The king said to the Cushite, “Is it well with the young man Absalom?” And the Cushite answered, “May the enemies of my lord the king and all who rise up against you for evil be like that young man.” And the king was deeply moved and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. And as he went, he said, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!” 2 Samuel 18:32-33
We all have to deal with people who oppose us….it is part of life on this earth. It is a reflection of the opposition in the epic battle of the universe. God has an enemy. That enemy is spreading the attitudes of confrontation, self-centeredness, anger, and distrust. You can see the reality of this battle all around us. (Be careful, though—unlike God, none of us are always on the right side and we need to be open to God’s guidance to show us when we are the opposition.)
To make matters worse (and more difficult), opposition can come from those whom we care about most, our closest friends, or our family members. That’s the position that David experienced. His son, Absalom, was out to take his kingdom and was waging war against the king and his army. While David was against the direct challenge to his throne, he was passionately clear that his son was not to be harmed—even though he was committing treason against his father!
Do you see the reality of what is happening here in the story? David loved his son, not because of his good behavior or his deep appreciation….he just loved him because he was his son. Absalom’s actions were blatantly opposed to the king, but the king loved him. David loved his son so much that upon hearing of his death he cries out, “Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom.” He cries this despite the opposition, the wrongness of the position, the sin, and the treason.
We are all Absalom! We have done the same things that Absalom did to his earthly father to God, our heavenly Father. The big difference, however, is that instead of us dying for our treason, God found a way to die in our place, just as David wished.
Two takeaways from this:
1. Do you recognize the times when your sin continues to act in opposition to God? How do you respond when you see that God the Son died in your place for the things that you have already done AND for those treacherous things that your sin will still yet do? What is the appropriate response?
2. Are you a man who reflects David’s heart attitude (and thereby God’s)? Do you weep for your opposition? Do you measure your feelings and attitudes toward your opposition as fellow image-bearers and worthy of forgiveness and redemption? How can you become more like David’s heart toward Absalom and God’s heart toward you?