Daily Devotional

July 19, 2019

Daybreak: 2 Samuel 14:1-33

“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.” (2 Samuel 14:25)

One doesn’t have to look far in society to find examples where a beautiful exterior facade hides a soul steeped in immorality and wickedness. Television programs, magazines, and movies parade a seemingly endless stream of good-looking people who are embroiled in all manner of sinful activities. While these individuals may appear to be happy, successful, and popular, a closer look at their personal lives often reveals addictions, heartache, loneliness, and bitterness. All of these are due to a failure to have a vital living relationship with the One who created them — the Source of true happiness.

Today’s text shows that in spite of his handsome appearance and popularity, rebellion was already beginning in Absalom’s life. Even as a young man, he schemed and acted independently. David did not control him, and evidently no one else did either. As a consequence, Absalom became used to having his own way and doing as he wished. Setting Joab’s field on fire was an example of this. Very possibly, his good looks increased his self-centered attitude. 

In today’s high-fashion industry, Absalom would probably be a super model. Yet, when we look deeper into his life, we quickly realize that his self-serving attitudes and desires controlled his motives. Though his weaknesses may not have been discernable to man’s casual observation, we know that God looks on the heart. What is found there is of far greater importance than what is seen externally. 

When we look into the mirror to prepare for our day, let us take a minute to consider the heart of the person looking back at us. When we see one who has been redeemed by the precious Blood of Jesus, that light of Heaven will shine out through our actions each day. Ultimately, those around us will be drawn to us, not because we are so beautiful on the outside, but because they can see God’s love in us.

Background

The punishment for murder was death so Absalom had to flee Israel after he murdered Amnon. Even the cities of refuge that were established throughout the land could offer no protection since this was premeditated murder, and not an accidental death.

The woman Joab used to manipulate King David lived in Tekoah, a small city located approximately twelve miles from Jerusalem. This was not a random choice but rather a well-thought-out plan with the express purpose of eliciting a compassionate response from the king. Because she was a widow, David would most likely have responded more favorably to her dire need, since she had no husband to plead her case. The twelve miles she traveled ensured that her story could not readily be known to be fraudulent. She was an older woman — again to elicit a caring response from David. She wore the garb of a mourner, which further heightened the perceived level of distress she was under. Her woeful tale of murder and potential death of her only remaining son, coupled with her convincing disguise, made a strong impression on the heart of King David.

The demise of a family line was avoided at all cost within the Jewish community. Bloodline and genealogy were considered extremely important, and families often went to extreme measures to ensure future descendants. Joab was undoubtedly aware of this cultural emphasis and used it to bring David to the point of realizing he was wrong in banishing Absalom.

After promising forgiveness and protection to this widow’s only son, the true nature of her visit was revealed. When David realized that he offered protection to a stranger for the same offence his son had committed, he was left with no other option but to extend forgiveness to Absalom.

In order to receive full restoration, a son needed the blessing of his father, which was often given by means of a public audience and a kiss. After two years of living in Jerusalem, Absalom still had not received this much-needed restoration. Until it was given, his existence could be compared to house arrest. It was not until Joab was forced to go to David to seek audience for Absalom, which was granted, that Absalom was fully restored to his father and gained full access to the city to move about as he pleased.

Amplified Outline

(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II.   The shame of King David
      B.   David’s problems with his family
            1.   Amnon’s sin against Tamar
                  d.   Absalom’s restoration to David (14:1-33)
                        (1)   The scheme of Joab (14:1-3)
                        (2)   The women of Tekoah before David (14:4-20)
                               (a)   The story of the women (14:4-11)
                               (b)   The point of the story (14:12-17)
                               (c)   The reason for the story (14:18-20)
                        (3)   The partial restoration of Absalom (14:21-27)
                               (a)   Absalom’s residence in Jerusalem (14:21-24)
                               (b)   Absalom’s beauty (14:25-27)
                        (4)   The full restoration of Absalom (14:28-33)

A Closer Look

  1. What reasons did Absalom have for becoming more vain and self-important? 
     
  2. How did the actions of his sons mimic David’s own wrong behaviors?
     
  3. How can you ensure that the beauty of Christ is evident in your life — regardless of your external appearance?

Conclusion

Absalom was set on having his own way. We want our purpose to be that of pleasing God. When we allow the Holy Spirit to guide our desires and choices, we will realize the fulfilling life of being in the center of His will, and others will see the beauty of Jesus in us.

Reference Materials