A better neighbor
David: The Better Neighbor
2 Samuel 15
The story of Absalom is a stark reminder that often the greatest heartaches we will face will come from our very homes. I suppose that every Christian parent that has struggled with the rebellion or waywardness of a child has turned this section of the Bible to seek answers and find solace. In order to make sense of where we heading tonight, I want to take you back in your minds to the days that Saul forfeited the kingdom for his disobedience.
1 Samuel 15:28 And Samuel said unto him, The Lord hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbour of thine, that is better than thou. David was that better neighbor that God had in mind. If you can remember the ground we have just covered in the life of David, you have to wonder if he really was a better neighbor than Saul. There is no doubt in my mind that the events of chapter 11 make David appear as a lesser man than Saul. The adultery with Bathsheba, the conspiracy to kill Uriah, and then David taking Bathsheba to be his wife. Seems very cold, calloused, and calculating. Chapter 12 tells us of Nathan’s role in delivering the word to David, that the baby would die, and the baby did in fact die. Chapter 13 details the account of the house David falling apart at the seams. With the rape of Tamar by her half brother Amnon. David’s response is a period of anger, but Absalom thought it deserved harsher punishment. Absalom eventually ordered the death of Amnon. Absalom then goes on the run for a period of three years. Joab sees the hurt in David’s heart and devises a plan to get Absalom back to Jerusalem. Absalom comes back to Jerusalem for two years and never sees David. Joab arranges A MEETING BETWEEN THE TWO, AND David kisses Absalom indicating that he has accepted him back into the home. There is something that we need to point out about Absalom before we go on.
2 Samuel 14:25 But in all Israel there was none to be so much praised as Absalom for his beauty: from the sole of his foot even to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him. He had a lot going for him. David was a handsome young man, there was a striking resemblance, but it seems that Absalom surpassed David in the good looks department.
Chapter 15. The plot thickens. Absalom is assembling a small force of men with chariots and horses. The first question you have to be asking is why? Then we see Absalom out at the gate talking, politicking to the masses. I am sorry you have suffered injustices, I am sorry the king doesn’t have time for you. If I were the king, if I were the judge…this is what I would do. If you think about all that has gone on over the past three years in the life of David, you could see where some things may not have been getting the deserved attention. We see rebellions like this in our churches today…If I were the pastor, and then they assemble a small following and things get ugly. Imagine with me if you will the headlines as our modern picks up on the situation in Israel. “Favorite son Absalom rebels against his father.” Absalom gaining momentum over the establishment.” If you are paying attention to the political races at all, you know that the headlines are written to back whomever they want to win. But here is the real scoop in what was happening in Israel. Here is the real news story, although it does not have the flair for the dramatic. How David responds to his son’s rebellion. We kind of picked up on this thought throughout the series: David got into the most trouble during the quiet times. But when the battle was hot and heavy, he seemed to know how to find the heart of God. Look in verse 12-15. David makes plans to leave Jerusalem and let this rebellion run its course. It seems that his men backed him, and were ready to do whatever David asked them to do. If you want to fight we will fight, if you want to flee, we will flee. Verse 16, we David fleeing Jerusalem without even responding to the counsel of his men. What kind of response is that? Is he just turning his back on the problem and running? Or is he making a decision that simply speaks volumes about his wisdom? You see, David never had the wild ambition of Absalom. Twice he had a golden opportunity to kill Saul, but he chose to trust God. I think we can imagine what Absalom would do in a similar situation. As an older man, he did not have any of Saul’s insecurities. Saul wasted much of his life trying to eliminate a perceived threat, that was no threat at all. Here we have David whose throne is threatened, and he does not lift a finger against his son. David was better than Saul; he was a better neighbor.
1. He was stirred up by remembrance of the Word of God.
2 Peter 3:1-2 This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:
Rebellion is building, Absalom is stealing the heart of the people, and he is undermining David’s rightful authority. Why wouldn’t he stand up and fight for what was his? I see that he had a regard for the Word of God.
2 Sam 12:10-12. Do you know what David sees here other than rebellion, heartache, and chaos? He sees the hand of God working in his life just as Nathan had said it would. One of his very own house. I was a fairly new Christian when I heard a lady stand up and give testimony in church ho should had committed adultery, and now she was reaping the consequence of her sin as her own son was going through the same trial.
Numbers 14:18 The Lord is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.
This is a sober reminder that we do not need to rise up and shake our fist, and ask God why this is happening. He already promised it would happen.
You will suffer persecution, you will have tribulation.
1 Peter 4:12-132 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. Here was David’s response: The preacher said that it would happen like this; it would be foolish for me to try to stop it. David’s response to the problem is more important than the problem itself. Consider Saul’s reaction when Samuel confronted him for disobeying. The response was more of a disappointment than the act itself. That is why God could call David a better neighbor.
2. David was sensitive to the presence of God. (24-26). We have mentioned David’s love for the ark, and we already know that the ark was a symbol of God’s abiding presence. Uzzah, preparing a tent, dancing. Do you know what he is saying here? Don’t take the ark away from the city of God, the people deserve to be in God’s presence, and at the moment I do not. David was more concerned for the spiritual well being for th nation as a whole than he was with his own. A nation cannot go forward once God has forsaken them.
If God chooses to bless me, He will bring me back to where the ark is…He will bring me back into His presence.
Psalms 16:11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
David’s act of humility is a lesson that we can all learn from.
1 Peter 5:5-6 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
The ark of God does not belong to me, I belong to the God of the ark. Do you see his sense of unworthiness?
David had learned to just trust God. If God wants Absalom to have the throne, there is nothing that I can do about it. We are more likely to accept God’s will when it fits into our plans. Nothing in David’s flesh like what was happening (30).
Lamentations 3:22-23 It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
Ask God to take away the feelings of Saul in you, or of Sauline for you ladies. If you fell the need to defend yourself every time you feel wronged…
We know how the story ends, but I want you to see the legacy each man left behind.
2 Samuel 18:18. Acts 13:22