by Pastor Don Elmore
October 6, 2013
Scripture Reading: Psalms 3:1-8
This Psalm was made when David was dethroned from being King of Israel by his own son--Absalom. Absalom was David’s third son; so how did he get ahead of his brothers? This story is all part of the bigger one—how David is different from all of the recent Presidents of our nation—the United States of America.
In the beginning of my ministry, I gave messages which covered the entire Biblical career of David, the King of Israel. These sermons lasted for about four or five years; intermingled along with other sermons. After I preached about David, I spent a couple of years on the biblical history of Elijah. Then I spent another couple of years preaching on Genesis 1-11.
As I was about half-way through giving these messages concerning King David, I thought of the following question: Who would like to trade places with David? In other words, who would like to live their life as David?
I surmised that anyone who was only a light reader of the Holy Scriptures or who was never a reader of the Bible would answer with a quick response: “Yes.” But for any Christian, who knew a little bit about King David’s life; I doubt that he would want to live his life as David; for he would have to suffer all of the consequences of David’s evil behavior as well as all of his rewards of his good behavior. And David suffered some of the worst consequences for his wrong behavior. But he was different from all of our Presidents—for he repented of his sins.
Despite all of the tremendous suffering that he endured, David was the best king Israel ever had. He ruled over all the tribes of Israel for a short period at the end of his reign. He was the hero of Israel: the youth who killed a bear and a lion in guarding his father’s sheep became the nation’s hero when as a teenager he slew Goliath the giant, who challenged the entire army of Israel.
He was anointed King of Israel, but first spent many years being made the imaginary enemy of King Saul. He proved his loyalty when he murdered the man who claimed to David that he killed his greatest adversary—the prior king of Israel; King Saul.
But later, David had murdered his loyal servant, Uriah, for the purpose that he could gain his wife, Bath-sheba, who he had already gotten pregnant. And for that sin David would have much trouble in his family. He was even replaced on the throne of Israel by one of his sons! But the thing with David was that he always repented and returned to his God.
God had made a covenant with David, the man who had faith in Him; the only son of Israel who stood against the giant Goliath and killed him with a small rock in his sling-shot; the anointed seed of Israel who repeatedly spared King Saul’s life; but David had given occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme: “Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die” (2 Samuel 12:14).
Therefore, rather than just kill David for his crime against Uriah, he made David to live and pass through one tremendous sorrow after another. Yet we may also behold therein the faithfulness, wisdom, and grace of God toward His servant by using those very sorrows for the renewing of him in holiness; that this was accomplished appears blessedly in the sequel.
David was now to prove the truth of “Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord God of hosts” (Jeremiah 2:19).
It was through those nearest and dearest to himself that David was to experience what “an evil thing and bitter” it is to depart from the Lord. “Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house” (2 Samuel 12:11) is the words that the LORD had declared. What must have been the feelings of David with this dread threat hanging over his family!
How often do we moralize upon the wisdom and mercy of God in withholding from us a knowledge of the future: how it would spoil our present peace and comfort if we were acquainted with the trials and sorrows lying ahead of us; the more so if it were now revealed to us the evils which would yet overtake the members of our household.
What if you knew that your spouse would die in a short time? How would that affect you? But the case was otherwise with David: he knew that the sore judgments of God were about to fall within his family circle!
One can readily imagine which one of David’s children would be the first to fall? The death of Bath-sheba’s infant was but the beginning of a fearful storm which was about to descend upon his loved ones. It seems quite clear that David had been too easy-going with and indulgent toward his children. The fact that David had several wives made it much more difficult to rule his offspring as duty required.
Warning: how one wrong leads to another
This is seen in David’s connection with his son’s rebellion against him, “his father had not displeased him at any time in saying, Why hast thou done so?” (1 Kings 1:6). But David’s children had been preserved from open wickedness in their early years: it was not until their father became guilty of aggravated crimes that the restraining hand of God was removed from them!
