The Heart of the King

2 Samuel 18:33 “The king was deeply moved and went to the chamber over the gate and wept. And thus he said as he walked, ‘O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son!’ ”

Observation: Hear the broken heart of a father whose child was lost in his sin and rebellion. Absalom had made himself the enemy of his father, David, by his defiance. Despite David’s explicit demand to his army that they deal gently with Absalom, David’s long-time friend and military commander, Joab, had speared Absalom through the heart.

While the king did not yet know how Absalom died or who killed him, he responded to the news of Absalom’s death as a heartbroken father would. Absalom, who had killed his half-brother and then exiled himself from his father for years—Absalom, who in his rebellion had set himself up as king and caused David to flee Jerusalem—Absalom was nonetheless deeply loved by his father. David here mourned that he would have taken Absalom’s place in death if it had been possible.

Application: Today’s reading, revealing the tender heart of a father who would be willing to die to save his son, foreshadows a time when another Father did indeed die, that His children might live, and I realize that I am Absalom. We are all Absalom, each having been born into sin and rebellion. We deserve the death that Absalom received.

I recall the Scripture where Christ stood above Jerusalem and wept over all she was missing as her time of salvation was at hand, yet she refused to turn from her evil ways (see Luke 13:34). As I remember Christ’s outstretched arms the Father cries out to me and says, “I will provide the sacrifice who will die in your stead.” And so, the Cross of Christ becomes that place of identification with the Absalom in me.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, the utter brokenness of Your heart over my sinful condition is overwhelming to me. It’s as though I have to gasp for air in order to breathe as I think of it. Your love for me as a wayward son is deeper and higher and broader than I could ever understand. Thank You for tenderizing my heart, dear Lord. Thank You for setting before me a model of how You want me to live.

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