- Sermon Notes
2 Samuel 14:1-33
September 4-5, 2021
God does not gloss over the failures of the people we study in God’s Word. He shows their victories of faith and their defeats and faults. David is no exception. God gives a portrait of David “warts and all.”
That phrase, “warts and all,” is attributed to Oliver Cromwell who was Lord Protector of England in the 1600s and had hired the king’s artist, Lely, to paint a portrait of him. There was of course no photography in the 1600s, so an artist’s painting was the only way to be remembered by history.
It was common practice at the time for an artist to flatter the one being painted. Royalty, especially, expected portraits to show them in the best possible light, being outright fanciful if necessary; kind of like a modern day, “Glamour Shots.”
But when Cromwell sat down for his portrait, he said famously, “Mr. Lely, I desire you would use all your skill to paint my picture truly like me. Do not flatter me at all; but remark all these roughnesses, warts, and flaws and everything just as you see me, otherwise I will not pay a farthing for it.”
God does the exact same when He shows us David. We see him ‘warts and all.’
As the king of Israel, David’s flaws and failures became inextricably linked to his reign as king. David had committed adultery with Bathsheba, arranged for her husband to be killed in battle, and then took her as his own wife.
Yes, God would forgive him, but there would still be consequences, and that itself is a life lesson.
Many of you are no doubt aware that at the trial for the murder of our daughter, my wife and I forgave the man who killed her. Yet we also asked the jury to give him a sentence of life in prison. Afterward, a reporter asked how that could be, how can both things be true? I responded, “I forgave him. That is between him and me, but there is a breach of trust. Women are not safe around this man. There must still be consequences.”
When we sin and ask God to forgive, He does forgive because the condemnation for that sin fell upon His Son when he died on the cross at Calvary and took our sins upon Himself. But there are still consequences. There is still the need to rebuild and restore that which was broken.
The good news is that God will walk with you in the rebuilding and restoring of your life. He is a good, good Father.
The consequences of David’s tragic decisions would be seen in his life and in the lives of his children for many years.
The background of the story in chapter 14 is that one of David’s sons, Amnon, had sexual desire for his half-sister Tamar. He then pretended to be sick as a ruse to get her to come into his room. He then forced himself on her against her strong protest.
Afterward, he despised her and sent her away in disgrace. When Absalom her brother found out what had happened, he brought Tamar into his own care and waited for David to settle the matter. But David did not settle the matter. David, the great man of action, did nothing.
After two full years, Absalom took matters into his own hands and had Amnon killed. Afterward, he fled to Geshur, the home of his mother’s family. He was banished there for three years.
David and his son Absalom were estranged. But this is a story of beautiful reconciliation.
I. Don’t Stay Spiritually Weakened
- There is no question that sin weakens the soul. It diminishes the moral authority to lead.
- David, the great man of action, was spiritually weakened and didn’t take action. His lack of action, his lack of leadership, his lack of decision-making, caused the situation to get out of control.
- As a result, he lost a son through Absalom’s revenge and then became estranged to Absalom himself.
- Joab could see that something must be done, so he devised a plan of how to convince David to bring Absalom home.
- The prophet Nathan had confronted David by using the story of a rich man with many sheep who took the only lamb of a poor man.
- Joan decided to use the same approach. He brought forth an old woman and told her to pretend to be a widow and gave her the words to speak.
- Something had to be done to break David from his spiritual slumber. But why was David taking no action?
- Because David was paralyzed by his own sin.
A. Sin weakens the soul
- David was guilty himself of adultery, and even murder because he arranged for the death of Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband, by placing him in the thick of battle.
- How could David take action against his son Amnon when he was guilty himself? David’s authority was weakened because of His own sin.
Psalm 38:3, There is no soundness in my flesh because of Your indignation; There is no health in my bones because of my sin.
Psalm 40:12, My iniquities have overtaken me, so that I am not able to see; they are more numerous than the hairs of my head, and my heart has failed me.
Illus – Parents sometimes struggle with this. Some fail to discipline their children because they themselves did wrongful things when they were young. “How can I discipline my child for doing the same thing I did?” they think. I suggest that’s even more reason to discipline your children; you know what consequences came into your life, so spare your children from such pain and shame and consequences. Raise them up in the instruction of the Lord and build a foundation for their lives.
- David was paralyzed because of his own sin; he had no moral authority because he had no ground to stand on for himself, or did he?
- He should have treated his son, Amnon, the same way that God treated him.
Habakkuk 3:2, Lord, I have heard the report about You and fear. O Lord, revive Your work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make it known; in wrath, remember mercy.
Ephesians 4:30-32, Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God… Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and slander be put away from you… Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
- He should have confronted the problem straight forwardly and then brought mercy to Amnon. He should have forgiven his son because that’s what God did to David.
- David should then have brought consequences, for that is what God did to David. He would have been seen as righteous and just.
