SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- In the previous chapter, God warned David that "calamity" would ravage his household. In today's (admittedly graphic) reading we see the beginnings of this promised calamity. It involves a host of sins committed among David's children against each other.
- David's son Amnon develops strong feelings for his sister, Tamar. Upon the advice of an adviser named Jonadab, Amnon lures Tamar into his bedroom by pretending to be sick. Amnon then rapes Tamar.
- Back then, the patriarchal society was set up in such a way that the firstborn male of a family had elite status and special privileges. If you were the firstborn, you had de facto rights to inherit everything from your father, and were generally seen as "second in command" of the family.
- Amnon was the firstborn, which is why his brother Absalom and his father David did little to punish him or bring justice to the situation. Though they were upset, to avoid bringing shame on their family they tried to minimize what David did.
- A couple of years later, Absalom throws a celebration and invites his brother, whom he hadn't spoken to since the Tamar incident. Absalom instructs his men to get Amnon drunk and then kill him. His men follow instructions, and Absalom flees.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- As we saw in chapters 11 and 12, all of this could have been prevented if David (the father) hadn't put himself in a place to sin by cheating with Bathsheba. Here we see more examples of avoidable sin:
- When he was tempted, instead of going his adviser Jonadab who talked him into sinning, Amnon could have surrounded himself with people who would talk him out of his temptation and hold him accountable.
- Instead of asking his servants to kill Amnon, Absalom could have asked a group of people who loved God to help him through the painful but freeing process of forgiving his brother.
- No matter how deeply we may feel stuck in a sinful situation, it's only going to get worse if we don't do something about it.
- If we find ourselves in a situation that is sinful (or likely to become sinful), now is the right time to do the Godly thing and get out.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- Is there a sinful situation you're caught up in (or think you might get caught up in)? Go to a trusted friend today and confess what you're going through. Ask them to hold you accountable as you journey through the painful process of undoing damage.
- Talk to God about your pain and your struggle; He wants the best for you, and He can guide you through the messiness of healing.