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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Control (01/30/06)

TITLE: Downward Spiral
By Carol Adams


A study was done in the 1980’s on anger and it asked this question to the participants. “If you could eliminate another person by merely pressing a button, knowing you would not suffer any negative consequences, would you do it?” Sixty-nine percent of all the males and fifty-six percent of women responded in the positive. We seek retaliation when injured. We allow anger and hate to grow within our hearts seeking vengeance in
some manner.

Just the word, “control” has far-reaching effects. It is a power that exerts control over someone or something. It dominates, subjects, restrains, steers, and manipulates to accomplish those intended purposes.

One powerful lesson looms in God’s Word regarding control and it is found in 2 Samuel 13. The stage is set and the players move in their roles enacting control upon others. Amnon falls desperately in love with his stepsister. He literally makes himself sick thinking about her. His lust and passion for her is uncontrollable and insatiable.

His friend, Jonadab, gives evil counsel to Amnon. His counsel may have been, “You are the King’s favorite son and heir to the crown. Take your pleasures and drive away your sorrow. You have the power, so gratify yourself.” This counsel ignited his lust to have Tamar at any cost. True friends would have encouraged Amnon to be accountable and to remind him of the laws of the land, but Jonadab uses and abuses Amnon’s power in the court to sin. In a sense, Amnon falls under the control of Jonadab’s words of pride.

Jonadab offers a simple test for his directions to be enacted. Amnon must get Tamar to prepare him some food and feed it to him feigning illness as his excuse. David is deceived by his son’s words and he did not suspect that Amnon would lie about his illness. David grants his request and sends Tamar to tend to her brother. Tamar, out of love for her father and her brother did not think it strange to fix the food that he requested. He then proposes sin to her who is so full of sin in his own heart. She calls him brother to remind him of their blood relationship and to discourage him from his plan of sin. It was debauchery and forbidden. It carried a great penalty. She begs and pleads with him not to do this, but he pushes forward for his lust defies his reasoning. She tries to tell him that what he wants to do will harm them both, and if he would just talk to his father that he would probably dispense with the divine law and let them marry. All of her arguments do not take hold, for lust burned within him. He took her and immediately his love of her turned into hatred for her. Amnon hated her because she would not consent to his own wickedness.

Tamar flees torn and abused. Absalom questions Tamar about Amnon and possibly knew that Amnon was known for this lewdness. Tamar lives in solitude and disgrace in Absalom’s house. He asked her not to speak of it, but already in Absalom’s heart he was devising revenge for what he had done to Tamar.

Strife is the beginning of all sin. It is as if the flood gates were flung open wide, because one sin leads to another. David, after hearing what Amnon has done to Tamar, is angry, but does not seek to vindicate her. This speaks of dysfunction within the royal family. King David was sad; but because he loved Amnon, his first-born, he did absolutely nothing!

Absalom must have hated Amnon all the more because David did not expose him, and seemingly denied that it happened. Absalom continued to nurse his anger, which grew into a root of bitterness. It has been said that he who angers you, controls you. This was the case for Absalom. His anger festered into murder. What is sad is that no one in the royal family challenged the other to accountability for their thoughts and actions.

Someone has said that we have no control over what a person does, but we do have control over what we do. We all have choices and those choices can control our generational destinies. It has proven itself in this story.

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Member Comments
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Jan Ackerson 02/10/06
You did a good job expounding this tragic Bible story.