Hebrews 12:6-7, For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines… God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?
B. God desires mercy more than sacrifice
- David took no action regarding his son Amnon and for two full years Absalom waited and waited while nothing was done; and all the while, his heart grew more and more bitter.
- Absalom could wait no more. He took matters into his own hands and arranged for Amnon’s death. He then fled to Geshur to escape with his life.
- Here again, David was spiritually weakened. As the king, he wanted to uphold the just demands of the law, yet as Absolom’s father, he loved his son, and his heart longed for him.
- There are many today that are also spiritually weakened. Perhaps they have been hurt by someone; their heart may long for that person, but they also insist that justice be done.
- I submit that God is in the same dilemma. He is the King that stands for righteousness and justice, and He is also your Father whose heart longs for relationship.
Romans 3:26, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
- Jesus demonstrates the heart of God in this. His example speaks volumes as to how God deals with us and how we should relate to others also.
Matthew 9:9-13, Jesus saw a man called Matthew, sitting in the tax collector’s booth; and He said to him, “Follow me!” And he got up and followed Him. Then it happened that as Jesus was reclining at the table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were dining with Jesus and His disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, “Why is your Teacher eating with tax collectors and sinners?” When Jesus heard this, He said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
II. God Heart is for Reconciliation
- That brings us back to 2 Samuel 14 and the message that was brought to David through this woman of Tekoa.
- David promised mercy for the woman’s supposed son, even saying, “As the Lord lives, not one hair of your son shall fall to the ground.”
- She then brought it home to David when she said, “Why is it then that the king does not bring back his banished son?”
- In other words, “You show mercy to someone you do not know, but not to your own son.”
A. Life is short, value relationships
- Life is short, the woman was saying. Our lives are like water poured out that cannot be taken up again.
Psalm 39:4-5, “Lord, make me to know my end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is.”
Psalm 90:12, Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
- There are so many people with broken relationships, but life is short, and relationships are a great treasure. What a waste not to seek reconciliation.
Romans 12:18, If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.
Illus – One of those family divisions came to my wife’s family and we were the ones banished for many years because we wouldn’t participate in banishing someone else in the family. What a waste. But reconciliation finally came, love finally won the day.
- We often think in terms of justice. They did this to me so I’m going to do that to them.
Illus – One day I was driving one of our missionaries to the airport, and someone tried to cut me off from taking my exit. But just because they have a bad heart doesn’t mean I should have a bad heart. Just because they’re having a bad day doesn’t mean I should have a bad day.
B. God has made a way for you to come home
- This is a very powerful line that the woman says. This is one of the best gospel texts in the Old Testament.
- Verse 14 – – “For we will surely die and are like water spilled on the ground which cannot be gathered up again. God does not take away life but plans ways so that the banished one will not be cast out from Him.”
- God has a plan for those who are far from Him to be reconciled to God. That plan is found in Christ Jesus.
2 Corinthians 5:19-20, God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; therefore, we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
- God’s story of redemption is from Genesis to Revelation. Man was banished from God’s presence because of the sin of Adam in the Garden of Eden.
- But then in Revelation, there is restored relationship and even the Tree of Life is found there.
Revelation 22:1-2, Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the Tree of Life… and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
- God uses many ways to reach you with the good news that God’s heart is for you to be reconciled to Him.
- God uses His Word to reach people.
Isaiah 55:11, So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.
Illus – The Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8 was reading Isaiah 53 and the Lord used it to open his eyes. Saul was blinded by light and knocked off his horse. Peter had disowned Jesus and Jesus reached out to bring him back.
Illus – Sometimes God uses sickness, or hardship, or the words of a child, “Aunt May, are you going to heaven? Do you have Jesus in your heart?”
Illus – Sometimes God uses a person’s folly to show their need for Him. Charles Spurgeon told the story of a man who came to the Lord because he was mimicking and mocking the famous pastor Whitfield. When he repeated the words, “Repent or you will likewise perish.” It hit him like a bolt of lightning, and he came to faith right then and there.
- God’s plan is both loving and just. He takes our sin upon Himself and pays the penalty for that sin on the cross of Calvary. That is the justice. And He does this because of His great love with which He has loved us.
C. Let those who are reconciled draw near
- When David agreed to bring Absalom home to Jerusalem, that sounded like reconciliation. But it wasn’t reconciliation just yet because David refused to see him.
- Absalom waited two more years and still had not seen David’s face, so he appealed to Joab for help.
- God reconciles us to Himself so we would have true relationship with God.
- There are too many people who accept the offer of reconciliation but then stay too far from the presence of God. He reconciled us that we should be very near, that is what He desires.