Isn’t there a lesson for the parents of today: If the parents forsake the paths of righteousness, there is good reason to believe that God will chasten them by suffering their offspring to do likewise? Children in their youth naturally consider the evil example of their parents an excuse why they may follow in their steps; and grown up ones too are emboldened and confirmed in sin by the sinful conduct of fathers and mothers.
Judgment Given by Nathan
The judgment against David given him by the prophet Nathan was done in a way of natural consequence from David’s own transgressions. He had yielded to his lust for another man’s wife; and now the women of his own household should be defiled. He had become a man of blood in the butchery of Uriah, and now of blood his own family should be made to drink. He had yielded to his lusts, and by that same baneful passion in others was he to be scourged for the rest of his days. And though David was spared from the violent hand of the avenger, yet he was long made the spectacle of righteous suffering before the world.
2 Samuel 13: 1-17
- “And it came to pass after this, that Absalom the son of David had a fair sister, whose name was Tamar, and Amnon the son of David loved her.”
“After this” means after the birth of Solomon. It is important if we know the ages of the people in the story:
- David was about 53 years old.
- Amnon was 22 years old.
- Absalom was 20 years old.
- Tamar was 15 years old.
- Solomon was 2 years old.
- “And Amnon was so vexed that he fell sick for his sister Tamar; for she was a virgin; and Amnon thought it hard for him to do anything to her.”
Amnon had developed a violent lust for Tamar. The Law of God had forbid sexual relationship with a close relative. “The nakedness of thy father’s wife’s daughter, begotten of thy father, she is thy sister, thou shalt not uncover her nakedness” (Leviticus 18:11). But Amnon had no way of making his feelings known for Tamar, for virgins were kept in close seclusion from the company of men, even though they were close relatives, not being permitted to see them without the presence of witnesses.
How to contact her was his brooding problem; so much so that Amnon became sick and sorely vexed daily in his great desire for her yet, he was held in check by a thought which made him doubt that it would be right to touch her.
- But Amnon had a friend whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shimeah David’s brother: and Jonadab was a very subtil man.
- And he said unto Amnon, Why are thou, being the king’s son, lean from day to day? Wilt thou not tell me? And Amnon said unto him, I love Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.
- And Jonadab said unto him, Lay thee down on thy bed and make thyself sick: and when thy father cometh to see thee, say unto him, I pray thee, let my sister Tamar come, and give me meat, and dress the meat in my sight, that I may see it, and eat it at her hand.”
Only an evil and subtle man would give such advice to ruin the life of his friend as well as the innocent virgin who should be protected by her brother. Amnon had determined to commit the fearful sin of incest against his half-sister, who was “fair” or beautiful.
Warning: Ah, how many a young woman has grieved because she was not pretty: alas, good looks often prove to be a fatal snare, and those endowed with them need to be doubly cautious. This was the cause of the lust of Amnon; his sister’s beauty.
Warning: Human sensual wisdom can only show one how to commit sin and satisfy the sensual and unlawful passions, but it is powerless to show him how to escape from sin and its effects. It does not even look far enough into the future to see the results of sin, leaving to its own victims helpless and guilty before the avenger.
The most solemn features of this calamity may be seen in tracing the workings of God’s righteous retribution in it.
- We have the Spirit’s time mark in the opening words of Chapter 13; “and it came to pass after this.” It was when David returned to Jerusalem—where his own fearful fall had taken place several years prior to what was going to happen!
- Amnon was the king’s oldest son (2 Samuel 3:2) and therefore the one in immediate line for the throne, and probably the one David loved the most.
- Amnon was at a loss to think of means for the gratification of his base desires, but there was at hand a cunning counselor who promptly devised a plot whereby he succeeded, and that man was a nephew of David’s.
- The workings of Providence were such that David himself was made an unwilling accessory to his daughter’s ravishment. When the king saw Amnon, who pretended to be sick, God not only withheld from him a discernment of his evil designs, but David was the one who sent for Tamar; as poor Uriah had been deceived by him, now he was deceived by his son!
