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Fractured Families-Broken Lives
2 Samuel 13-18
Skip Heitzig

2 Samuel 13 (NKJV™)
1 After this Absalom the son of David had a lovely sister, whose name was Tamar; and Amnon the son of David loved her.
2 Amnon was so distressed over his sister Tamar that he became sick; for she was a virgin. And it was improper for Amnon to do anything to her.
3 But Amnon had a friend whose name was Jonadab the son of Shimeah, David's brother. Now Jonadab was a very crafty man.
4 And he said to him, "Why are you, the king's son, becoming thinner day after day? Will you not tell me?" Amnon said to him, "I love Tamar, my brother Absalom's sister."
5 So Jonadab said to him, "Lie down on your bed and pretend to be ill. And when your father comes to see you, say to him, 'Please let my sister Tamar come and give me food, and prepare the food in my sight, that I may see it and eat it from her hand.'"
6 Then Amnon lay down and pretended to be ill; and when the king came to see him, Amnon said to the king, "Please let Tamar my sister come and make a couple of cakes for me in my sight, that I may eat from her hand."
7 And David sent home to Tamar, saying, "Now go to your brother Amnon's house, and prepare food for him."
8 So Tamar went to her brother Amnon's house; and he was lying down. Then she took flour and kneaded it, made cakes in his sight, and baked the cakes.
9 And she took the pan and placed them out before him, but he refused to eat. Then Amnon said, "Have everyone go out from me." And they all went out from him.
10 Then Amnon said to Tamar, "Bring the food into the bedroom, that I may eat from your hand." And Tamar took the cakes which she had made, and brought them to Amnon her brother in the bedroom.
11 Now when she had brought them to him to eat, he took hold of her and said to her, "Come, lie with me, my sister."
12 And she answered him, "No, my brother, do not force me, for no such thing should be done in Israel. Do not do this disgraceful thing!
13 "And I, where could I take my shame? And as for you, you would be like one of the fools in Israel. Now therefore, please speak to the king; for he will not withhold me from you."
14 However, he would not heed her voice; and being stronger than she, he forced her and lay with her.
15 Then Amnon hated her exceedingly, so that the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her. And Amnon said to her, "Arise, be gone!"
16 So she said to him, "No, indeed! This evil of sending me away is worse than the other that you did to me." But he would not listen to her.
17 Then he called his servant who attended him, and said, "Here! Put this woman out, away from me, and bolt the door behind her."
18 Now she had on a robe of many colors, for the king's virgin daughters wore such apparel. And his servant put her out and bolted the door behind her.
19 Then Tamar put ashes on her head, and tore her robe of many colors that was on her, and laid her hand on her head and went away crying bitterly.
20 And Absalom her brother said to her, "Has Amnon your brother been with you? But now hold your peace, my sister. He is your brother; do not take this thing to heart." So Tamar remained desolate in her brother Absalom's house.
21 But when King David heard of all these things, he was very angry.
22 And Absalom spoke to his brother Amnon neither good nor bad. For Absalom hated Amnon, because he had forced his sister Tamar.
23 And it came to pass, after two full years, that Absalom had sheepshearers in Baal Hazor, which is near Ephraim; so Absalom invited all the king's sons.
24 Then Absalom came to the king and said, "Kindly note, your servant has sheepshearers; please, let the king and his servants go with your servant."
25 But the king said to Absalom, "No, my son, let us not all go now, lest we be a burden to you." Then he urged him, but he would not go; and he blessed him.
26 Then Absalom said, "If not, please let my brother Amnon go with us." And the king said to him, "Why should he go with you?"
27 But Absalom urged him; so he let Amnon and all the king's sons go with him.
28 Now Absalom had commanded his servants, saying, "Watch now, when Amnon's heart is merry with wine, and when I say to you, 'Strike Amnon!' then kill him. Do not be afraid. Have I not commanded you? Be courageous and valiant."
29 So the servants of Absalom did to Amnon as Absalom had commanded. Then all the king's sons arose, and each one got on his mule and fled.
30 And it came to pass, while they were on the way, that news came to David, saying, "Absalom has killed all the king's sons, and not one of them is left!"
31 So the king arose and tore his garments and lay on the ground, and all his servants stood by with their clothes torn.
32 Then Jonadab the son of Shimeah, David's brother, answered and said, "Let not my lord suppose they have killed all the young men, the king's sons, for only Amnon is dead. For by the command of Absalom this has been determined from the day that he forced his sister Tamar.
33 "Now therefore, let not my lord the king take the thing to his heart, to think that all the king's sons are dead. For only Amnon is dead."
34 Then Absalom fled. And the young man who was keeping watch lifted his eyes and looked, and there, many people were coming from the road on the hillside behind him.
35 And Jonadab said to the king, "Look, the king's sons are coming; as your servant said, so it is."
36 So it was, as soon as he had finished speaking, that the king's sons indeed came, and they lifted up their voice and wept. Also the king and all his servants wept very bitterly.
37 But Absalom fled and went to Talmai the son of Ammihud, king of Geshur. And David mourned for his son every day.
38 So Absalom fled and went to Geshur, and was there three years.
39 And King David longed to go to Absalom. For he had been comforted concerning Amnon, because he was dead.
2 Samuel 14 (NKJV™)
1 So Joab the son of Zeruiah perceived that the king's heart was concerned about Absalom.
2 And Joab sent to Tekoa and brought from there a wise woman, and said to her, "Please pretend to be a mourner, and put on mourning apparel; do not anoint yourself with oil, but act like a woman who has been mourning a long time for the dead.
3 "Go to the king and speak to him in this manner." So Joab put the words in her mouth.
