Todd McCabe, Governing Board
Let’s begin in Acts 13:22: “…God testified concerning him: I have found David, son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.” (ESV) Given that some of David’s actions during his life do not exactly make him a poster boy of piety, there is some comfort to be found in this Scripture. But what I really want to know is this: how I can become a man after God’s own heart, to know, and be known by my King?
The above-referenced Scriptures relate events in the very complicated, even tempestuous relationships King David has with Joab, the field commander of his army, Amnon (translated as Loyal or Faithful), his first-born son, and another son, Absalom (translated as Father of Peace). Joab is very independent-minded, tough, and insubordinate, even to the point of killing people King David has specifically told him to spare. Brothers Amnon and Absalom both love Tamar, who gets raped by Amnon. Absalom then orchestrates the revenge murder of Amnon and flees. King David loved Absalom still and “mourned for his son (Absalom) every day.” (2 Sam 13:37 NIV) In verse 39 we learn: “And the spirit of the king longed to go to Absalom, for he was consoled concerning Amnon’s death.” Now enter Joab who organizes a sort of Old Testament “intervention” with King David that leads to Absalom’s return and eventual reconciliation with his father. What a reality show this would make!
But it doesn’t end there. In the next episode of “Davidic Family Feud” Absalom rebels against his father and is then murdered by…Joab…against the specific order of King David.
Family drama aside, I can relate to David as a father. I love my son unconditionally and I want the best for him regardless of whether or not I approve of his actions. David was “consoled” to Amnon’s death meaning he had to first grieve the loss and be reconciled to it, just like any of us would have to be. And he “mourned “for Absalom and loved him right to the end, even in the midst of political and military rebellion against him. David was a faithful and forgiving father.
In his commentary, Matthew Henry wrote that David did his utmost to be a good father all the while Absalom did his utmost to be a bad son. And in this is found a metaphor for the relation of our Heavenly Father, our Creator, our Redeemer, our King to his flawed, disobedient, willful, self-centered children. Like me. He is always faithful, always forgiving, never changing.
“And Jesus said, ‘Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.’ And they cast lots to divide His garments.” (Luke 23:24 NIV)
Father, help me to have a forgiving heart like David’s. In Jesus name, Amen.