July 4, 2023
“When King David heard about all these things, he was furious. Absalom didn’t say anything to Amnon, either good or bad, because he hated Amnon...”
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“When King David heard about all these things, he was furious. Absalom didn’t say anything to Amnon, either good or bad, because he hated Amnon since he disgraced his sister Tamar. Two years later, Absalom’s sheepshearers were at Baal-hazor near Ephraim, and Absalom invited the king’s sons.” 2 Samuel 13:21-23 (HCSB)
David heard how Amnon had used him and had weaseled his permission for Tamar to come to his house. David also heard how Amnon had abused Tamar, how he had disposed of her as if she was trash, and how she was seen and heard running and screaming through the streets with her robe ripped. Perhaps, David had even heard how Tamar was now a devastated woman, living in her brother Absalom’s house.
David “heard about all these things, and he was furious.” That’s good. That should have been his proper response. But that was all. And that’s bad. It’s like the Irish poem:
“This here’s the story of Ian McRory. Shall I begin it? Well, that’s all that’s in it.”
David was enraged; he was furious; he could scarcely contain his rage. But, unfortunately, he did. It is unfortunate because there is something right about David’s fury. It should have led to righteous results. His anger should have led to justice. Amnon should have been punished and Tamar exonerated. Instead, Amnon is not held accountable, Tamar receives no retribution, and Absalom is handed a reasonable excuse for revenge. David heard. He was very angry. And he did nothing.
Of course, many theologians say David was a prisoner of his own folly. After all, how could he call Amnon to account when David himself had violated Bathsheba and eliminated her husband? But herein lies our lesson from today’s passage.
Many Christians are trying to determine how (or if) they should confront a sin issue in the life of another believer. Often, believers will resist God’s leading to hold a brother or sister accountable based on the reality that they have sinned in similar ways in the past. It is as if they are waiting for a “sinless” believer to come along and confront sin. This is ridiculous!! Believers excuse themselves, “we have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory.”
But that simple fact is what qualifies you to confront and exhort others who are in sin! True, we should not judge, but confronting and rebuking sin in a fellow believer’s life is not judging. It is pointing out the obvious and correcting another believer because you do not want them to incur even more consequences.
This was David’s error. David had a responsibility, and he chose passivity over accountability. As both father and king, David was charged with maintaining justice, whether he was personally compromised or not. As brothers or sisters in Messiah, and having been born-again onto a “holy priesthood” (1 Peter 2:9), we are given the responsibility to 1) be accountable and 2) hold each other accountable.