4 And when the woman of Tekoa spoke to the king, she fell on her face to the ground and prostrated herself, and said, "Help, O king!"
5 Then the king said to her, "What troubles you?" And she answered, "Indeed I am a widow, my husband is dead.
6 "Now your maidservant had two sons; and the two fought with each other in the field, and there was no one to part them, but the one struck the other and killed him.
7 "And now the whole family has risen up against your maidservant, and they said, 'Deliver him who struck his brother, that we may execute him for the life of his brother whom he killed; and we will destroy the heir also.' So they would extinguish my ember that is left, and leave to my husband neither name nor remnant on the earth."
8 Then the king said to the woman, "Go to your house, and I will give orders concerning you."
9 And the woman of Tekoa said to the king, "My lord, O king, let the iniquity be on me and on my father's house, and the king and his throne be guiltless."
10 So the king said, "Whoever says anything to you, bring him to me, and he shall not touch you anymore."
11 Then she said, "Please let the king remember the LORD your God, and do not permit the avenger of blood to destroy anymore, lest they destroy my son." And he said, "As the LORD lives, not one hair of your son shall fall to the ground."
12 Therefore the woman said, "Please, let your maidservant speak another word to my lord the king." And he said, "Say on."
13 So the woman said: "Why then have you schemed such a thing against the people of God? For the king speaks this thing as one who is guilty, in that the king does not bring his banished one home again.
14 "For we will surely die and become like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. Yet God does not take away a life; but He devises means, so that His banished ones are not expelled from Him.
15 "Now therefore, I have come to speak of this thing to my lord the king because the people have made me afraid. And your maidservant said, 'I will now speak to the king; it may be that the king will perform the request of his maidservant.
16 'For the king will hear and deliver his maidservant from the hand of the man who would destroy me and my son together from the inheritance of God.'
17 "Your maidservant said, 'The word of my lord the king will now be comforting; for as the angel of God, so is my lord the king in discerning good and evil. And may the LORD your God be with you.'"
18 Then the king answered and said to the woman, "Please do not hide from me anything that I ask you." And the woman said, "Please, let my lord the king speak."
19 So the king said, "Is the hand of Joab with you in all this?" And the woman answered and said, "As you live, my lord the king, no one can turn to the right hand or to the left from anything that my lord the king has spoken. For your servant Joab commanded me, and he put all these words in the mouth of your maidservant.
20 "To bring about this change of affairs your servant Joab has done this thing; but my lord is wise, according to the wisdom of the angel of God, to know everything that is in the earth."
21 And the king said to Joab, "All right, I have granted this thing. Go therefore, bring back the young man Absalom."
22 Then Joab fell to the ground on his face and bowed himself, and thanked the king. And Joab said, "Today your servant knows that I have found favor in your sight, my lord, O king, in that the king has fulfilled the request of his servant."
23 So Joab arose and went to Geshur, and brought Absalom to Jerusalem.
24 And the king said, "Let him return to his own house, but do not let him see my face." So Absalom returned to his own house, but did not see the king's face.
25 Now in all Israel there was no one who was praised as much as Absalom for his good looks. From the sole of his foot to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him.
26 And when he cut the hair of his head--at the end of every year he cut it because it was heavy on him--when he cut it, he weighed the hair of his head at two hundred shekels according to the king's standard.
27 To Absalom were born three sons, and one daughter whose name was Tamar. She was a woman of beautiful appearance.
28 And Absalom dwelt two full years in Jerusalem, but did not see the king's face.
29 Therefore Absalom sent for Joab, to send him to the king, but he would not come to him. And when he sent again the second time, he would not come.
30 So he said to his servants, "See, Joab's field is near mine, and he has barley there; go and set it on fire." And Absalom's servants set the field on fire.
31 Then Joab arose and came to Absalom's house, and said to him, "Why have your servants set my field on fire?"
32 And Absalom answered Joab, "Look, I sent to you, saying, 'Come here, so that I may send you to the king, to say, "Why have I come from Geshur? It would be better for me to be there still."' Now therefore, let me see the king's face; but if there is iniquity in me, let him execute me."
33 So Joab went to the king and told him. And when he had called for Absalom, he came to the king and bowed himself on his face to the ground before the king. Then the king kissed Absalom.
2 Samuel 15 (NKJV™)
1 After this it happened that Absalom provided himself with chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him.
2 Now Absalom would rise early and stand beside the way to the gate. So it was, whenever anyone who had a lawsuit came to the king for a decision, that Absalom would call to him and say, "What city are you from?" And he would say, "Your servant is from such and such a tribe of Israel."
3 Then Absalom would say to him, "Look, your case is good and right; but there is no deputy of the king to hear you."
4 Moreover Absalom would say, "Oh, that I were made judge in the land, and everyone who has any suit or cause would come to me; then I would give him justice."
5 And so it was, whenever anyone came near to bow down to him, that he would put out his hand and take him and kiss him.
6 In this manner Absalom acted toward all Israel who came to the king for judgment. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.
7 Now it came to pass after forty years that Absalom said to the king, "Please, let me go to Hebron and pay the vow which I made to the LORD.
8 "For your servant took a vow while I dwelt at Geshur in Syria, saying, 'If the LORD indeed brings me back to Jerusalem, then I will serve the LORD.'"