What a marvelous penalty for the sin of David. It worked on him in a way that caused him to be humble and choose the correct way of repentance.
- So Amnon lay down, and made himself sick: and when the king was come to see him, Amnon said unto the king, I pray thee, let Tamar my sister come and make me a couple of cakes in my sight, that I may eat at her hand.
- Then David sent home to Tamar, saying, Go now to thy brother Amnon’s house, and dress him meat [food].”
Amnon took the advice of his cousin and posed as a very sick man to get David to permit Tamar to come and make cakes for him. With men being present when he gave permission, David did not suspect any plot against Tamar; but when she came Amnon sent all the men away so as to take advantage of her.
Tamar may have been flattered at having her older half-brother call for her in particular to prepare cakes for him when he was sick, so she gladly consented.
Warning: Be wary of being flattered. Have discernment at whether it is flattery or an honest request.
- So Tamar went to her brother Amnon’s house; and he was laid down. And she took flour, and kneeded it, and made cakes in his sight, and did bake the cakes.
- And she took a pan, and poured them out before him; but he refused to eat. And Amnon said, Have out all men from me. And they went out every man from him.
- And Amnon said unto Tamar, Bring the meat [food] into the chamber, that I may eat of thine hand. And Tamar took the cakes which she had made, and brought them into the chamber to Amnon her brother.
- And when she had brought them unto him to eat, he took hold of her, and said unto her, Come lie with me, my sister.
- And she answered him, Nay, my brother, do not force me; for no such thing ought to be done in Israel: do not thou, this folly.
- And I, whither shall I cause my shame to go? And as for thee, thou shalt be as one of the fools in Israel. Now therefore, I pray thee, speak unto the king; for he will not withhold me from thee.
- Howbeit he would not hearken unto her voice; but, being stronger than she, forced her, and lay with her.”
Amnon had lusted and longed for the opportunity many times. He watched her like a cat waiting to spring upon its prey, but held himself until the cakes were done and brought before him. Then, he refused to eat, and commanded all the men to leave his house, so he could be alone with Tamar. He then took hold of her and declared his intentions.
Tamar had more righteousness at her age of 15 than her brother at the age of 22. She made a most impressive plea for him not to commit sin as a fool, advising him to speak to his father.
- Then Amnon hated her exceedingly; so that the hatred wherewith he hated her was greater than the love wherewith he had loved her. And Amnon said unto her, Arise, be gone.
- And she said unto him, There is no cause: this evil in sending me away is greater than the other that thou didst unto me. But he would not hearken unto her.
- Then he called his servant that ministered unto him, and said, Put now this woman out from me, and bolt the door after her.”
This hatred never would have been if Amnon had really loved Tamar instead of lusting after her like a beast. Tamar again showed the better sense of the two in view of this depraved sin on the part of Amnon, contending that the evil of hating her and sending her away in disgrace was worse than the first crime.
God judgment is coming to pass on David. After he returns to Jerusalem after his military victory, he suffers one calamitous grief after another.
In this message we are just considering two of them and they are whoppers:
- One of David’s sons dishonors one of David’s daughters, i.e. he rapes one of his virgin daughters; one of his sons rapes his own half-sister.
- While another of David’s sons, after biding his time, revenged the outraged dishonor of his sister by murdering her seducer. One of his sons murders his half-brother who raped his sister.
Thus, lust and fratricide now desolated the king’s own household: one daughter is disgraced; one son is dead; and one son is a murderer who soon would dethrone David as the King of Israel!
After two full years, Absalom waited until the right moment. His sister stayed in his house desolate. But there was a sheepshearer’s event, where Absalom told his servants to kill Amnon after his heart was merry with wine. And they did.
Let’s observe how the righteous retribution of God appears in every detail of this incident.
- David’s murder of Uriah was not a sudden surprisal into evil, but a thing deliberately premeditated in cold blood, so Absalom’s removal of Amnon was callously planned beforehand.
