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THE ONGOING EFFECTS OF FAMILY PROBLEMS

A SERMON DELIVERED AT

THE FEDERATED CHURCH OF

ATHENS

10 AUGUST 1997

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES:

1 Samuel 25:42-43
2 Samuel 2:2
            13:1-39
            14:23-24
            18:1-33
1 Chronicles 3:1-9

It is a known fact that 50% of all marriages end in divorce, and that many of our children grow up in ways counter to the wishes of their parents.

The parents continue to love these children, but some of them do not respond to their love, and even rebel against them.

And some parents, as well as some children, are afraid to fully express their love.

Today we are going to look at a Biblical example of these kinds of situations from the accounts of King David; for in the life of David and his children we can see the ongoing effects of family problems.

We're not going to look at what may have triggered these events in David's life; for if David truly desired to change any negative effects of his own upbringing, from his own parents, he could have.

And this is true of each and every person of each and every family, today.

Thus, we are each responsible for our own actions.

With this in mind, we will start our spiritual journey by looking at part of David's married life.

We are told that before David came to Hebron to be king over Judah he had married two women (1 Samuel 25:42-43), and that these two wives went up to Hebron with him

(2 Samuel 2:2).

But if we turn to 1 Chronicles 3:1-9, we'll get a fuller picture of David's family, including his other wives.

1. Now these were the sons of David who were born to him in Hebron: the first-born was Amnon, by Ahinoam the Jezreelitess; the second was Daniel, by Abigail the Carmelitess;

2. the third was Absalom the son of Maacah, the daughter of Talmai king of Geshur; the fourth was Adonijah the son of Haggith;

3. the fifth was Shephatiah, by Abital; the sixth was Ithream, by his wife Eglah.

4. Six were born to him in Hebron, and there he reigned seven years and six months. And in Jerusalem he reigned thirty-three years.

5. And these were born to him in Jerusalem: Shimea, Shobab, Nathan, and Solomon, four, by Bath-shua the daughter of Ammiel;

6. and Ibhar, Elishama, Eliphelet,

7. Nogah, Nepheg, and Japhia,

8. Elishama, Eliada, and Eliphelet, nine.

9. All these were the sons of David, besides the sons of the concubines; and Tamar was their sister.

Six sons were born to David in Hebron, each by a different wife, and another thirteen were born to him in Jerusalem by different wives, besides the children of his concubines.

Now, let's think about this in light of today's society.

We don't usually have more than one marriage at a time, but think of all the problems that we have when children are born out of wedlock.

And also think of what happens when the mother marries someone other than the father of her child, and then has other children.

Also think about what happens with the problems and rivalries that exist between the children of the various parents of these families, and with their multiple parents.

Fortunately, this doesn't happen in every case, but in the majority of cases, there are many problems that carry through the entire lives of the people involved.

Children grow up in atmospheres of hatred and revenge mixed in with love, and these things simply don't go together, and are very confusing to children.

And this is exactly what happened within David's greater family, and it can shed some light on the things that led to Solomon's downfall, as we discussed last week.

Absalom, David's third son, was the brother of Tamar, and his sister was very beautiful, and Amnon, David's eldest son, lusted after her.

And in his frustration, with the confidence of his position as the heir to the throne, he conspired to put Tamar into a compromising position, which resulted in his raping her

(2 Samuel 13:1-19).

Now, for a full two years, Absalom said and did nothing about what Amnon had done to his sister; but in his heart he hated him and waited for an opportunity to take out his vengeance upon him.

And at the end of two years, when no one would suspect, Absalom conspired against Amnon in an elaborate plan and had him killed.

Now, Absalom was concerned for his own life, because he had killed his brother, so he fled from his father, David (2 Samuel 13:20-37).

But note what we are told in 2 Samuel 13:38-39.

38. So Absalom had fled and gone to Geshur, and was there three years.

39. And the heart of King David longed to go out to Absalom; for he was comforted concerning Amnon, since he was dead.

The heart of David longed to go out to Absalom, but he didn't do anything.

And when Joab, the commander of David's army, convinced David, through another elaborate scheme, to bring Absalom back, David still refused to see him (2 Samuel 14:23-24).

So, because his father would not see him, and express his true feelings toward him, Absalom turned to the people for acceptance.

He made himself very popular, and was eventually made king by many of the people, and Absalom moved upon Jerusalem to capture it.

As a result, David fled with his supporters.

And war was in the air between a father and his son.

Let's pick up this story in 2 Samuel 18, beginning at verse 1.

1. Then David numbered the people who were with him and set over them commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds.

2. And David sent the people out, one-third under the command of Joab, one-third under the command of Abishai the son of Zeruiah, Joab's brother, and one-third under the command of Ittai the Gittite. And the king said to the people, "I myself will surely go out with you also."

3. But the people said, "You should not go out; for if we indeed flee, they will not care about us, even if half of us die, they will not care about us. But you are worth ten thousand of us; therefore now it is better that you be ready to help us from the city."

4. Then the king said to them, "Whatever seems best to you I will do." So the king stood beside the gate, and all the people went out by hundreds and thousands.

5. And the king charged Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, "Deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom." And all the people heard when the king charged all the commanders concerning Absalom.