9 And the king said to him, "Go in peace." So he arose and went to Hebron.
10 Then Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, "As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then you shall say, 'Absalom reigns in Hebron!'"
11 And with Absalom went two hundred men invited from Jerusalem, and they went along innocently and did not know anything.
12 Then Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David's counselor, from his city--from Giloh--while he offered sacrifices. And the conspiracy grew strong, for the people with Absalom continually increased in number.
13 Now a messenger came to David, saying, "The hearts of the men of Israel are with Absalom."
14 So David said to all his servants who were with him at Jerusalem, "Arise, and let us flee; or we shall not escape from Absalom. Make haste to depart, lest he overtake us suddenly and bring disaster upon us, and strike the city with the edge of the sword."
15 And the king's servants said to the king, "We are your servants, ready to do whatever my lord the king commands."
16 Then the king went out with all his household after him. But the king left ten women, concubines, to keep the house.
17 And the king went out with all the people after him, and stopped at the outskirts.
18 Then all his servants passed before him; and all the Cherethites, all the Pelethites, and all the Gittites, six hundred men who had followed him from Gath, passed before the king.
19 Then the king said to Ittai the Gittite, "Why are you also going with us? Return and remain with the king. For you are a foreigner and also an exile from your own place.
20 "In fact, you came only yesterday. Should I make you wander up and down with us today, since I go I know not where? Return, and take your brethren back. Mercy and truth be with you."
21 And Ittai answered the king and said, "As the LORD lives, and as my lord the king lives, surely in whatever place my lord the king shall be, whether in death or life, even there also your servant will be."
22 So David said to Ittai, "Go, and cross over." Then Ittai the Gittite and all his men and all the little ones who were with him crossed over.
23 And all the country wept with a loud voice, and all the people crossed over. The king himself also crossed over the Brook Kidron, and all the people crossed over toward the way of the wilderness.
24 There was Zadok also, and all the Levites with him, bearing the ark of the covenant of God. And they set down the ark of God, and Abiathar went up until all the people had finished crossing over from the city.
25 Then the king said to Zadok, "Carry the ark of God back into the city. If I find favor in the eyes of the LORD, He will bring me back and show me both it and His dwelling place.
26 "But if He says thus: 'I have no delight in you,' here I am, let Him do to me as seems good to Him."
27 The king also said to Zadok the priest, "Are you not a seer? Return to the city in peace, and your two sons with you, Ahimaaz your son, and Jonathan the son of Abiathar.
28 "See, I will wait in the plains of the wilderness until word comes from you to inform me."
29 Therefore Zadok and Abiathar carried the ark of God back to Jerusalem. And they remained there.
30 So David went up by the Ascent of the Mount of Olives, and wept as he went up; and he had his head covered and went barefoot. And all the people who were with him covered their heads and went up, weeping as they went up.
31 Then someone told David, saying, "Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom." And David said, "O LORD, I pray, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness!"
32 Now it happened when David had come to the top of the mountain, where he worshiped God--there was Hushai the Archite coming to meet him with his robe torn and dust on his head.
33 David said to him, "If you go on with me, then you will become a burden to me.
34 "But if you return to the city, and say to Absalom, 'I will be your servant, O king; as I was your father's servant previously, so I will now also be your servant,' then you may defeat the counsel of Ahithophel for me.
35 "And do you not have Zadok and Abiathar the priests with you there? Therefore it will be that whatever you hear from the king's house, you shall tell to Zadok and Abiathar the priests.
36 "Indeed they have there with them their two sons, Ahimaaz, Zadok's son, and Jonathan, Abiathar's son; and by them you shall send me everything you hear."
37 So Hushai, David's friend, went into the city. And Absalom came into Jerusalem.
2 Samuel 16 (NKJV™)
1 When David was a little past the top of the mountain, there was Ziba the servant of Mephibosheth, who met him with a couple of saddled donkeys, and on them two hundred loaves of bread, one hundred clusters of raisins, one hundred summer fruits, and a skin of wine.
2 And the king said to Ziba, "What do you mean to do with these?" So Ziba said, "The donkeys are for the king's household to ride on, the bread and summer fruit for the young men to eat, and the wine for those who are faint in the wilderness to drink."
3 Then the king said, "And where is your master's son?" And Ziba said to the king, "Indeed he is staying in Jerusalem, for he said, 'Today the house of Israel will restore the kingdom of my father to me.'"
4 So the king said to Ziba, "Here, all that belongs to Mephibosheth is yours." And Ziba said, "I humbly bow before you, that I may find favor in your sight, my lord, O king!"
5 Now when King David came to Bahurim, there was a man from the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei the son of Gera, coming from there. He came out, cursing continuously as he came.
6 And he threw stones at David and at all the servants of King David. And all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left.
7 Also Shimei said thus when he cursed: "Come out! Come out! You bloodthirsty man, you rogue!
8 "The LORD has brought upon you all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned; and the LORD has delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom your son. So now you are caught in your own evil, because you are a bloodthirsty man!"
9 Then Abishai the son of Zeruiah said to the king, "Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Please, let me go over and take off his head!"
