriguing and captivating to think that just as David the king of Israel would come out with all the host of Israel against the Syrians, so also would the king in the parable of Jesus march out against those who spitefully treated and murdered his servants. Ultimately, he would slaughter those murderers, and would burn their city to the ground, thus unleashing a great devastation upon them.

It’s interesting and worth noting that before we even come to the fourteenth chapter of the book of Second Samuel we find two demonstrations of kindness from the heart of David—the first unto a member of the house of Saul for the sake of Jonathan his son, and a second unto a new king who would sit upon the throne in Ammon. The second demonstration and manifestation of kindness would be rejected, and would ultimately result in two of the enemies and adversaries of Israel fleeing and falling before David king of Israel. As you come to the eleventh chapter of the book of Second Samuel you will find David committing a gross sin in the sight of the living God, as not only did he commit adultery with another man’s wife, but he also had that man murdered so he could cover up his sin. After covering up his sin in the sight of men, David then proceeded to take this man’s wife unto himself as his own wife. The prophet Nathan would confront David because of his iniquity, his adultery, and even his lying and murder, and would speak unto David through a parable which was intended on indicting the king because of his gross sin before and in the sight of the living God. Ultimately we find that David’s sin would be pardoned and he would be forgiven of his sin, however, his sin would not be without consequence. The first of a series of consequences for David’s sin was the death of his son which would be born unto Bathsheba, while the second consequence of his sin was the sword being unleashed within his house and remaining there for years to come. The sword would begin to be manifested in the thirteenth chapter when we find that Ammon one of David’s sons was murdered by another of David’s sons—Absalom—after he had raped his sister Tamar. Not only would we find death as a result of David’s sin, but we would also find and read of rape taking place within his house, as well as a second death taking place, as David’s son Ammon would be killed. What’s more, is that we would find Absalom the son of David fleeing from the presence of the king after having slaughtered and killed Ammon one of David’s sons. Absalom fled from the presence of David much like Moses fled from the presence of Pharaoh after he had slaughtered an Egyptians in cold blood, and attempted to hide the murder by burying the body in the sand. When it was discovered by Pharaoh what Moses had done he sought to kill him, however, Moses became aware of it and fled into the land of Midian where he would dwell for a period of forty years before finally returning to the land of Egypt. It is quite interesting and unique to think about and consider the fact that before we enter into and come to the fourteenth chapter of this book we find David committing grievous iniquity and transgression before and in the sight of the living God, and as a direct result of his iniquity the sword would forever remain within his house. It is in the context of the sword entering into and remaining in the house of David that would serve as the context and backdrop for the events which you will find and read in the upcoming chapters.

THE FLIGHT OF THE KING! It’s actually quite astonishing and remarkable to come to the fourteenth chapter—quite honestly the thirteenth chapter—you will find the beginning of events being set in motion that would drive David from the throne of Israel in the city of Jerusalem into a place of fleeing. What makes the narrative of this particular portion of David’s life so incredibly interesting is when you consider the fact that David was no stranger to flight and fight, for you will recall that during his younger years—before he became king in Hebron, and before he would become king of all Israel—he would spend more than a decade on the run fleeing and running for his life from the murderous hand of Saul. Eventually and ultimately David would be delivered out of the hand of Saul, and would step into his reign as king over the nation of Israel. It’s worth noting that David’s instinct and intuition to run, flee and hide from Saul during those years in his life would essentially come into play during this time in his life as well. What I find to be so absolutely remarkable is when you think about and consider the fact that rather than fighting to sit upon the throne—even though he was chosen and anointed to sit upon it—David instead chose to flee from the murderous hand and threat of Saul. Instead of engaging Saul in conflict and battle to seize and lay hold of the throne in Israel, David would dodge two attempts on his life as Saul would hurl spears at him to pin him to the wall. David would spend more than a decade of his life fleeing and hiding from the murderous hand and threat of Saul before he would ultimately be delivered out of the hand of Saul through his death in battle against the Philistines. I have to admit that I am absolutely and utterly amazed to think about and consider the fact that not only did David never fight to lay hold of the throne or Israel, but neither would he fight to retain hold of the throne in Israel. Rather than remaining in Jerusalem and engaging his own son in conflict and battle over the throne in Jerusalem, David would choose to flee from Jerusalem, flee from the throne, flee from his house, and flee from the people in the city. There is not a doubt in my mind that David learned an invaluable lesson earlier on in his life, and that was that he would never fight to lay hold of, nor to retain hold of the throne of Israel. Even though David was chosen and anointed by the living God, he would never fight for the throne—either to lay hold of it, nor to keep it. How absolutely captivating it is to think about and consider the fact that when David realized the conspiracy of his own son Absalom, he would immediately flee from the midst of the city of Jerusalem, flee from the throne upon which he sat, flee from his house and palace, and even flee from the Ark of the Covenant. Even when they attempted to bring the Ark of the Covenant with him as he fled, he ordered the Ark to be returned unto its place in the city of Jerusalem. Once more David would find himself on the run and fleeing, with the exception that this time he would not be fleeing from a king while waiting to be a king, but he would flee as a king from one who wanted to be king.

