Wednesday, June 09, 2021

2021.06.09 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Samuel 14:23–33

Read 2 Samuel 14:23–33

Questions from the Scripture text: Where did Joab go (2 Samuel 14:23)? To do what? To where did he bring him? What did the king say he could do (2 Samuel 14:24)? What did he say Absalom couldn’t do? What does 2 Samuel 14:25 emphasize about Absalom? What did he do once a year (2 Samuel 14:26)? What children did he have, and which one’s name does 2 Samuel 14:27 give us? How long did Absalom dwell in Jerusalem (2 Samuel 14:28)? How long has it now been since he has seen the king’s face (verse 28, cf. 2 Samuel 13:38)? Whom did Absalom try to get to present him at court (2 Samuel 14:29)? How many times? How does he incentivize Joab to pay attention (2 Samuel 14:30)? What effect does this new strategy have (2 Samuel 14:31)? What complaint does Absalom make in 2 Samuel 14:32? What challenge does he make to Joab, and by transitive implication to the king? What does Joab do (2 Samuel 14:33)? What does the king do? What does Absalom do, when he arrives? How does the king respond?

Absalom’s already in control. The punishment that God promised in 2 Samuel 12:10–12 is near its climax. 

Oh, he’s complaining in 2 Samuel 14:32 (cf. 2 Samuel 14:24) that he’s as much an exile in Jerusalem has he had been in Geshur. But he’s got the kingly looks that the people can’t stop talking about (2 Samuel 14:25), the annual hair-cutting ceremony (complete with weigh-in, 2 Samuel 14:26), and the royal family (including the gorgeous daughter named after her gorgeous aunt, 2 Samuel 14:27, cf. 2 Samuel 13:1).

Joab may be running David (cf. 2 Samuel 14:1-22), but Absalom knows how to run even Joab (it just takes a little fire in his standing barley to properly incentivize him, 2 Samuel 14:29-31). And he knows that the king hasn’t shown the stomach to execute him, so he doubles down on this by way of ultimatum (end of 2 Samuel 14:32) and just the right amount of bowing (2 Samuel 14:33b) to reclaim his standing in the kingdom (verse 33c).

It’ll get worse in chapter 15, but he’s already in control, and he’s got all the kingly qualities except the ones that matter the most. He’s got both the charisma and the ruthlessness to win anything from reality shows to presidential elections, but he entirely lacks the character to be chosen to be an elder among God’s people (cf. 1 Timothy 3, Titus 1)—let alone to be anointed their king.

Thankfully, the beauty and power of King Jesus in His resurrected and enthroned glory is matched by an absolute perfect wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth. We now have the King that David had aspired to be but couldn’t, and Absalom’s superior in form and opposite in substance. And He has purchased kingdom citizenship for so many of us Davids and Absaloms at the cost of His own blood. Hallelujah!

Which do you work on more: appearances or character? Getting your way or character? And for that matter, how can character—real, soul character—be worked on in the first place?

Suggested songs: ARP72A “God, Give Your Judgments to the King” or TPH281 “Rejoice, the Lord is King”


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