10 But the king said, "What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? So let him curse, because the LORD has said to him, 'Curse David.' Who then shall say, 'Why have you done so?'"
11 And David said to Abishai and all his servants, "See how my son who came from my own body seeks my life. How much more now may this Benjamite? Let him alone, and let him curse; for so the LORD has ordered him.
12 "It may be that the LORD will look on my affliction, and that the LORD will repay me with good for his cursing this day."
13 And as David and his men went along the road, Shimei went along the hillside opposite him and cursed as he went, threw stones at him and kicked up dust.
14 Now the king and all the people who were with him became weary; so they refreshed themselves there.
15 Meanwhile Absalom and all the people, the men of Israel, came to Jerusalem; and Ahithophel was with him.
16 And so it was, when Hushai the Archite, David's friend, came to Absalom, that Hushai said to Absalom, "Long live the king! Long live the king!"
17 So Absalom said to Hushai, "Is this your loyalty to your friend? Why did you not go with your friend?"
18 And Hushai said to Absalom, "No, but whom the LORD and this people and all the men of Israel choose, his I will be, and with him I will remain.
19 "Furthermore, whom should I serve? Should I not serve in the presence of his son? As I have served in your father's presence, so will I be in your presence."
20 Then Absalom said to Ahithophel, "Give counsel as to what we should do."
21 And Ahithophel said to Absalom, "Go in to your father's concubines, whom he has left to keep the house; and all Israel will hear that you are abhorred by your father. Then the hands of all who are with you will be strong."
22 So they pitched a tent for Absalom on the top of the house, and Absalom went in to his father's concubines in the sight of all Israel.
23 Now the advice of Ahithophel, which he gave in those days, was as if one had inquired at the oracle of God. So was all the advice of Ahithophel both with David and with Absalom.
2 Samuel 17 (NKJV™)
1 Moreover Ahithophel said to Absalom, "Now let me choose twelve thousand men, and I will arise and pursue David tonight.
2 "I will come upon him while he is weary and weak, and make him afraid. And all the people who are with him will flee, and I will strike only the king.
3 "Then I will bring back all the people to you. When all return except the man whom you seek, all the people will be at peace."
4 And the saying pleased Absalom and all the elders of Israel.
5 Then Absalom said, "Now call Hushai the Archite also, and let us hear what he says too."
6 And when Hushai came to Absalom, Absalom spoke to him, saying, "Ahithophel has spoken in this manner. Shall we do as he says? If not, speak up."
7 So Hushai said to Absalom: "The advice that Ahithophel has given is not good at this time.
8 "For," said Hushai, "you know your father and his men, that they are mighty men, and they are enraged in their minds, like a bear robbed of her cubs in the field; and your father is a man of war, and will not camp with the people.
9 "Surely by now he is hidden in some pit, or in some other place. And it will be, when some of them are overthrown at the first, that whoever hears it will say, 'There is a slaughter among the people who follow Absalom.'
10 "And even he who is valiant, whose heart is like the heart of a lion, will melt completely. For all Israel knows that your father is a mighty man, and those who are with him are valiant men.
11 "Therefore I advise that all Israel be fully gathered to you, from Dan to Beersheba, like the sand that is by the sea for multitude, and that you go to battle in person.
12 "So we will come upon him in some place where he may be found, and we will fall on him as the dew falls on the ground. And of him and all the men who are with him there shall not be left so much as one.
13 "Moreover, if he has withdrawn into a city, then all Israel shall bring ropes to that city; and we will pull it into the river, until there is not one small stone found there."
14 So Absalom and all the men of Israel said, "The advice of Hushai the Archite is better than the advice of Ahithophel." For the LORD had purposed to defeat the good advice of Ahithophel, to the intent that the LORD might bring disaster on Absalom.
15 Then Hushai said to Zadok and Abiathar the priests, "Thus and so Ahithophel advised Absalom and the elders of Israel, and thus and so I have advised.
16 "Now therefore, send quickly and tell David, saying, 'Do not spend this night in the plains of the wilderness, but speedily cross over, lest the king and all the people who are with him be swallowed up.'"
17 Now Jonathan and Ahimaaz stayed at En Rogel, for they dared not be seen coming into the city; so a female servant would come and tell them, and they would go and tell King David.
18 Nevertheless a lad saw them, and told Absalom. But both of them went away quickly and came to a man's house in Bahurim, who had a well in his court; and they went down into it.
19 Then the woman took and spread a covering over the well's mouth, and spread ground grain on it; and the thing was not known.
20 And when Absalom's servants came to the woman at the house, they said, "Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan?" So the woman said to them, "They have gone over the water brook." And when they had searched and could not find them, they returned to Jerusalem.
21 Now it came to pass, after they had departed, that they came up out of the well and went and told King David, and said to David, "Arise and cross over the water quickly. For thus has Ahithophel advised against you."
22 So David and all the people who were with him arose and crossed over the Jordan. By morning light not one of them was left who had not gone over the Jordan.
23 Now when Ahithophel saw that his advice was not followed, he saddled a donkey, and arose and went home to his house, to his city. Then he put his household in order, and hanged himself, and died; and he was buried in his father's tomb.
24 Then David went to Mahanaim. And Absalom crossed over the Jordan, he and all the men of Israel with him.
25 And Absalom made Amasa captain of the army instead of Joab. This Amasa was the son of a man whose name was Jithra, an Israelite, who had gone in to Abigail the daughter of Nahash, sister of Zeruiah, Joab's mother.
