Day 136: Absalom Is Defeated
Psalm 37 This Psalms return to the subject of why blessing and misfortune do not ostensibly correspond to a person’s moral behavior. This psalm counsels trust in the Lord, both in his justice and in his timing of justice; in the end, good will triumph and those who do evil will be vanquished. The just person does not give way to anger and frustration but must have faith that displays habitual patience in the hope that a generous reward will come in due time through faithful perseverance and fidelity. The righteous will inherit the land and see all opposition overcome.
The meek shall possess the land: This verse forms one of the Beatitudes of Christ (cf. Mt 5:5).
The law of God is in his heart: Natural law, written on every human heart by God himself, can guide us in our moral decisions and our search for God. (CCC 1716, 1957-1960)
(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)
In his exile, David’s faithful friends show themselves.
Some remain in Jerusalem as his covert aids and informants, some accompany him in his exile, and others refresh him with generous hospitality.
With the assistance of his friends, David is saved from the deadly genius of Ahithophel.
The king musters an army at Mahanaim, attacks Absalom’s troops, and achieves a great victory.
The fleeing Absalom finds himself trapped and defenseless in a forest.
Joab defies the king’s instructions to leave the prince unharmed and slays his defenseless captive in cold blood.
Absalom’s death quells the rebellion, but his son’s death leaves David inconsolable.
Again David’s failures come back to haunt him: had he administered justice to Joab for the murder of Abner, he would not have lost his son to this man’s violence.
(*Walking With God: A Journey Through The Bible by Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins)
We are going to go in reverse today 😉
1 Chronicles Ch 23 just to highlight what David is doing
David is establishing what TEMPLE WORSHIP will look like
Remember back in the “olden days” in Deuteronomy, Leviticus, and Exodus, they numbered all of the Levites 30 years old and above (Numbers Ch 4) because their service started at age 30
David is going to change some rules
There is going to be ONE PLACE OF WORSHIP in the Temple in Jerusalem which Solomon will build
David is also RESTRUCTURING the Tribe of Levi
Because when you build a big TEMPLE, it’s going to be something different than a TENT
The people will come to the Temple on a regular basis
Therefore, there is going to be a shift in workers and the work that needs to be done
The families of Gershon and Kohath and Merari; remember those families are sons of the Tribe of Levi, they are NOT PRIESTS but they are the ones who are involved in the SERVICE of the Temple (The PRIESTS are of the family of Aaron)
The Gershonites took care of the skins that covered the Tabernacle and the walls of the tent
The Kohathites took care of the furniture of the Tabernacle, including the Ark, the table of bread, and the menorah, under the direction of Eliazar who WAS a priest
The Merarites took care of the structural aspects of the Tabernacle like the pillars, boards, etc.
So they had their jobs when it came to a PORTABLE Temple
But now they are going to build a PERMANENT STRUCTURE for the Temple
So there needs to be a shift in their roles
There is going to be more work
David moves the age of service from 30 to 20 for all the new work in the new Temple
2 Samuel Ch 18 we have the story of Absalom in battle
Absalom is defeated
Absalom is killed
Absalom is caught by his hair in an oak tree, hanging between heaven and earth
Joab comes up and kills him even though David said very clearly to him and the other 2 generals DEAL GENTLY WITH ABSALOM
David wants Absalom TO LIVE
Joab is maybe more insightful than David if he were to let Absalom live
Absalom led a rebellion that left 20,000 dead in this one battle
This is a BIG DEAL
So Joab takes matters into his own hands
The biggest piece is what happens at the end of the chapter
David gets word
David is waiting at the city instead of joining the battle because his men wanted to protect him
David is worth 10,000 soldiers in the eyes of his Mighty Men
The Cushite brings word to David, “May all the king’s enemies be as that young man.”
This is a KEY moment
Do you know Eric Whitaker? (🤔 Never heard of him myself)
He’s a musician who has a song called “When David Heard”
It’s often done by choirs all over the world
When Fr. Mike first heard the song, it killed him
It says when David heard that young Absalom was dead he went up to the chamber over the gate and cried out, “My son, my son, Absalom Absalom, my son, my son, would that I have died instead of you, my son, my son.”
It is SO MOVING and PIERCES THE HEART
This song can also remind us of God the Father
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
And here is the Father who cries out in agony that his Son, our Lord God, was given for us sinful human beings
So there is a connection between this and Abraham & Isaac
And now with David and Absalom
So there is a connection between a FATHER and a SON
The grief of a FATHER mourning his SON
All the while up to this moment where Absalom is dead, remember David HAS NOT BEEN A GOOD DAD
Absalom had to take vengeance on Amnon for raping Tamar
DAVID DID NOTHING
Absalom gets banished
DAVID DID NOTHING
Absalom comes back home
DAVID DID NOTHING by way of reconciliation
Even up to this point, when David referred to Absalom he did not refer to him as “MY SON”
But he referred to Absalom as “The young man”
“Make sure the young man Absalom is kept safe”
“Deal gently with the young man Absalom”
Even when David asks the messengers, “Is the young man Absalom safe?”
It isn’t until Absalom is DEAD that David claims him as his SON
That’s worth praying about
David was not being a good father
He did not even CLAIM HIS SON until he was DEAD
His words finally change from “THE YOUNG MAN” to “MY SON”
So pray about this
What is it to be CLAIMED AS A SON OR DAUGHTER OF THE FATHER?
What is it to be claimed as a son or daughter of your ACTUAL PARENTS?
What is it to NOT BE CLAIMED?
What is it to be just a creature of God vs. a SON OR DAUGHTER OF GOD?
What is it to be just a person in the family as opposed to your father looking at you and saying, “You are my BELOVED DAUGHTER” or “You are my BELOVED SON”?
We know that Jesus is CLAIMED AGAIN AND AGAIN by God the Father in the Gospels
THE BAPTISM OF JESUS
God the Father CLAIMS Jesus His Son
God the Father CLAIMS YOU
AS HIS SON
AS HIS DAUGHTER
It doesn’t take TRAGEDY for God to CLAIM YOU
GOD CLAIMED YOU FROM THE MOMENT OF YOUR BAPTISM
WHEN YOU WERE BAPTIZED, YOU WERE MADE INTO GOD’S SON OR DAUGHTER
Of course, God claimed you BEFORE YOU WERE BORN
BECAUSE HE WANTED YOU TO BE HIS SON
HE WANTED YOU TO BE HIS DAUGHTER
But it is by BAPTISM that we become CHILDREN OF GOD
SO GIVE GOD PRAISE
Know that GOD KNOWS YOUR NAME
Know that GOD CALLS YOU BY YOUR NAME
Know that GOD CALLS YOU HIS BELOVED SON
Know that GOD CALLS YOU HIS BELOVED DAUGHTER
PRAY FOR FR. MIKE
PRAY FOR EACH OTHER
Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we praise you. We do. We take our refuge in you. We ask that you please number us. Count us among those who are righteous. Count us among those who trust in you and not in our own strength, but who seek to do your will in all things. Lord God, any way that we have taken ourselves away from your will in great ways and in small ways, we return to you with our whole heart and ask that you please not only lift us up, but help us to come back. Not only make us strong, but help us to return to you. We place ourselves in your hands. We surrender to your lordship, to you being God and Father forever. And we commit our hearts and our lives once again to you, in the name of your Son, Jesus. Amen.”