- The slaying of Uriah was a means to an end; that David might obtain Bath-sheba; so the murder of Amnon was but a preliminarily to Absalom’s design of obtaining the kingdom—by removing his oldest brother who was heir to the throne.
- As David did not slay Uriah by his own hand, but made Joab an accomplice, so Absalom involved his servants in the guilt of the crime—instead of striking the fatal blow himself.
- As David made Uriah “drunk” before his death (11:13), so Amnon was struck down while “his heart was merry with wine”! Who can fail to see the superintending government of God?
Do we see it in our own lives?
What should happen to a man who finds a virgin and lays hold on her and lies with her and his deed be discovered? Does God’s Law say that the man should be killed?
“Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days” Deuteronomy 22:29.
The fact that the man could not put her away all his days to me proves to me that this was not the common rule of all marriages. What would the enforcement of this one Law of God be on the residents of the United States?
What about our Presidents? Woodrow Wilson had an affair and he was blackmailed over it; to America’s getting into World War I and America’s getting its first Jewish Supreme Court member.
J. F. Kennedy had a host of ladies and his wife, Jackie, was known as a slut. In fact, it was hard to keep John with Jackie.
Clinton, both the President and his wife, had their hosts of affairs with others. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Lyndon Baines Johnson, Dwight David Eisenhower are just a few of the Presidents who were involved in affairs.
Then there was a black reverend by the name of Martin Luther King who had a host of sexual affairs: hookers, white prostitutes, black whores, etc. He wasn’t murdered by the man that they said he was. The same with J. F. K. He was murdered not by the man that they claim. In fact, if you went to the location of the assassination you would see how impossible it was to shoot from the sixth floor of the book depository and hit the President in the head and also have the bullet rickshaw to the front of the car and hit the governor.
What do you think is going to happen? Our nation is about completely dead. There is only a small remnant that remembers what it was like to keep a small part of God’s Laws. And that remnant is almost dead and gone.
Does sin separate us from our God? If the nations sins more and more will it suffer more and more? What will be the result of all of the lies, fornication, false flags, deceit, etc. that has been going on; what will be the payment for the sin that was committed?
But if David had committed any of these crimes against us and violated God’s Law, what would he have done? He would have repented and turned back to his God. For after being exiled from the throne of Israel by his disobedient son, Absalom, we see this aged parent, driven from his home, humiliated before his subjects, stricken to the very depths of his heart by the murderous hatred of the son whom he had forgiven and honored, loving this worthless and devil-driven youth with an unchanged devotion, that sought to save him from his just and impending doom. The two opposing forces set to battle; and what was the result?
“And Absalom rode upon a mule, and the mule went under the thick boughs of a great oak, and his head caught hold of the oak, and he was taken up between the heaven and the earth; and the mule that was under him went away” 2 Samuel 18:9.
“And they took Absalom, and cast him into a great pit in the wood, and laid a very great heap of stone upon him: and all Israel fled every one to his tent” 2 Samuel 18:17.
Absalom was hanged in a tree, an object of shame, filled with terror, incapable of delivering himself, unable to either fight or flee. He remained in this direful situation for some considerable time, awaiting with horror his merited doom—death by three darts by David’s faithful man--Joab.
A more and melancholy and tragic spectacle can scarcely be imagined than Absalom dangling from the boughs of that tree. Deserted by his fellows, for they had one and all lifted him to his fate; abandoned by God, now that the cup of his iniquity was filled; a prey to remorse, for though utterly heartless and conscienceless, his thoughts now must have been of the gloomiest nature. Quite unable to free himself, he was compelled to wait, hour after hour, until someone came and put an end to his wretched life. What an unspeakably solemn object lesson is this for the people in the office of the executive, or legislative or judiciary branches of our nation!
David was soon restored to being the King of Israel once again; a better and more humble king. He accepted the chastening of the people as he lost the office of king; he waited for his God to be his salvation once again.
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, (isn’t that what David did?), then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (isn’t that what God did?). After a short wait, David was once again on the throne.
Blessed be the LORD God of Israel.