26 So Israel and Absalom encamped in the land of Gilead.
27 Now it happened, when David had come to Mahanaim, that Shobi the son of Nahash from Rabbah of the people of Ammon, Machir the son of Ammiel from Lo Debar, and Barzillai the Gileadite from Rogelim,
28 brought beds and basins, earthen vessels and wheat, barley and flour, parched grain and beans, lentils and parched seeds,
29 honey and curds, sheep and cheese of the herd, for David and the people who were with him to eat. For they said, "The people are hungry and weary and thirsty in the wilderness."
2 Samuel 18 (NKJV™)
1 And David numbered the people who were with him, and set captains of thousands and captains of hundreds over them.
2 Then David sent out one third of the people under the hand of Joab, one third under the hand of Abishai the son of Zeruiah, Joab's brother, and one third under the hand of Ittai the Gittite. And the king said to the people, "I also will surely go out with you myself."
3 But the people answered, "You shall not go out! For if we flee away, they will not care about us; nor if half of us die, will they care about us. But you are worth ten thousand of us now. For you are now more help to us in the city."
4 Then the king said to them, "Whatever seems best to you I will do." So the king stood beside the gate, and all the people went out by hundreds and by thousands.
5 Now the king had commanded Joab, Abishai, and Ittai, saying, "Deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom." And all the people heard when the king gave all the captains orders concerning Absalom.
6 So the people went out into the field of battle against Israel. And the battle was in the woods of Ephraim.
7 The people of Israel were overthrown there before the servants of David, and a great slaughter of twenty thousand took place there that day.
8 For the battle there was scattered over the face of the whole countryside, and the woods devoured more people that day than the sword devoured.
9 Then Absalom met the servants of David. Absalom rode on a mule. The mule went under the thick boughs of a great terebinth tree, and his head caught in the terebinth; so he was left hanging between heaven and earth. And the mule which was under him went on.
10 Now a certain man saw it and told Joab, and said, "I just saw Absalom hanging in a terebinth tree!"
11 So Joab said to the man who told him, "You just saw him! And why did you not strike him there to the ground? I would have given you ten shekels of silver and a belt."
12 But the man said to Joab, "Though I were to receive a thousand shekels of silver in my hand, I would not raise my hand against the king's son. For in our hearing the king commanded you and Abishai and Ittai, saying, 'Beware lest anyone touch the young man Absalom!'
13 "Otherwise I would have dealt falsely against my own life. For there is nothing hidden from the king, and you yourself would have set yourself against me."
14 Then Joab said, "I cannot linger with you." And he took three spears in his hand and thrust them through Absalom's heart, while he was still alive in the midst of the terebinth tree.
15 And ten young men who bore Joab's armor surrounded Absalom, and struck and killed him.
16 So Joab blew the trumpet, and the people returned from pursuing Israel. For Joab held back the people.
17 And they took Absalom and cast him into a large pit in the woods, and laid a very large heap of stones over him. Then all Israel fled, everyone to his tent.
18 Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and set up a pillar for himself, which is in the King's Valley. For he said, "I have no son to keep my name in remembrance." He called the pillar after his own name. And to this day it is called Absalom's Monument.
19 Then Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said, "Let me run now and take the news to the king, how the LORD has avenged him of his enemies."
20 And Joab said to him, "You shall not take the news this day, for you shall take the news another day. But today you shall take no news, because the king's son is dead."
21 Then Joab said to the Cushite, "Go, tell the king what you have seen." So the Cushite bowed himself to Joab and ran.
22 And Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said again to Joab, "But whatever happens, please let me also run after the Cushite." So Joab said, "Why will you run, my son, since you have no news ready?"
23 "But whatever happens," he said, "let me run." So he said to him, "Run." Then Ahimaaz ran by way of the plain, and outran the Cushite.
24 Now David was sitting between the two gates. And the watchman went up to the roof over the gate, to the wall, lifted his eyes and looked, and there was a man, running alone.
25 Then the watchman cried out and told the king. And the king said, "If he is alone, there is news in his mouth." And he came rapidly and drew near.
26 Then the watchman saw another man running, and the watchman called to the gatekeeper and said, "There is another man, running alone!" And the king said, "He also brings news."
27 So the watchman said, "I think the running of the first is like the running of Ahimaaz the son of Zadok." And the king said, "He is a good man, and comes with good news."
28 And Ahimaaz called out and said to the king, "All is well!" Then he bowed down with his face to the earth before the king, and said, "Blessed be the LORD your God, who has delivered up the men who raised their hand against my lord the king!"
29 The king said, "Is the young man Absalom safe?" Ahimaaz answered, "When Joab sent the king's servant and me your servant, I saw a great tumult, but I did not know what it was about."
30 And the king said, "Turn aside and stand here." So he turned aside and stood still.
31 Just then the Cushite came, and the Cushite said, "There is good news, my lord the king! For the LORD has avenged you this day of all those who rose against you."
32 And the king said to the Cushite, "Is the young man Absalom safe?" So the Cushite answered, "May the enemies of my lord the king, and all who rise against you to do harm, be like that young man!"
33 Then the king was deeply moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept. And as he went, he said thus: "O my son Absalom--my son, my son Absalom--if only I had died in your place! O Absalom my son, my son!"