It’s actually quite interesting to read this narrative which is found in the book of Second Samuel, for by this time David had secured his place on the throne of Israel. Scripture isn’t clear how long David had been ruling in Jerusalem at this time, but suffice it to say that we can imagine it had been quite some time for one of his sons to have raped his daughter, and for Absalom to rise up against Ammon after raping Tamar. We can glean from this particular passage the fact that by this time David was older in years, and was at least old enough to have children which were grown up. The question I can’t help but wonder regarding Tamar is what life was like for her after she had not only been raped by Ammon, but also after she had been scorned by him. Scripture reveals how after Ammon had raped her and seized her by force, he transitioned to a place where his soul utterly and completely abhorred her. What’s more, is that Scripture reveals how after Ammon had his way with Tamar his soul abhorred her so much so that he immediately called for her to be thrust from his presence, and the door bolted behind her. It’s actually quite interesting and unique to think about and consider the fact that not only had Tamar been raped by one who was perhaps somewhat close to her, but after she had been raped, she was completely and utterly scorned. We find and read after this passage how Absalom discovered that Tamar had been raped by Ammon, and how he instructed her to live with him during that period of tremendous shame. Pause for a moment and think about this tremendous reality, for there is not a doubt in my mind that it would be rape of Tamar—this act of sexual immorality—that would set in motion the events that would ultimately lead to a confrontation between David and Absalom. There is not a doubt in my mind that the raping of Tamar would indeed and would in fact lead to the rebellion of Absalom against the throne of his father David, and David’s subsequent fleeing from the presence of his son Absalom. Absalom—this son of David would indeed avenge the rape of his sister Tamar by murdering and putting to death Ammon, which would ultimately result in his fleeing from the presence of David his father into the land of Geshur. Scripture reveals how after Ammon had murdered his brother Ammon for what he had done to his sister, he then fled from the presence of David his father, and from the city of Jerusalem—perhaps out of fear of what the king might do when it was discovered that he had indeed and had in fact murdered one of the king’s own sons. It’s quite captivating and quite telling to think about and consider the fact that it would be sexual indiscretion and murder that would lead to the sword entering into the house of David and never leaving, and it would be sexual indiscretion that would lead to the sword being manifested in the midst of the house of David as Absalom would strike down and kill Ammon to avenge his sister Tamar.

Perhaps what makes the words which are found within these passages of Scripture so interesting, so astounding and unique is when you think about and consider the fact that these chapters would be filled and flooded with betrayal, as not only would Ammon betray his sister Tamar by lying with her and raping her, but so also would David be betrayed by one of his own sons. It would be Tamar who would be raped and then abhorred by Ammon, and it would be David who would be betrayed and abhorred by his own son Absalom. This actually leads me to quite an interesting and astonishing reality—namely, that more often than not it is this who are closest to us who are able to hurt, wound and betray the easiest, and perhaps even the most. More often than not we think about and perceive betrayal as coming from those outside of our circles and outside of our bubble, and yet more often than not what we actually find as a present reality and experience within our lives is those closest to us betraying us the quickest and easiest. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this absolutely incredible and tremendous reality, for to do so would be to miss the incredible and tremendous truth that more often than not the greatest and deepest betrayals come not from outside our circle and outside out bubble, but can actually be found in the midst of our circle and come from those closest to us. Perhaps the single greatest example of this is found in the life of the Son of David—Jesus the Christ—as He was betrayed not by the Pharisees, not by the Sadducees, nor by the chief priests, elders or scribes within the land of Israel. If and as you study the narrative of Jesus the Christ you will find that although it was the chief priests, the scribes and elders of Israel which did indeed lay hold of and seize Jesus and ultimately hand Him over to the hands of the Romans who would crucify and put Him to death, they would not be the ones who betrayed Him. Scripture points to and reveals that it would be one of His own who would betray Him, and one who even sat at His own table which would betray Him. Pause for a moment and think about the fact that just as David would be betrayed by one who would sit at his own table and enjoy fellowship with him, so also would the Son of David be betrayed by one who would sit at His table and enjoy fellowship with him. We dare not and cannot miss this absolutely tremendous and incredible reality, for to do so would be to miss the narrative—not only of David king of Israel, but also of Jesus the Christ who Himself was betrayed by one of His own.

