NEHCC Sermon - 7-6-08 - Get a Grip on Grief
NORTHEAST HOUSTON COMMUNITY CHURCH
Sermon – Get a Grip on Grief
Scripture – 2 Sam 18:24-33
2 Sam 18:24-33
24 Now David was sitting between the two gates. And the watchman went up to the roof over the gate, to the wall, lifted his eyes and looked, and there was a man, running alone. 25 Then the watchman cried out and told the king. And the king said, "If he is alone, there is news in his mouth." And he came rapidly and drew near. 26 Then the watchman saw another man running, and the watchman called to the gatekeeper and said, "There is another man, running alone!" And the king said, "He also brings news." 27 So the watchman said, "I think the running of the first is like the running of Ahimaaz (A-him-aaz) the son of Zadok." And the king said, "He is a good man, and comes with good news." 28 So Ahimaaz called out and said to the king, "All is well!" Then he bowed down with his face to the earth before the king, and said, "Blessed be the Lord your God, who has delivered up the men who raised their hand against my lord the king!" 29 The king said, "Is the young man Absalom safe?" Ahimaaz answered, "When Joab sent the king's servant and me your servant, I saw a great tumult, but I did not know what it was about." 30 And the king said, "Turn aside and stand here." So he turned aside and stood still. 31 Just then the Cushite came, and the Cushite said, "There is good news, my lord the king! For the Lord has avenged you this day of all those who rose against you." 32 And the king said to the Cushite, "Is the young man Absalom safe?" So the Cushite answered, "May the enemies of my lord the king, and all who rise against you to do harm, be like that young man!" 33 Then the king was deeply moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept. And as he went, he said thus:"O my son Absalom — my son, my son Absalom — if only I had died in your place! O Absalom my son, my son!" NKJV
In our journey through the life of David, we have come to a very sensitive event in his life. What we will look at will be relative to each of us and we will learn how a weakness of David nearly caused him to lose the kingdom and what he did to re-grip it. We call it getting a grip on something.
David has now experienced all four of the prophesied consequences of his multiple sins involving his adulterous act (not affair) with Bathsheba. The last two of the four was the adversary within his own house in the form of his third son Absalom and the public humiliation of having 10 of his wives lustfully taken sexually on the rooftop in front of all Israel.
Absalom sought to take the kingdom from his father and turned many of the people to support him. This tells me that Absalom did not know God as he should for if he did he would have know that it was God that determined who would be the king.
David had to flee Jerusalem with a small contingent of men to save his life. Later there was a battle between the men of David and the army of Absalom.
How sad it is for we have here a civil war among David’s subject. (2 Sam 18:6) God was really chastising David BUT He had not forsaken David. David was still God’s anointed, still his chosen King. When children are rightly chastised, punished or even whipped it is out of love for the child.
We talked about how others, even those you thought were friend, will turn on you when they sense you are wounded. God will set the boundaries for chastisement of His own.
God fought against the army of Absalom and the army of David, though outnumbered, prevailed. God gave David victory.
2 Sam 18:6-8 6 So the people went out into the field of battle against Israel. And the battle was in the woods of Ephraim. 7 The people of Israel were overthrown there before the servants of David, and a great slaughter of twenty thousand took place there that day. 8 For the battle there was scattered over the face of the whole countryside, and the woods devoured more people that day than the sword devoured. NKJV
Let us read on a littler further and see the end of Absalom.
2 Sam 18:9-10 9 Then Absalom met the servants of David. Absalom rode on a mule. The mule went under the thick boughs of a great terebinth tree, and his head caught in the terebinth; so he was left hanging between heaven and earth. And the mule which was under him went on. NKJV
That which was Absalom’s pride was that which caused his death. It is often that which we prize with pride that will become our downfall. .
Prov 16:18 18 Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall. NKJV
Proverbs is a good book for every Christian family to spend time in.
Messengers bring David the news of the battle and his first response is:
29 The king said, "Is the young man Absalom safe?"
There is no thought of casualties, no interest in how the battle (civil war) went. David’s only concern was for this wayward, rebellious, devious, disobedient son with murder in his heart.
David was an over indulgent father as we have seen examples of in previous chapters. When any parent is over indulgent toward their children and lacks on discipline, the best result will be a spoiled child and a spoiled adult; the worst will be like Absalom; disrespectful, disobedient, self-seeking, prideful, deceptive and seeking their own way without regard of others. Over indulgence in any area or toward any one will lead to trouble and lead you away from God
The first messenger avoided telling David the fate of Absalom, but when the second messenger told David he began to grieve bitterly. The messenger was pleased that an enemy of his king was no more. But David was not.