New King James Version®, Copyright © 1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Homeland Security

The Department of Homeland Security was established after the attacks of September 11, 2001. It was, in part, a response to terrorism. But what about our response to the terrorism taking place to our own homes? Our society is hardly family-friendly. There are powerful forces operating to undermine the moral underpinnings of the family unit. Let's discover what happened to Israel's First Family. Lets review the story of David and Absalom that sadly repeats itself today.

We live in a country that is on constant guard to preserve the democracy and freedom of its current state. But do we pay as much attention to the security of our souls as we do the security of our nation?

Pastor Skip Heitzig breaks apart the basic components of today's society and looks at the threats that believers face at every level: personally, family, communally, nationally, and globally. This series focuses on what God's word says about each of these levels of society and how we can best follow God's original plan for our lives, our family, and the rest of the world.

FREE - Download Entire Series (MP3) (Help) | Buy series

Outline

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I. A Ruptured Home (2 Samuel 13)

A. Chaotic Relationships (Vss1-2, 11-14)

B. Passive Parenting (Vs 7, 21)


II. A Rebel Son

A. Violence (13: 28-29)

B. Subversion (15: 1-6)


III. A Remorseful Dad

A. Proximity without Intimacy (14:21-24, 28-29)

B. Dissension without Resolution (18:33)

Transcript

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20080127

[MUSIC PLAYING]

Today we continue this series Homeland Security, Peace in Times of Terror, by turning our attention to the most basic and important issue, the dangers our families face at home. An alarming trend is causing severe social problems in America and around the world. When fathers fail to raise their children and walk away from their responsibilities as dads, they set off a chain reaction of consequences.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

The contribution and influence of a man on the raising of children is crucial on establishing secure families. Our Homeland Security Series continues now, as we study 2 Samuel 13 through 18 and consider the message "Fractured Families-- Broken Lives."

I hope you brought a Bible today. As you can see, we're in six chapters. That doesn't mean we're going to read all of them, but there's things I don't want you just to hear, but I want you to see. And so if you don't have a Bible, you might want to steal the person's next to you. No, there's one right in front of you in a chair there's going to be a Bible. But take it and let's follow along and let's have a word of prayer together.

Our Lord, we continue our worship by our attitude, our openness, our willingness to listen to the word of God as we read it, and as we consider it together. And we pray that the Holy Spirit present with us now would be the ultimate teacher that we might learn and be conformed to Your will. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Well, I'm going to begin by posing a riddle to you. There was a perfect man who met a perfect woman. After a perfect courtship they had a perfect wedding. Their life together was of course, perfect.

One snowy, stormy Christmas Eve this perfect couple was driving along a winding road when they noticed someone at the roadside in distress. Being the perfect couple, they stopped to help. There stood Santa Claus with a huge bundle of toys.

Not wanting to disappoint any children on the Eve of Christmas, the perfect couple loaded Santa and his toys into their vehicle. Soon they were driving along delivering the toys.

Unfortunately, the driving conditions deteriorated and the perfect couple and Santa Claus had an accident. Only one of them survived the accident. Who was the survivor?

The answer, the perfect woman. She's the only one that really existed in the first place. Everyone knows there is no Santa Claus and there's no such thing as a perfect man.

Now I notice the women clapping. It ain't over. The males' response to that is, so if there is no perfect man and there is no Santa Claus, the perfect woman must have been driving. This explains why there was a car accident.

There's no such thing as a perfect man. There is no such thing as a perfect woman. Well, there was one. I married that one. There's none left.

There's no such thing as a perfect family. Every single family has some level of malfunction. We're going to step into the home of a premier family in the Old Testament, King David, the man after God's own heart. And even his family, the relationship that he has with his son Absalom is very strained, as we'll see this morning.

This is the family of a driven man. A man who has great power as king, but he's a passive parent. When you get power and passivity together in one individual it's dangerous. We'll see that. This is a fractured family.

Now you know that the family is the basic core unit of any society. And you should know that as the family goes, so goes the society. If you have vibrant, healthy thriving families, you have a vibrant, healthy thriving community. If you have fractured families, I don't care what the economic status is, I don't care what the programs are, you have a fractured society, a fractured culture.

And there are powerful forces that are working against our family. I don't need to tell you that the media, the fashion industry, the lyrics to certain music aren't too pro-family. These are things that fight against what the biblical model of a family is. But there's another force at work that's attacking the family. You're not going to be ready for what you hear. Parents. Parents can be one of the forces that actually fight against the integrity of a family.

First of all, all of those list of things, the culture, the media, fashion industry, lyrics, all of those things are barraging us with their messages. So that you have young couples that get married, and they don't even know if they want to have kids. And when they do have kids, Rick Weiss, a researcher, noted that young couples that have children, their happiness goes down. Their frustration level goes up.

Why is that? Because of those messages that we hear. Boy, you have a baby, it's going to change the shape of your body. You have a baby, that's going to demand a lot of time. Your interests will have to take a backseat. No wonder the frustration level goes up and the happiness goes down. Culture sees that as an inconvenience.

Well, one of the greatest challenges in our culture, and it's going to be even way more in the future, is the issue of abandoned children, abandoned children. And with the abandonment, anger, huge anger issues. Listen to these numbers.

