2The victory that day was turned to mourning for all the people, for the people heard it said that day, “The king is grieved for his son.”
3So the people went by stealth into the city that day, as people who are humiliated steal away when they flee in battle.
4The king covered his face and cried out with a loud voice, “O my son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son!”
5Then Joab came into the house to the king and said, “Today you have covered with shame the faces of all your servants, who today have saved your life and the lives of your sons and daughters, the lives of your wives, and the lives of your concubines,
6by loving those who hate you, and by hating those who love you. For you have shown today that princes and servants are nothing to you; for I know this day that if Absalom were alive and all of us were dead today, then you would be pleased.
7“Now therefore arise, go out and speak kindly to your servants, for I swear by the Lord, if you do not go out, surely not a man will pass the night with you, and this will be worse for you than all the evil that has come upon you from your youth until now.”
2 Samuel 19:1–7 (NASB95)
Following David’s sin, we find the consequences still persisting. Absalom, his son, has usurped the king and has established himself on the throne. David was in exile and his troops sought to return their king to his rightful place. So, they took Absalom out.
David’s response upon hearing the news of the efforts of his army…to weep for his son the rebel.
Now, the parent side of me understands and is perhaps a bit empathetic. The Christ-follower side of me (which isn’t a different side but has a more prophetic voice) understand the rebuke of Joab and the error of David. David wept for the rebel and failed to honor the courageous. He felt unworthy of the throne (and not in a positive humility way). He felt as if he had lost something of value (his son) when in reality he was forsaking something of value (his calling).
At times we do the same thing. God calls us to stand up for Him and we choose to blunt the sharp edge of God’s Word. We do so, not by denying the veracity of the Scripture outright, but in affirming evil. We even convince ourselves that we are somehow humble in doing so. We claim that we are exhibiting the gentleness of Christ when we soften our response to sinful rebellion. This is not COMPASSION but SEDITION. In our failure to rebuke, we (by default) affirm rebellion.
I have often thought of the response of Aaron in Leviticus 10:1-4 as perplexing. (Again thinking as a father). However, I am increasingly convinced that his response of failing to mourn his sons’ deaths is the only right response. Had he done so, he would have dishonored the name/holiness of God.
David should have seen Absalom’s rebellion as what it was…rebellion against Holy God. Period. He knew that one should not rise up against God’s anointed king and yet he tolerated it from his own son.
Joab was right. David was foolish. God was ultimately glorified and sin, once again, demonstrates its wicked power in our lives; a power that can only be defeated by God and victory experienced only as we abandon ourselves to trust God’s way.