There is not a doubt in my mind that it was David’s own sexual indiscretion and sexual immorality that would introduce the sword into his house, and it would be another act of sexual immorality and sexual indiscretion that would spark the fuse and light the match within his house. I firmly believe that it would be the raping of Tamar that would essentially thrust the house of David into a place where it would literally be a powder keg just waiting to go off and explode. It would be the rape of Tamar—this act of sexual indiscretion and immorality—that would light the fuse that would eventually cause a tremendous upheaval within the house of David. From the murder of Ammon one of David’s sons, to the fleeing of Absalom to the land of Geshur where he would abide and remain for a period of time, to Absalom’s return to Jerusalem and subsequent rebellion against David the king of Israel, we encounter and come face to face with the absolutely tremendous and astonishing reality that because of David’s iniquity and transgression—iniquity and transgression which was coincidentally forgiven and put away from him—there would be a tremendous flood and wave of drama that would unfold within his own house. I am trying to picture the scene of what it must have been like for Tamar as she had to spend the rest of her life living with the shame of having been raped, and having her innocence taken away. Pause for a moment and think about what life must have been like for her as she would have to spend the rest of her life living with the stigma that she she had been raped—and not only raped, but raped by one who was closest to her. What’s interesting to note is that this would be the second case in Scripture where we would find a daughter of Israel being raped, with the first coming during the days of Jacob and his sons. If you turn and direct your attention back to the Old Testament narrative of Jacob’s life in the book of Genesis you will find that just before the story transitions to the life of Joseph we find Dinah Jacob’s daughter being raped by Shechem after she had gone out to see the daughters of the land. Innocent enough in her pursuit of fellowship and relationship, Dinah finds herself in a tremendously difficult place, as not only was her innocence stolen away, but so also was her physical body, her mind, her heart, and her soul violated by another. I continue to find it absolutely incredible to think about and consider the fact that Dinah was simply going out to meet with and interact with the daughters of the land—going out to seek fellowship and interaction with others—and it was in the process of this innocent endeavor that would ultimately lead to her being forcibly taken and raped by Shechem who then proceeded to ask for her to be his wife. It’s quite astonishing to think about and consider the fact that I can’t help but see a tremendous picture of those who are perhaps wounded, hurt, scarred, broken and bruised in the place of fellowship and relationship. Dinah is a truly unique and powerful example of one who was pursuing relationship and fellowship with others, and it was in the process of pursuing that relationship she would find herself being raped, abused, and violated.

In the narrative of David king of Israel we find his daughter Tamar being raped by one of his own sons, and by one of Tamar’s own brothers. There is not a doubt in my mind that all the children of David sat at the table with David and enjoyed fellowship and relationship with him, and yet despite the fact that they all enjoyed fellowship and relationship with him while sitting at his table, the door would be opened for Tamar to be violently raped, abused and violated. What’s more, is that as if this weren’t enough we find that after Ammon had his way with Tamar, he would then utterly and completely abhor her and thrust her from his presence. To add insult to injury, Ammon would cast away Tamar as though she her a filthy rag, or something that was no longer to be valued or appreciated. Even when Tamar pleaded with and begged him not to cast her aside, Ammon refused to listen to her cries, utterly and completely ignored her, and cast her aside from his presence. As it weren’t bad enough to think about the fact that Dinah was raped and violated by one who was perhaps closest to her, she was then utterly and completely abhorred and hated. I can’t help but wonder what was more difficult to handle and bear for Tamar—being raped, violated and abused by Ammon, or being cast aside and abhorred by him. ABUSED AND ABHORRED! It would have been one thing for Tamar to have been raped and abused by Ammon, but it would be something else entirely to then be discarded and cast away as though she was some unclean and filthy rag. I truly cannot escape the reality and through of what life was like for Tamar as she would spend the rest of her days living with the shame—perhaps even the guilt of having been forcibly taken, raped, abused and violated. Was Tamar ever able to trust again? Was Tamar’s life forever scarred and marred by the actions of Ammon, and was her life never quite the same? If there is one thing I have to admit I can’t help but wondering when reading the narratives of Dinah and Tamar, it’s what life was like after they had both been raped, violated and abused. Scripture points to and reveals that both of these daughters of Israel were raped, however, we are left to speculate and imagine what life was like after they had been raped. We know that Simeon and Levi struck down and killed Shechem, his father and all the men of the city after their sister had been raped, and we know that Absalom struck down and killed Ammon after he had forcibly taken and lie with Tamar. We know that the end and ultimate result of both of these instances was death and murder as brothers would rise up against those who engaged in the act of violating, abusing and raping their sister. What we, however, don’t see and what we aren’t given any glimpse into is what life was like for these two daughters of Israel after they had both been raped, violated and abused by another man who neither respected, nor valued her.