I am sure many parents can emphasize with David. I know it is very hard to lose a child, or to have a child seem to go bad. Some will begin to blame themselves and it is possible that some of the blame for their actions in early years is rightly given. BUT, let me tell you what I think the bible teaches. The bible teaches that every one of us is responsible for our own actions.
There come a time in a Child’s life when they are no longer a child but an adult and they know right from wrong but choose wrong. The parent is not responsible for the actions of that child.
If they continue to demand things their way in disobedience to authority of God and of the government which is established by God, then all we can do is pray for them and let God deal with them as He deems appropriate. We cannot pray bad people to be good and we cannot tell God how to deal with them, remember it may have been our thinking that contributed to their attitude.
This sad part of David’s life teaches’ me that if we do wrong and God pronounces consequences on us for the wrong that we did, only God’s mercy can shorten the time. If we humble ourselves will He not let it be lengthened and may just shorten it. He told Israel that they would be in captivity for 70 years. They were in captivity 70 years. If we have bad children or loved ones we can only pray that God will have mercy on them but we cannot and should never pray against God’s will.
Look, the Bible says that we all have sinned. (Rom 3:23) Our sins have earned us death. Christ died to save us from the penalty of our sins not always from the consequences of our sins. Our children and our loved ones after reaching a certain age are SOLEY responsible for their actions.
Let me give you an example of what I am trying to say.
Lev 10:1-3 10 Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them. 2 So fire went out from the Lord and devoured them, and they died before the Lord. 3 And Moses said to Aaron, "This is what the Lord spoke, saying: 'By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people I must be glorified.'" So Aaron held his peace. NKJV
Aaron, the high priest appointed by God could not save his sons who were disobedient and suffered the consequences of their disobedient actions. Moses, their uncle, explained to Aaron why this happened and Aaron held his peace.
Read down a little further
Lev 10:6 6 And Moses said to Aaron, and to Eleazar and Ithamar, his sons, "Do not uncover your heads nor tear your clothes, lest you die, and wrath come upon all the people. NKJV
They were not even allowed to grieve.
1 Sam 16:1 16 Now the Lord said to Samuel, "How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? NKJV
When we continue in a constant state of grief as David did, or dissatisfaction with the way things are going in the lives of our loved ones we are saying to God that we are not satisfied with the way He is handling the situation. We then become less useful to be used by God for His purpose.
We cannot pray them to be good and God will not zap them to be good. But I do believe that He will give them opportunities to change.
Just as the child is responsible so is the parent or grieving person held responsible for how they respond to God’s will. Look at David’s response.
33 Then the king was deeply moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept. And as he went, he said thus:"O my son Absalom — my son, my son Absalom — if only I had died in your place! O Absalom my son, my son!"
Remember I explained that the penalty for adultery was death. God did not have David killed but we see here that David wished he had died.
Parents train the child now.
Prov 22:6 6 Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. NKJV
Training encompasses teaching, instruction and by example. I taught Sarah how to swim out of my fear; I taught her biblical stories out of fear. I took her to church, had family prayer and tried to live right in front of her, all out of fear.
David’s excessive grief placed the death of Absalom above his God given responsibility of king over Israel. He was becoming ineffectual and self- isolated.
2 Sam 19:5-8 5 Then Joab came into the house to the king, and said, "Today you have disgraced all your servants who today have saved your life, the lives of your sons and daughters, the lives of your wives and the lives of your concubines, 6 in that you love your enemies and hate your friends. For you have declared today that you regard neither princes nor servants; for today I perceive that if Absalom had lived and all of us had died today, then it would have pleased you well. 7 Now therefore, arise, go out and speak comfort to your servants. For I swear by the Lord, if you do not go out, not one will stay with you this night. And that will be worse for you than all the evil that has befallen you from your youth until now." 8 Then the king arose and sat in the gate. And they told all the people, saying, "There is the king, sitting in the gate." So all the people came before the king. NKJV
This event in David’s life has taught me that if God has anointed me (called) to be His servant I must not let the actions of others, be it my wife, daughter or any loved one cause me to fall short. God will hold me responsible for my actions not them.
The same applies to you.
2 Cor 5:10-18
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
11 Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.
12 For we do not commend ourselves again to you, but give you opportunity to boast on our behalf, that you may have an answer for those who boast in appearance and not in heart.
13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; or if we are of sound mind, it is for you.
14 For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died;
15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.
16 Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer.
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. NKJV