Thursday, July 3, 2014
Grace and murder
2 Samuel 14:22 Joab prostrated himself with his face to the ground and did obeisance, and blessed the king; and Joab said, “Today your servant knows that I have found favor in your sight, my lord the king, in that the king has granted the request of his servant.”
The background to this verse is in 2 Samuel, chapters 13 and 14. Here, we learn about terrible deeds and treachery in the family of Israel's famous king, David, who was a man after God's own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). Modern Christian families can face many of the same sins and traumas that David's family incurred. We are not immune to the sins of humanity.
Each of the events in David's tragic family history is a result family members who lacked grace and forgiveness for one another. Amnon, David's oldest son, rapes his half sister, Tamar, because he was overcome with lust for her. Just before this happens, Tamar begs Amnon to ask their father, the king, to allow them to marry, but Amnon has no grace or mercy in his heart for her position, and violates her, then dismisses her. Tamar, the victim, is unable to extend grace and forgive Amnon for this crime and broadcasts her misery for the rest of her life. Absalom, Tamar's brother, is saddled with the responsibility of caring for this miserable young woman, and her misery contributes to the growing hatred that Absalom has for his half brother, Amnon. Unable to forgive Amnon, Absalom kills him and flees to another city to escape the wrath of the king, his father. Where is David in all of this drama? He is paralyzed by hurt. David's pain kept him from extending grace to Amnon for his crime, it kept him from looking after his own daughter's welfare and securing a position for her, and it kept him from extending grace to Absalom for the murder of Amnon. David had the kingly authority to extend grace, forgive and correct, but he did not do it.
Joab, David's trusted advisor, takes matters into his own hands and arranges for a woman to pretend to ask the King to extend grace to her son, who killed her other son. David realizes that Joab is trying to tell the king that his own son needs forgiveness and grace, and David grants Joab's request to allow Absalom to return to Jerusalem.