Luke 15:17-24, “But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.”’ So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him…
The father said to his servants, ‘Quickly, bring out the best robe and put it on my son, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; and bring the fattened calf, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’”
2 Samuel 14
1 Now Joab the son of Zeruiah perceived that the king’s heart was drawn toward Absalom. 2 So Joab sent a messenger to Tekoa and [a]brought a wise woman from there, and said to her, “Please follow mourning rites, and put on mourning garments now, and do not anoint yourself with oil but be like a woman who has been mourning for the dead for many days. 3 Then go to the king and speak to him in this way.” So Joab put the words in her mouth.
4 Now when the woman of Tekoa [b]spoke to the king, she fell on her face to the ground and prostrated herself, and said, “Help, O king!” 5 And the king said to her, “What is troubling you?” And she [c]answered, “Truly I am a widow, for my husband is dead. 6 And your servant had two sons, but the two of them fought in the field, and there was no [d]one to save [e]them from each other, so one struck the other and killed him. 7 Now behold, the entire family has risen against your servant, and they have said, ‘Hand over the one who struck his brother, so that we may put him to death for the life of his brother whom he killed, and eliminate the heir as well.’ So they will extinguish my coal which is left, so as to [f]leave my husband neither name nor remnant on the face of the earth.”
8 Then the king said to the woman, “Go to your home, and I will issue orders concerning you.” 9 The woman of Tekoa said to the king, “My lord, the king, the guilt is on me and my father’s house, but the king and his throne are guiltless.” 10 So the king said, “Whoever speaks to you, bring him to me, and he will not touch you anymore.” 11 Then she said, “May the king please remember the Lord your God, so that the avenger of blood will not continue to destroy, otherwise they will destroy my son.” And he said, “As the Lord lives, not one hair of your son shall fall to the ground.”
12 Then the woman said, “Please let your servant speak a word to my lord the king.” And he said, “Speak.” 13 The woman said, “Why then have you planned such a thing against the people of God? For in speaking this word the king is like one who is guilty, in that the king does not bring back his banished one. 14 For we will surely die and are like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up. Yet God does not take away life, but makes plans so that the banished one will not be cast out from Him. 15 Now then, [g]the reason I have come to speak this word to my lord the king is that the people have made me afraid; so your servant said, ‘Let me now speak to the king, perhaps the king will perform the [h]request of his slave. 16 For the king will listen, to save his slave from the [i]hand of the man who would eliminate [j]both me and my son from the inheritance of God.’ 17 Then your servant said, ‘Please let the word of my lord the king be [k]comforting, for as the angel of God, so is my lord the king to discern good and evil. And may the Lord your God be with you.’”
18 Then the king answered and said to the woman, “Please do not hide anything from me that I am about to ask you.” And the woman said, “Let my lord the king please speak.” 19 So the king said, “Is the hand of Joab with you in all this?” And the woman replied, “As your soul lives, my lord the king, no one can turn to the right or to the left from anything that my lord the king has spoken. Indeed, it was your servant Joab who commanded me, and it was he who put all these words in the mouth of your servant. 20 In order to change the appearance of things your servant Joab has done this thing. But my lord is wise, like the wisdom of the angel of God, to know all that is on the earth.”
21 Then the king said to Joab, “Behold now, I [l]will certainly do this thing; go then, bring back the young man Absalom.” 22 And Joab fell on his face to the ground, prostrated himself, and blessed the king; then Joab said, “Today your servant knows that I have found favor in your sight, my lord the king, in that the king has performed the [m]request of his servant.” 23 So Joab arose and went to Geshur, and brought Absalom to Jerusalem. 24 However, the king said, “He shall return to his own house, but he shall not see my face.” So Absalom returned to his own house and did not see the king’s face.
25 Now in all Israel there was no one as handsome as Absalom, so highly praised; from the sole of his foot to the top of his head there was no impairment in him. 26 And when he cut the hair of his head (and it was at the end of every year that he cut it, because it was heavy on him, so he cut it), he weighed the hair of his head at [n]two hundred shekels by the king’s weight. 27 And to Absalom there were born three sons, and one daughter whose name was Tamar; she was a woman of beautiful appearance.
28 Now Absalom lived two full years in Jerusalem, yet he did not see the king’s face. 29 Then Absalom sent for Joab, to send him to the king, but he would not come to him. So he sent word again a second time, but he would not come. 30 Therefore he said to his servants, “See, Joab’s plot is next to mine, and he has barley there; go and set it on fire.” So Absalom’s servants set the plot on fire. 31 Then Joab got up, came to Absalom at his house, and said to him, “Why have your servants set my plot on fire?” 32 Absalom [o]answered Joab, “Behold, I sent for you, saying, ‘Come here, so that I may send you to the king, to say, “Why have I come from Geshur? It would be better for me still to be there.”’ Now then, let me see the king’s face, and if there is guilt in me, he can have me executed.” 33 So when Joab came to the king and told him, he summoned Absalom. Then Absalom came to the king and prostrated himself [p]with his face to the ground before the king; and the king kissed Absalom.