Worldwide, there are 70 million street or abandoned children. 7 0 million, 70 million street abandoned children worldwide. Two million of them are involved in the sex trade worldwide, Asia, South America principally. In our country, the good old US of A, 1.5 million children, teenagers, and young adults are on US streets, 1 and 1/2 million. It's been estimated that if all of the homeless youth were in one city in America, it would be the seventh largest city in the United States.

Now we can't change all of that. But the question really for us, is how do we secure the future generation? How do we provide security for them? One answer, two words, parental involvement, parental involvement.

Let's look at our text this morning in chapter 13 of 2 Samuel. Let's look into his ruptured home. And as we step into the story, we discover a family that is chaotic relationally. There is relational chaos in this family.

There is David. And I can't say Mrs. David, because there were eight of them. David, the King of Israel, has eight wives and many concubines. He may even have a few porcupines. But he's got a lot of concubines, those are other women. Eight wives, a bunch of other women that he has relationships with. And he produces, I counted them up, 19 children, 19 children from different moms. There's two kids born to him that are the result of an affair that he has with another woman while he's married to the rest of them.

So we have a chaos brewing here. You might be tempted to say, well I know history, and I know that it was commonplace in that day and that age for kings to have many wives. So what? God said in the very first book, for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, singular. And the two will become one flesh.

Moreover, God made a commandment in Deuteronomy 17 verse 17. The king shall not multiply wives to himself. And David broke all those rules. Now it's a chaotic family relationally. Let's look at verse one and get a glimpse of even more chaos.

After this, Absalom, the son of David, had a lovely sister whose name was Tamar. And Amnon, the son of David, loved her. So you got a brother and a sister. And then you got a step brother, a half brother. Same father, another mom. Amnon was so distressed, verse two, over his sister Tamar, that he became sick. For she was a virgin and it was improper for Amnon to do anything to her.

The reason that's there is because he's going to devise a plot to get her into his bedroom, which he does verse, 14. She tries to dissuade him. However, he would not heed her voice. And being stronger than she, he forced her, and he lay with her.

Boy, this is dysfunction junction, this family. I mean, David was lose, his dad. But this kid takes it to a whole new level of lowness, rapes his half sister, forces himself on her.

I can't prove this, but from what I've read and what we're about to read, I've studied these chapters over and over again. It seems that David never sat down with his kids to talk about sex. I don't think he ever briefed them on what's right and what's wrong.

I don't think there was ever a time where he openly confessed yeah, I had an affair and this is what happened. And here's the lesson that I've learned from this, kids. And here's the lessons you ought to learn from this. From what I know about David, that never happened.

Surveys show today, get this, today less than 5% of Christian couples ever give honest, thorough explanation to their children about sexuality. No guidance at home. Less than 5% of Christian parents provide that.

Well, kids are pretty smart. They're intuitive. They have very sensitive antenna. And they pick up on lots of stuff. They know a lot more than we give them credit for at a very young age. But they will emulate what they see, what they hear, or what they don't see.

Now let's see what David does with this. OK, he's the dad. He hears about this. Now if you mix relational chaos with a passive parent, you have a volatile situation. Verse 21, when King David heard of all these things he was very angry. Period. That's all the information we have. He got mad, which is his MO.

If you remember a few chapters back, here's David's reaction to problems. Prophet comes and says hey, let me tell you about two guys. One was rich, one was poor.

The rich guy had lots of sheep. The poor guy only had one. And the rich guy was hungry, he had a friend over, so he killed the poor man's single lamb and ate it for dinner.

You know what David did? He got very angry. He flew off the handle. He had a temper. Kill that man. Really, kill a guy for an animal? Whew, I mean, talk about animal rights. Kill him. David gets angry over the lamb. Now his daughter is raped. He gets mad.

Doesn't say he calls Amnon in. Doesn't say he confronts Amnon. There's no parental intervention. There's no mature resolution. There's no Godly restitution. We just have a guy who's really mad at that, and that's all.

During this time, Absalom, the son, Absalom, the brother of Tamar, is watching this. He's watching dad's response. He's saying, where's the justice? And he sees nothing happening. And all the while, resentment grows, anger grows within him day by day.

And we have here, though you don't see it yet, but you will, we have the making of a juvenile delinquent in Absalom. As he takes and internalizes it and gets angry, he's turning into a juvenile delinquent. You'll see it.

We saw some of the statistics up on the screen as we began the service today about the rise in juvenile crime, et cetera. Dr. Loren Moshen from the National Institute of Mental Health, as he analyzed census figures he found the absence of a father to be a stronger factor than poverty in contributing to juvenile delinquency.

I'll tell you why that's important. Because when people talk about this during election time, all these problems, they say, well the problem is poverty or the problem is race. Wrong. This guy is saying I've studied it. And absent parenting is a bigger cause than those other factors.

Listen, the cure for crime isn't in the electric chair, it's in the high chair. It begins when they're very young, and nobody can shirk that responsibility. I don't care how committed they are. Even Socrates said to the men of Athens, he marveled that they could turn over every stone, he said, to find wealth for themselves, but pay so little care to their children to whom one day they would relinquish all.

Well, there is no such thing as a perfect parent. But you can be a good parent, not perfect, but you can be good. And if you want to be a good parent, there's one thing you can never be. And that is a passive parent, an aloof parent, a non-engaged and uninvolved parent.

