The king [David] was overcome with emotion. He went up to the room over the gateway and burst into tears. And as he went, he cried, â€œO my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you! O Absalom, my son, my son.â€ Â Â 2 Samuel 18:33 (NLT)
Lectionary texts: 2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33, Psalm 130, Ephesians 4:25-5:2, John 6:35, 41-51
David’s son, Absalom, has raised an army against his father. He wants his father’s throne. David knows that he must put down this rebellion before the kingdom is torn apart. His military commanders convince David not to lead the army himself and so while David agrees with them, he tells the commanders to be lenient with Absalom, in other words, â€œDon’t kill him.â€ The commanders believe that there can be no â€œchange of heartâ€ by Absalom and that he would continue to try to destroy his father and the kingdom and so they do kill Absalom. And David is overcome with grief. I suspect he not only grieves for the physical loss of his son but also for the â€œmight have beenâ€ as he thinks of how his relationship with his son has ended in such a way. Very sad, isn’t it?
As I was reading this passage a New Testament passage came to mind where Jesus also cried:
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones Godâ€™s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldnâ€™t let me. And now, look, your house is abandoned. And you will never see me again until you say, â€˜Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!â€™â€ Â Â Luke 13:34-35 (NLT)
It is hard for me to understand that Jesus is feeling the same grief for the â€œchildren of Jerusalemâ€ as David did for his son and I did for mine. Jesus knows that if His children continue to make the choice to continue their rebellion reject Him, they will never see Him again. Unlike David and I who look at our children only with our very human eyes and hearts, Jesus is able to feel and extend the grief and compassion while still not lowering His holy standard and make a way for His children to meet that standard through His perfect sacrifice.
The psalmist writes a beautiful song about the mercy of God that is extended to us, the sinners. He says,
If you kept an eternal record of my sins, LORD, who could stand? (I would be overcome with the weight of the guilt!) But LORD, You have extended mercy to me, and that can only be done because of Your unequaled power. And so I bow in holy fear. Psalm 130:3-4, (my paraphrase)
And Paul reminds me (even implores me) to live my life as Jesus has taught me. Do not let my life just coast along. Pay attention and make it a priority to seek a closer relationship with Jesus. That means time in prayer, time in reading and studying of His Word, and then put what He teaches into action â€“ every day.
In taking on the heart of Jesus, I am sad when I see we as a Church not putting Jesus first in our lives. We continue to â€œplay atâ€ being a Christian but do not let go of our own way and allow Jesus put the priorities in our lives and commit our time to Bible study and prayer. We turn a blind eye to those who are walking in darkness and explain our own lack of involvement by putting another $10-20 in the offering plate so the lights will stay on in a building. Surely those who are hurting and stumbling around outside can see this building and go on in??!!
Summer is ending. Now is the time to make a change, repent of my ways and take on the mind and heart of Christ. Sign up for a small group and take time each day to talk with Jesus. In Him alone will I find what I need for every day.
In Christ Alone by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend (2001)