What do you do after the initial act of abuse is done and perhaps the initial shock is gone? What do you do in those days immediately after you have been wounded, hurt and bruised by another? What is life like for you after you have been hurt, wounded and afflicted within your life, and after the dust settles? Scripture is absolutely unclear what it was like for Tamar and Dinah after they had both been raped by another man, and I can’t help but wonder if either of them found the place where they could trust again. Did either of these two daughters of Israel find the place where they would and could open themselves up to another man? Did the stigma and shame of being raped by another man and the subsequent stealing of their innocence rob them in any future relationships they had? I can’t help but think about and wonder whether either of these two daughters of Israel would marry and experience true love, respect, worth, value, appreciation and the like. Scripture doesn’t give us the picture of what life was like after the point, and I can’t help but wonder if either of these two women not only found love at some point within their lives, but were also able to open up about what had taken place earlier on in their lives. Perhaps one of the most difficult things to do after we have been hurt, wounded, afflicted, bruised and scarred by another is opening ourselves up to another. One of the most difficult things to do after we have been hurt and wounded by another is to actually open ourselves up to relationship, open ourselves up to relationship, open ourselves up to love and affection within our hearts and lives. Despite whether or not we would like to admit it or not—being abused, being taken advantage of, being wounded, being hurt, being scarred and being bruised takes a tremendous toll upon us, and in all reality makes it incredibly difficult to open yourself up to relationships with others. Oh, I would love to know what life was like for these two daughters of Israel and whether or not they were able to open themselves up to relationship again. Did these two women ever enter into and find the place where they could allow themselves to be loved by another man, or did they spend the rest of their lives outside of that fellowship that comes through the covenant and commitment of marriage? We aren’t given any additional information as to what life was like for these women, and we must purely and simply speculate concerning what life was like for them as they would have to deal and contend with the shame—perhaps even guilt and condemnation—over being raped, abused and violated.

As you continue reading the narrative of the life of David king of Israel that he would find himself in a place where he would flee from the throne of Israel, flee from his house, flee from the Ark of the Covenant, and flee from that which he had known for quite some time, and all because his own flesh and blood sought to seize and lay hold of the throne there in Israel. It’s interesting and worth noting that Absalom didn’t proclaim himself or have it proclaimed that he was king over Israel, but rather that he was king in Hebron. I can’t help but wonder if Absalom wasn’t seeking to do that which was manifested earlier on in the life of his own father, as David would first be made king in Hebron over the tribe of Judah, and would reign as king over the tribe of Judah for seven years before he would be anointed as king over the whole nation of Israel. Scripture points to and reveals how Absalom would begin to elevate and exalt himself above his father David, and how he would begin to steal the hearts of the people way from his father. Scripture reveals how Absalom would set himself up as a judge and governor in the midst of Israel as he would set himself up in the gate and would listen to the cases of the people when they would come into the city—perhaps to speak unto the king. Scripture makes it very clear that Absalom sought to steal the hearts of the children of Israel away from his father David in order that he might strengthen a conspiracy against . When you begin reading the fifteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of Second Samuel you will find that Absalom prepare for himself chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him. Absalom would rise up early, and stand beside the way of the gate, so when any man that had a controversy would come to the king for judgment, he would present himself as a compassion judge and advocate for the people. Absalom would them proceed to listen to the matters which were to be brought before the king, and would declare unto those who intended to come unto the king that their matters were good and right, but there was no men who was appointed by the king to hear them. As if this weren’t enough we find that Absalom would speak unto those people who would come unto the king how he wished that he were made a judge in the land, in order that every man which had any suit or cause might come unto him, and would do justice. Scripture points to and reveals how when any man would come near unto his to do unto him honor, he put forth his hand, took him, and kissed him. This would Absalom do to all Israel that came to the king for judgment, and as a direct result of his actions Absalom would steal the hearts of the men of Israel. What’s more, is that once he had indeed stolen the hearts of the people of Israel, Absalom would entreat the king that he might go unto Hebron in order to offer a sacrifice unto the LORD. What Absalom didn’t tell the king, however, was that he would go unto Hebron to have himself proclaimed king. It would be from Hebron that Absalom would send spies throughout all Israel instructing them that when they heard the sound of the trumpet, they were to declare that Absalom reigned in Hebron.