David is expressing his love of Absalom to his people, something he didn't express to Absalom, who needed to know it.

The people are going out with mixed feelings, for they want to protect David from his son, or they all will die; and at the same time, they donít want to kill Absalom.

6. Then the people went out into the field against Israel, and the battle took place in the forest of Ephraim.

7. And the people of Israel were defeated there before the servants of David, and the slaughter there that day was great, 20,000 men.

8. For the battle there was spread over the whole countryside, and the forest devoured more people that day than the sword devoured.

Remember that all these people died because of the lust of one man, Amnon, David's first born, because he raped his half sister.

And it also happened because David was afraid to express his love in time, and to the right person.

9. Now Absalom happened to meet the servants of David. For Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great oak. And his head caught fast in the oak, so he was left hanging between heaven and earth, while the mule that was under him kept going.

10. When a certain man saw it, he told Joab and said, "Behold, I saw Absalom hanging in an oak."

11. Then Joab said to the man who had told him, "Now behold, you saw him! Why then did you not strike him there to the ground? And I would have given you ten pieces of silver and a belt."

12. And the man said to Joab, "Even if I should receive a thousand pieces of silver in my hand, I would not put out my hand against the king's son; for in our hearing the king charged you and Abishai and Ittai, saying, 'Protect for me the young man Absalom!'

13. "Otherwise, if I had dealt treacherously against his life (and there is nothing hidden from the king), then you yourself would have stood aloof."

Do you see these mixed feelings, and the understanding of this man concerning the intent of the heart of his commander?

People die in wars because of the actions of others over whom they have no or very little control.

So, let's see what Joab does.

14. Then Joab said, "I will not waste time here with you." So he took three spears in his hand and thrust them through the heart of Absalom while he was yet alive in the midst of the oak.

15. And ten young men who carried Joab's armor gathered around and struck Absalom and killed him.

They did this so that they would look good in Joab's eyes.

16. Then Joab blew the trumpet, and the people returned from pursuing Israel, for Joab restrained the people.

17. And they took Absalom and cast him into a deep pit in the forest and erected over him a very great heap of stones. And all Israel fled, each to his tent.

18. Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and set up for himself a pillar which is in the King's Valley, for he said, "I have no son to preserve my name." So he named the pillar after his own name, and it is called Absalom's monument to this day.

Absalom needed to "be someone." He needed to be loved.

And in his pride and loneliness, he brought more than 20,000 people to their death.

But many of these people had to choose to go along with Absalom, or this would not have happened.

Thus, they are responsible for their own deaths, as well.

19. Then Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said, "Please let me run and bring the king news that the Lord has freed him from the hand of his enemies."

20. But Joab said to him, "You are not the man to carry news this day, but you shall carry news another day; however; you shall carry no news today because the king's son is dead."

21. Then Joab said to the Cushite, "Go, tell the king what you have seen." So the Cushite bowed to Joab and ran.

22. Now Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said once more to Joab, "But whatever happens, please let me also run after the Cushite." And Joab said, "Why would you run, my son, since you will have no reward for going?"

23. "But whatever happens," he said, "I will run." So he said to him, "Run." Then Ahimaaz ran by way of the plain and passed up the Cushite.

24. Now David was sitting between the two gates; and the watchman went up to the roof of the gate by the wall, and raised his eyes and looked, and behold, a man running by himself.

25. And the watchman called and told the king. And the king said, "If he is by himself there is good news in his mouth." And he came nearer and nearer.

26. Then the watchman saw another man running; and the watchman called to the gatekeeper and said, "Behold, another man running by himself." And the king said, "This one also is bringing good news."

27. And the watchman said, "I think the running of the first one is like the running of Ahimaaz the son of Zadok." And the king said, "This is a good man and comes with good news."

28. And Ahimaaz called and said to the king, "All is well." And he prostrated himself before the king with his face to the ground. And he said, "Blessed is the Lord your God, who has delivered up the men who lifted their hands against my lord the king."

29. And the king said, "Is it well with the young man Absalom?" And Ahimaaz answered, "When Joab sent the king's servant, and your servant, I saw a great tumult, but I did not know what it was."

Note the mixed feelings that David is still expressing.

30. Then the king said, "Turn aside and stand here." So he turned aside and stood still.

31. And behold, the Cushite arrived, and the Cushite said, "Let my lord the king receive good news, for the Lord has freed you this day from the hand of all those who rose up against you. "

32. Then the king said to the Cushite, "Is it well with the young man Absalom?" And the Cushite answered, "Let the enemies of my lord the king, and all who rise up against you for evil, be as that young man!"

33. And the king was deeply moved and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. And thus he said as he walked, "O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!"

David cared more about Absalom than about the people who fought to protect him, and if he truly believed what he said, he could have let Absalom be king.

But David also knew that Absalom did not possess the qualities necessary to be king, for what he was doing would have hurt Israel in the long run.

The bottom line is that we need to let go of our pride and begin to express our love, and talk about our other feelings in an open and honest way.

If we don't learn to do this, we will have these kinds of family problems continually.

We need to love one another, as the Lord loves us.

Amen.

 

Your Comments are welcome

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