“…our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ…so that you may know that you have eternal life.” 1 John 1:3, 5:13
How could you not love David…repentant sinner, driven leader, godly king, poet, musician, prophet, gracious servant, valiant soldier, good looking, loyal friend, promise keeper, humble, generous, gregarious. Reading David’s life in the Old Testament could be like reading a great novel, but when someone is uniquely described as “a man after God’s own heart,” you have to wonder how someone earned that kind of honor. He certainly responded in godly ways when confronted with his ugly sin and when he chose not to take the life of Saul. But I wonder if he was after God’s own heart the deepest when he struggled over his son, Absalom.
It’s one of the most moving accounts of parental love in all of Scripture. Rebellious Absalom rallies an army to overthrow his father from his throne. Even after David’s loyal army suffers heavy casualties to keep him on the throne, the king admonishes his leaders, “Deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom.” (2 Samuel 18:5) Following victory and rather than seeing to the needs of his kingdom, David only longs for his son. Upon hearing news of Absalom’s murder, all he can do is weep and mourn. His cries for his son are breathtakingly intimate and moving: “O my son Absalom, my son, my son, Absalom! Would I have died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!”
In comes the man of the hour: Joab. His duplicity is unnerving, but were it not for Joab, David may have sunk into a spiraling deep pit of loss upon loss. Joab’s demand for his friend to behave like a king not only saves the kingdom, it also reminds us why we love David: holiness.
David was bereft, but it was for righteousness he stepped out of his personal agony to have justice served and to acknowledge the wrong his son had done. Isn’t that like the love God the Father demonstrates for us…He weeps over our rebellion but His holiness demands justice. It’s because of God’s holiness that we can really trust Him and love Him as our Abba Father God.
Even though you and I are not eyewitnesses to His glory like John and the other apostles, we who are in Christ have the assurance that we are His very own children. What an utterly magnificent thought! God in Heaven weeps over our rebellion, but because He longs to be gracious to us and because of His holiness, He died for our sin so we may have fellowship with Him and to know that we have eternal life. He wants you to really know this so that you can tell someone else about your awesome, incomparable Father who loves you like David loved his Absalom.
In Joyful Surrender,