It’s worth noting that when it comes to this narrative of Absalom rebelling and conspiring against his father and against the throne in Israel—not only did he lure two hundred unsuspecting men who knew absolutely nothing of what was going on, but so also would Absalom steal away David’s own counselor—Ahithophel—in order that he might align himself with Absalom. The twelfth verse of the fifteenth chapter would describe how the conspiracy was strong, and how the people continued to increase before and with Absalom. Pause for a moment and consider the words and phrase that “the conspiracy was strong,” for it’s worth noting that the Holy Spirit would highlight and call this for what it truly was in the sight of the living God—a conspiracy. Scripture would not call and refer to Absalom’s actions as a rebellion against the king, and against Israel, however, it would label and refer to it as a conspiracy, and one that was incredibly strong in the midst of the land. It would be this conspiracy that would eventually and ultimately lead to David’s fleeing from the presence of his son as he would leave everything behind. Of course we know that there were those who would accompany David as he and all those who were with him would flee with him, but for the most part David not only left his palace behind, and not only left the throne of Israel behind, but would also leave Jerusalem behind, and would even pass over the brook Kidron, and even the Jordan River. PASSING OVER THE STREAM AND THE RIVER! It’s worth noting and pointing out that Absalom would strengthen himself mightily against his own father David, and would do so in order that he might lay claim to the throne in Israel. Absalom would lay claim to the throne in Israel, and would strengthen his hand to such a degree and measure that he would be able to have himself proclaimed as king in Hebron. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this absolutely incredible and astonishing reality, for this reality highlights and brings us face to face with David once more finding himself in a place where he would flee and run—this time, however, he would not be fleeing from the murderous hand of a mad king, but would flee and run from his own flesh and blood who would rebel against the throne and against the authority of the living God. If there is one thing we must recognize and understand concerning this conspiracy and rebellion of Absalom, it’s that he wasn’t merely conspiring and rebelling against his father alone, but he was also conspiring and rebelling against the authority of the living God. There was one thing Absalom did not know and which he did not understand—something his father David knew and understood all too well—and that was that it is the living God alone who ordains and appoints authority in the earth. David knew and understood that it was the LORD who ordains and appoints men to be found in positions and places of authority, and it is not something man should seek to lay hold of in their own strength and in their own might. David recognized and understood that authority was something that was given by the living God alone, and that there was absolutely nothing David could or should do to lay hold of that authority himself.

As I bring this writing to a close, I find it absolutely necessary to present you with the reality that Absalom’s actions weren’t merely a conspiracy and rebellion against his father David, but they were an outright rebellion against the living God who had placed David upon the throne, and who had established David upon the throne in Israel. If there was one thing Absalom did not know and which he did not understand is that authority is that which is given by the living God and that which cannot be seized or laid hold of by an man. In all reality, those who perhaps desire authority the most are those who might very well be least qualified to have it, and those who for all intents and purposes should not have it. Absalom wasn’t merely conspiring against his father David, but he was conspiring against the authority and government which the LORD Himself had set up and established in the midst of the land of Israel. Absalom did not recognize, nor did he understand that it was the living God alone who sets up thrones, and sets up kingdoms, and sets up rule and reign in the midst of the earth. It was not something that should be taken upon oneself as though it were something that one could simply lay hold themselves. It’s absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this principle, for this principle is something which must be acknowledged within our own hearts and lives. This is something we must recognize and understand within our own hearts and lives, as we must recognize and understand that authority is that which is given by the living God, and it is something that cannot be laid claim to, seized, or taken control of in our own natural strength and in our own natural ability. Absalom thought and perceived that he could conspire against his father, and thought that he could somehow lay claim and lay hold to the throne in the midst of Israel, and yet the truth of the matter is that Absalom was sorely deceived into thinking and believing that he could somehow lay hold to the throne in Israel, and that he could somehow lay hold of authority that was never intended for him to have. Absalom was never called, never chosen, never ordained, never appointed, and never anointed by the living God to rule and reign as king, and yet it was something that he sought for and unto himself that he might make a name for and establish himself. Oh that we would take and learn from the narrative of Absalom and that we would examine our own hearts that we might truly understand our own endeavors, our own pursuits, our own desires, and that which we seek within ourselves in this life. Oh that we would take and learn from this narrative and examine what types of kingdoms and empires we seek to pursue within our own lives, and what we are willing to do to try and elevate and exalt ourselves in places and positions we were never intended on being in.

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