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2 Samuel 18;5–9, 15, 31–33 – Decisions of Life
by Gary Sims
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The Scriptures
2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33 – Decisions of Life


As a result of David giving into his lustful temptation to be with Bathsheba, his life has been filled with turmoil, distress and pain. Bathsheba’s infant son has died. David’s oldest son, Amnon has raped is half-sister Tamar, and then he was murdered by Absalom in revenge. Finally, Absalom, David’s handsome and charismatic heir to the throne, has plotted successfully to win over the hearts of the people of Israel, inspiring them to follow him and to overthrow David’s government. Civil war is about to break forth as David has sent out three armies to round up and control the uprising led by Absalom.

Key Verses:
  • 5: “The king ordered Joab…, ‘Deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom.’" – David sits precariously between his duties as a king and his love as a father.

  • 6-7: “So the army went out into the field against Israel…The men of Israel were defeated there by the servants of David, and the slaughter was great on that day.” – David had fled Jerusalem and Absalom had taken David’s place in the palace. Pursued by an army of 12,000 men from Absalom, David organizes his followers into a counter attack.

  • 9: “Absalom was riding on his mule…His head caught fast in the oak and he was left hanging between heaven and earth.” – Absalom’s entire life had dangled in that space between what he was and what he should have been. Brother-Murderer. Son-Adversary. Heir-Enemy.

  • 15: “And ten young men, Joab’s armor-bearers, surrounded Absalom and struck him, and killed him.” – Joab took the steps to eliminate a threat to the throne that David was unwilling to take.

  • 32: “May the enemies of my lord the king, and all who rise up to do you harm, be like that young man.” - The news of Absalom’s death reached David.

  • 33: “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!” – All of David’s failures with his son flood as agony into his heart.
Points to Contemplate:
  • Does David’s story illustrate to you how far reaching the consequences of your sins can be? Have you experienced times where the circumstances of a situation seem to have their own momentum? That no matter what you attempt to do, you find your self spiraling deeper and deeper into trouble? Where did David go wrong? What could he have done to avoid the eventual outcome? Were there actions he could have taken with the rape of Tamar? Should he have been reaching out to Absalom in love? Do you see how not taking action sometimes can lead to more pain and suffering than should occur? Are there situations in your life right now that are brewing and developing that could use some decisive action?

  • Who do you turn to for advice and counseling? Both David and Absalom took actions based on what others told them they should do? Do you recognize the dangers of following just anyone’s advice, not knowing their agendas or perspectives? Where else is there to turn for guidance? Did David or Absalom turn to God? Does this story illustrate the importance of filtering all of our actions through God first? Do you think God would have had David ignore the needs of his son? Do you think God would have had Absalom take over the palace and sleep with David’s concubines? What steps can you take to insure that you are always turning to God in order to filter out bad advice and more fully understand the path that He would have you take?

  • Is it in your closest family relationships where you have the most difficulty? Are there people in your household that you love dearly with whom you are at war? Is there a loved one to whom you simply cannot find a way to demonstrate your love? That no matter what you try to do things always spiral into disharmony and discord? How can you use David’s story to help you in those situations? Can you set aside the variety of issues that seem to be in the way and simply reach out to them with love? Can you forgive and ask for forgiveness? Is there a way to set aside the past and work together for a bright and harmonious future? Or will you sit back and allow circumstances to lead you into the grief and sorrow of lost opportunities?
Promises of the Gospel:

The life of David in the Bible illustrates vividly his successes and his failures. These stories provide us with real-life examples of how the choices we make in life can lead to disastrous results. As we learn to turn to God in every instance and circumstance, we find that He is there to help us avoid the traps and pitfalls in life that are of our own creation. In the darkest moments in our life, if we remember His promise in
Jeremiah 29:11-12, then we will find Him when we search for Him.

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