We enter today’s story on the cusp of battle. David’s son Absalom has rebelled and it has all come to a head. David’s army will engage Absalom’s army this day in battle. In this deadly battle 20,000 men will die. David issues what many would think an odd order just before battle is about to begin: “Be gentle with Absalom.” In spite of the rebellion, David still sees his son and still loves him deeply.
Lots has led to this point. Absalom’s vanity has led him to think that he should be king. As this thought grew so too did the lust and greed for power and control. Through a variety of schemes, deceit, and trickery, Absalom built up a following and ann army. And so it came down to battle to determine who would be king.
In our lives we too can fall to the lies we tell ourselves and to the lies Satan whispers in our ear. We too can be guilty of thinking more of ourselves than we should. To get there we often tear others down. We too can be guilty of seeking more power, more control, more influence over others. To get there we often rationalize and manipulate and bend the truth. It can be easy to go down the same road as Absalom. It can be easy to rebel against God. And we too find ourselves in battle.
In spite of all that led up to this point, David still says, “Be gentle with Absalom.” When we get to the point of battle and wrestling with our desires against God’s will for us, our God says the same thing: “Be gentle with ____.” God holds out for the same things as David held out for: reconciliation, restoration, redemption. God is our loving father. No matter our choices or actions, He still loves us and longs for relationship with us. What a great love God has for you and me!
Scripture reference: 2 Samuel 18: 5-9