2 Samuel 14:25-33 – Even A King Cannot Abdicate His Job As A Parent (Another Lesson in Parenting from David)

Posted: July 6, 2018 in 10-2 Samuel

2 Samuel 14:25-33
Absalom Reconciled to David

It has become apparent to me that these past two passages and this one today could be molded into a sermon series about fatherhood. David provides the negative examples for us as pastors to preach on for a whole sermon series that could last 3 or 4 Sundays or more. Today’s passage is part of that package deal. Here, we have a continued example of spoiling a child with things but not really being present in their lives.

After my second marriage dissolved over my kids vs. your kids issues, I had a lot of time to make up for. When I was married to my second wife, there was great jealousy between her and my girls. It was to the point that I was made to feel that even having those daddy-daughter moments was frowned upon as if I was betraying my second wife and her kids somehow. It was to the point that I only felt comfortable being with my girls as long as her boys were around. That was just wrong. I should have stood up to my second wife and made it clear that loving her and her boys did not mean I could NOT love my girls too. I could actually love all of them. It was my fault. I was so scared of losing access to the feminine pleasures of my wife that I allowed myself to have very little fatherly intimate times with my girls. I hate that now. I missed out on so many hugs. So many of those cool daddy-daughter moments when your daughter(s) are young. So, when all that came to a head and blew up what was left of our marriage, I went overboard in spoiling my girls. I spoiled them rotten, particularly my youngest daughter. My oldest was off at college by then and pretty much had a life of her own. So, my youngest was the recipient of all the spoiling pretty much. I was so much more interested in making up for those 9-10 years that I was with my second wife that sometimes I really failed to be the parent to my youngest that I should have been. She certainly did not get a whole lot of discipline at home with her mom, my first wife. So, she was spoiled. And now my youngest child struggles at age 27 to make ends meet because she expects the world to be handed to her.

It is funny how our children are so different. Some kids are self-driven to be all that they can be and others are the ones that you have to worry about constantly. My youngest is the one that I worry about constantly. She fades in and out of my life as she needs things and then disappears and doesn’t talk to me for months on end. I worry about her and love her despite the fact that she seemingly only wants a relationship with me when it suits her. A parent’s wish when you boil it down to its barest essence is to have the knowledge that your child will be alright and be able to take care of themselves when I pass away. My oldest daughter and my stepdaughter, I know that they will be alright but my youngest I worry constantly. She probably thinks that life is OK living her hand to mouth existence and not trying to build a future for herself, but one day I fear that she will wake up one day and realize that she missed all the opportunities she’s had to solidify her life and build it toward independence and the ability to take on life well-equipped. I take a lot of the blame for the way she just seems to be a sideline player who just waits for the game to come to her. I never forced her to grow up. I always made exceptions for her behavior instead of being a tough dad at times on her. I regret this. You cannot rewind life and re-do what has already been done. I just pray that she will be OK when I am no longer roaming the halls of this world.

I thought of my youngest child this morning as I read through this passage about Absalom and his seemingly precocious behavior. It is cute when they are little kids but Absalom is a grown man now. The failure with Absalom’s behavior lays squarely at his father’s feet. David pretty much was an absentee father to his kids. He was not there when his kids needed correction. He wanted to be their friend more than being a parent it seems. This error in parenting is the same one that I have made with my youngest child. With each kid being different, you cannot use the same parenting style with each. David needed a firmer had with Absalom but failed to do so. The consequences of this parental failing were enormous for the kingdom of Israel and David’s throne. Let’s read the passage now and see what’s going on now with Absalom:

25 Now Absalom was praised as the most handsome man in all Israel. He was flawless from head to foot. 26 He cut his hair only once a year, and then only because it was so heavy. When he weighed it out, it came to five pounds! 27 He had three sons and one daughter. His daughter’s name was Tamar, and she was very beautiful.

28 Absalom lived in Jerusalem for two years, but he never got to see the king. 29 Then Absalom sent for Joab to ask him to intercede for him, but Joab refused to come. Absalom sent for him a second time, but again Joab refused to come. 30 So Absalom said to his servants, “Go and set fire to Joab’s barley field, the field next to mine.” So they set his field on fire, as Absalom had commanded.

31 Then Joab came to Absalom at his house and demanded, “Why did your servants set my field on fire?”

32 And Absalom replied, “Because I wanted you to ask the king why he brought me back from Geshur if he didn’t intend to see me. I might as well have stayed there. Let me see the king; if he finds me guilty of anything, then let him kill me.”

33 So Joab told the king what Absalom had said. Then at last David summoned Absalom, who came and bowed low before the king, and the king kissed him.

In this passage, we see that Absalom is an angry young man. Remember that Absalom waited 2 years before killing Amnon. 2 Samuel 13:38 says Absalom fled and went to Geshur and was there three years. He spent 3 years hiding at his grandpa and grandma’s house. In today’s text, Verse 28 says Absalom lived 2 years in Jerusalem without seeing his father. So 7 years have passed since the rape of his sister Tamar. Absalom has carried this anger in his heart for a long time! Amnon is dead so his anger can’t be toward him. So who could Absalom be angry with? Absalom seems so out of control at this point. It seems that Joab no longer wanted to deal with him. He did what he needed to do for the kingdom to bring Absalom back into Israel. But there appears between mentions of Joab in the last passage and this one (two years have passed) something has gone wrong in the relationship between Joab and Absalom. Was Joab tired of dealing with this angry young man who seems to have impulse control issues? Maybe, he was tired of Absalom being a spoiled brat and Joab having to clean up his messes. I bet both of them were angry at David for not dealing with this situation head on. David was not being a dad to Absalom by just letting him do what he wanted and all the while not really being present in his life.

Let this passage be a warning to us as parents (whether your child is still at home or is an adult). We must be present in their lives in a real way. We must participate in their lives and be in every moment with them. They look to us for guidance and leadership. If we do not perform this duty, we are doing a disservice to our child or children. We cannot be our children’s friend. We have to be a active parent. We must discipline when discipline is needed. We must set boundaries. We must enforce consequences when boundaries are crossed. We must be the bad guy sometimes. Although it is often painful to us to be the bad guy to our kids, they will appreciate it in the long run. We also must customize our parenting to each child’s personality. Some kids are just driven and self-disciplined and you can take a more hands-off approach. Some kids though need day to day, month to month management because of just how their minds are wired. We must be the heavy more often to these kids. We must manage them more often with these kids. Every one of our kids is different and deserves the parenting style that is best-suited for turning them into responsible adults. Just that simple. Take it from one who has made so many mistakes as a parent that you could write a novel about it. Learn from my mistakes.

In a similar fashion, the Lord has a particular heavenly parenting style for each one of us. Some of us, like me, need the lessons to be pressed into us with a two-by-four up side the head. Some read God’s Word and heed it immediately and suffer less in life. But God loves both kinds of his kids and all those in between. He has to be a tough parent sometimes with each of us. Letting us live out the consequences of our sinful behavior. But He never stops loving us just as I never stop loving my youngest child. God looks at each of us with an eye toward our maturing into a solid Christ follower. That’s what He wants for each of us. Help to set the same example for each of our earthly children.

Amen and Amen.

 

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