*Happy July 5th. I hope July the 4th was a great day for you. Yesterday we looked at the aftermath of David's sin. David may have been allowed to keep his throne in spite of his actions, but things took a downhill turn for the house of David. David received forgiveness, but not a "blanket forgiveness." He would still face consequences. We discovered yesterday that the baby, conceived on that fateful night, died. But, that was only the beginning.

"While they were on their way, the report came to David: 'Absalom has struck down all the king's sons; not one of them is left.' The king stood up, tore his clothes and lay down on the ground; and all his servants stood by with their clothes torn." (II Samuel 13: 30-31)

O.K., well David had a son named Amnon who was first in line to the throne. Amnon had a particular sexual sin; he was infatuated with his half-sister Tamar. (Not to be confused with Tamar from the Book of Genesis) Amnon wanted her so badly that one night he deceived her, trapped her and eventually raped her. Then "Amnon hated her with intense hatred. In fact, he hated her more than he had loved her." (II Samuel 13:15) Wow! Amnon totally rejected her. Well, Tamar was the full sister of Absalom whom David loved dearly. Absalom hated his brother for his actions and about two years later had his brother killed. Poor David! Remember, Nathan the prophet declared that what David did in secret would be done to him in public. Well, even though one son of David's is killed in somewhat similar fashion as Uriah the Hittite (that David had killed) the worst is still to come.

Absalom was banished from Jerusalem, but was clever enough to make his way back. He managed to win the affections of the people, (sound familiar) He was very handsome (oh, sounds familiar too), and was very clever (like Father like Son). When folks came to Jerusalem looking for David's help Absalom intercepted them at the city gate and basically said: "No need to go to the king. I will take care of you." In fact, "Absalom behaved in this way toward all the Israelites who came to the king asking for Justice, and so he stole the hearts of the men of Israel." (II Samuel 15:6)

Absalom is now ready to make a run for the crown. He proclaims himself king in Hebron, where David first became king. He then gathered military support and attacked Jerusalem. Guess what David does? He flees into the wilderness. Absalom then takes control of Jerusalem and as promised he took David's concubines and slept with them on the roof of the palace in full view of the public. (II Samuel 16:22) Eventually the inner circle of Absalom revealed their loyalty to David and betrayed the trust of Absalom. This led to Absalom's demise at the hands of Joab, David's commander. David returns to Jerusalem, full of grief, but back on the throne.

The remainder of the Book of II Samuel does not appear to be in chronological order. David is certainly not the same man as he was. At one point he even takes a census of his fighting men. (Chapter 24) God is not pleased by David doing this. This is viewed as a lack of faith in Yahweh and reliance upon the strength of the army. *For what it's worth. (Remember that from Paul Harvey?) I remember as a kid going to funerals. We went to a lot of them while I was growing up. We would be in the procession as the hearse made its way to the cemetery. One time I looked back and said, "Wow! That is a long line of cars! I wonder how many are back there? (in the procession) I began to count and was immediately told to STOP!!!!! I eventually asked why. Guess what the reasoning was? Yes, they used the fact that David got into trouble for counting his men.

The Book ends with David purchasing land that will be the place where the temple is built. This is not the end of the story of David. Tomorrow we will begin the Book of Kings. There is still so much more to come. You will not want to miss it. Have a blessed day!!! -Pastor Rick

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