THE WAGES OF SIN
Lord, teach me to respect all authority, even when I disagree.
Read 2 SAMUEL 15:1–12
In the course of time, Absalom provided himself with a chariot and horses and with fifty men to run ahead of him. 2 He would get up early and stand by the side of the road leading to the city gate. Whenever anyone came with a complaint to be placed before the king for a decision, Absalom would call out to him, “What town are you from?” He would answer, “Your servant is from one of the tribes of Israel.” 3 Then Absalom would say to him, “Look, your claims are valid and proper, but there is no representative of the king to hear you.” 4 And Absalom would add, “If only I were appointed judge in the land! Then everyone who has a complaint or case could come to me and I would see that they receive justice.”
5 Also, whenever anyone approached him to bow down before him, Absalom would reach out his hand, take hold of him and kiss him. 6 Absalom behaved in this way toward all the Israelites who came to the king asking for justice, and so he stole the hearts of the people of Israel.
7 At the end of four years, Absalom said to the king, “Let me go to Hebron and fulfill a vow I made to the Lord. 8 While your servant was living at Geshur in Aram, I made this vow: ‘If the Lord takes me back to Jerusalem, I will worship the Lord in Hebron.’”
9 The king said to him, “Go in peace.” So he went to Hebron.
10 Then Absalom sent secret messengers throughout the tribes of Israel to say, “As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpets, then say, ‘Absalom is king in Hebron.’” 11 Two hundred men from Jerusalem had accompanied Absalom. They had been invited as guests and went quite innocently, knowing nothing about the matter. 12 While Absalom was offering sacrifices, he also sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counselor, to come from Giloh, his hometown. And so the conspiracy gained strength, and Absalom’s following kept on increasing.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
How do we manage the lingering effects of sin?
God’s judgment on David for his many sins means losing the child born as a result of his adultery, his wives being molested in broad daylight, and his household not living in peace (2 Sam. 12:10–12). He confesses and repents—and God forgives him. The child does die, however, his wives get molested, and his household turns into a wreck! What does this tell of sin and God’s forgiveness?
We need to appreciate the impeccable holiness of God and the unspeakable filthiness of sin—any sin and every sin—before him. “The wages of sin is death,” writes Paul (Rom. 6:23), and not just physical death but eternal separation from God. Jesus Christ has gone to prepare a place for his saints and “nothing impure will ever enter it” (Rev. 21:27). When God forgives us as he forgives David, this sentence on sin is lifted from us: “The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die” (2 Sam. 12:13). This, however, does not remove the consequences of sin while here on earth. There is an indelible aftermath to sin. The confession and forgiveness of a rapist, for example, does not remove the horror of what happened from the victim. But if a pregnancy results, the child has the same status in the human race as any other child, however conceived.
One of David’s sons erupts in open rebellion. Absalom’s attitude to the kingship contrasts very markedly with what we read of his father’s reticence. If anything, it reflects the modern philosophy of unabashed self-promotion, ambitious goal-setting and a focused “going for it.” For four full years his mischief is simmering in the open (1–7)—but the king fails to nip this rebellion in the bud.
What mistakes do you think were the biggest in raising your children or in children being raised in your culture today?
Lord, please help us to be sensitive and obedient to Your leading today and thereby safeguard the future.