In today’s post, we follow the folly of both David and Absalom. We’ll see how both manifest pride. But, there is a difference. For David, humility does eventually come.
Humility vs. Foolishness
Again this provides us with a fun teaching moment. Humble people can and do make foolish choices. The reason they’re not characterized as ‘fools’ (at least not in a permanent sense) is that they humble themselves when their foolishness is exposed and sometimes even before it’s exposed. They refuse to walk in the habitual state of foolishness.Humble people do make foolish choices. The reason they’re not permanently characterized as fools is that they humble themselves when their foolishness is exposed, sometimes even before. Click To Tweet
This is the exact same principle that covers committing a sin versus being a sinner. We all sin and even fall short of the glory of God, but the true Christian is marked by a constant turning.
C.S. Lewis said:
“A Christian is not a man who never goes wrong, but a man who is enabled to repent and pick himself up and begin over again after each stumble–because the Christ-life is inside him, repairing him all the time, enabling him to repeat (in some degree) the kind of voluntary death which Christ Himself carried out.”
Like the sinner, I hope we’ll never forget that there is hope for the fool. Proverbs 26:12 says, “Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” Although it may be ever so small it is hope nonetheless. Of course it’s a different story for the proud.
David & Absalom
Let’s continue last week’s story by picking up in 2 Samuel 13 with two tragic characters: Tamar and Amnon. The storyline, if you take time to read it, seems to parallel that of David and Bathsheba. However, Amnon (David’s firstborn son) doesn’t seem to have learned any lesson whatsoever from his father—or if he did learn a lesson, it was the wrong lesson.
As the story goes, Amnon through a series of deceptions, violates Tamar, who is his half sister. As it turned out, Amnon ended up hating Tamar after he took advantage of her—leaving her destitute. According to Proverbs 26:28 “A lying tongue hates those they crush.” Which proved true of Amnon.
This foolish act incurs the wrath of Tamar’s brother, Absalom, who is also David’s son. Meanwhile, David seems to stand by and do nothing about the rape of his daughter. I’ll show the pride of this in-action in just a bit.
So Absalom takes matters into his own hands which begins his journey of pride. So far it seems to be ‘like father like son.’ Absalom doesn’t go to God and ask for help, just as David didn’t ask God’s help with Bathsheba. Instead Absalom makes an elaborate plan to murder his brother Amnon. The plan seems obvious, but again David doesn’t take action. He doesn’t even acknowledge that there is an issue. David seems uninterested in putting the tragedy right, which sets Absalom against his father. This is where the plan to take David down seems to be born.Absalom doesn’t go to God and ask for help, just as David didn’t ask God’s help with Bathsheba. Click To Tweet
Remember Proverbs 3:5-6?
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.”
What we learn here is that taking matters into our own hands is an act of foolish pride. David did this with the whole Bathsheba incident and Absalom does it with not trusting in the vengeance of the Lord.
With respect to David, his pride in this situation was actually two-fold. How many of you know that when our sins are confronted and we’re disciplined it’s not uncommon to isolate from others and even ignore our responsibilities. Sadly this is just pride manifesting itself in a sort of covert way. Who are we pitying? Self. What is that? Pride. You see the problem?
C.S. Lewis famously said, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” In the case of David’s self-pity he was thinking less of himself—a thing we call false-humility. David had truly failed to acknowledge the Lord in all his ways. He didn’t trust God for his desire. Consequently he lost a son and eventually a Kingdom. A man even lost his life because of David’s sin. Now, David doesn’t even see himself as a good king. David’s refusal to take action with Amnon is the outplay of a ‘thinking less of oneself’ kind of pride.
Interestingly enough David is pleased that Absalom eventually enacts justice. But David’s inaction reaches even further. Through this ordeal David doesn’t remove Jonadab from the place of advisor in his court. Jonadab was the very man who advised Amnon in how to take advantage of Tamar.
Proverbs 27:6 says, “Better is open rebuke than love that is concealed. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.” David failed to be a friend to his own son by his inaction. Just like David we can be enemies to those around us in what we don’t do.David failed to be a friend to his own son by his inaction. Just like David we can be enemies to those around us in what we don’t do. Click To Tweet
It seems as though Absalom wanted his father to provide an open rebuke, but when David didn’t he lost a friend. David became an enemy in Absalom’s eyes. It’s at this point that Absalom commits his course and carries out his brother’s murder. Still, David does nothing but mourn while Absalom flees to his grandfather, the King of Geshur.
In the next post, we will finish our story. But until then here’s a question for you: have you walked in the pride of believing your ways were higher than God’s this week? Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.