I tell you who else was watching this whole scene unfold. Not just Absalom, as he's getting angry. A guy named Solomon, he was also one of the kids in this family. Solomon who was watching this. This was his family too.

And Solomon is the kid who later on will grow up and be the king and write the book of Proverbs. And if you know Proverbs, he writes a lot about raising children, right. And one of the most famous things Solomon ever said in Proverbs 22 I think verse 6.

As soon as I say it, I know your lips will start moving because we all know this verse. Train up a child in the way that he should go. And when he is old he won't depart from it. Solomon said that, the kid in this family who is watching this.

What does that mean, train up a child? Well, it can't mean be passive. It must mean be active, be engaged. It does. The word "train" doesn't mean toss out a few words of advice every couple of months, that will suffice. The word "train" is the Hebrew word "chanank," which means to put something into somebody's mouth or to affect their taste.

It is interesting, there's an Arabic word that is closely associated to that. It sounds a lot like it. And it's a word the Arabs still use. It describes a process. They take date honey with their little finger and they put it on the lips of a newborn. It stimulates the taste, the sucking reflex for breastfeeding.

So the word "train" up a child means stimulate that child's hunger and thirst for godliness and godly behavior. Do you play with your child? Do you pray with your child? Are you actively involved enough to stimulate their desire to be godly?

If your little boy says, I want to be just like daddy when I grow up is, that a good thing? If the baby girl says, I want to be just like mommy, is that a good desire? Are you stimulating? That's the idea of training.

Well, we go from a ruptured home to focusing on Absalom for just a moment, a rebel son. Absalom responds. He's watching, and he will respond to dad's indifference. Dad does nothing. This boy wants justice served.

Flick over in chapter 13 at verse 28. Now Absalom had commanded his servants saying, watch now when Amnon's heart is merry with wine. In other words, let's booze this guy up a little bit. And when I say to you, strike Amnon, then kill him. Do not be afraid. Have I not commanded you? Be courageous, be valiant.

Listen to this briefing. He's encouraging his buddies as if you are the dispensers of justice. My dad didn't do this, be courageous, be valiant, this is the right thing to do.

So the servants of Absalom did to Amnon as Absalom had commanded. Then all the king's sons arose. And each one got on his mule and fled. That's Absalom's response to David's passivity in dealing with Amnon.

OK, so where's David? Where is dad in all this? What does he do? Let's see His reaction, verse 36.

So it was as soon as he had finished speaking that the king's sons indeed came. And they lifted up their voice and wept. And also the king and all his servants wept very bitterly. Now that's understandable, I won't say anything negative about that. That's understandable. Here's a grieving father.

Verse 37, but Absalom fled and went to Talmai, the son of Ammihud, the king of Gesher. David mourned for his son every day. So Absalom fled and went to Gesher and was there for three years. Now watch this, and King David longed to go to Absalom. For he had been comforted concerning Amnon because he was dead.

So far, David has gotten mad and David cries, but he never went to see and confront his son Amnon. He never saw Absalom after he murders his brother. And notice what the verse says, David longed to see Absalom.

OK, here's my question. Why didn't he? He wants to, he longs to, he never did, why? I mean, he's the king, right. He can do whatever he wants. You carry the king ID card you can go anywhere you want. Why didn't the king go see his son? I don't know. I don't.

I could ask that question of a lot of families. Why doesn't that guy humble himself? Well, why doesn't she decide to reconcile with her husband? Why doesn't that stubborn young man just get together with them and talk this thing through?

Whatever it is, there are family dynamics and entrenchments that get set up. And we get sort of used to our little way of we're dealing, and we refuse to do whatever it takes. And here's a classic family who did exactly that.

But here's something I do know, is I followed the story through. Now that cycle of violence due to resentment, immorality due to resentment and anger gets perpetuated and gets amplified. Why? A passive dad. An absent dad.

And when I say absent dad, I know there's a lot of reasons for it, and I don't want to paint with a broom. It could be a divorce, it could be abandonment. It could simply be neglect, just neglect. That's a possibility.

Charles Colson of Prison Fellowship said take away the family, and you might as well build prison cells right now. That's the bottom line. Take away the family, because why? There is an incredible insecurity that gets set up in the psyche of a young man or a young girl without the stability in a home, of leadership. And I'd say masculine leadership.

Jim Dobson writes, the Western world stands at a great crossroads in its history. It is my opinion that our very survival as a people will depend on the presence or absence of masculine leadership in the home.

Now you saw the stats as we began our service today, some of them that were put up there. Over the last 30 years, if you went from 1978 up to today, and looked at the 30 year trend, we notice that there is a rise in violent crime among the young that corresponds with a rise in families abandoned by fathers.

There's a lot of stats on that. Teenage aggression and hostility mirrors the growth of single parent families. And they've done the research, and we have the numbers. The states in the United States that have the most of such families is first on the list Mississippi 48%. Second, Louisiana 45%, third in America, New Mexico, 37%.

You see this, this isn't theory. This is our reality. This is happening next door or in our own homes. That is the state of our affairs.

Well, not only does this young man get violent and kill his step brother, runaway. But if you look at chapter 15, the violence turns into subversion, gets worse. His behavior is even more erratic.

In chapter 15, Solomon, back in Jerusalem, takes 50 guys with him. Goes out to the gate of the city, and as people come into the city, well, watch what happens. Verse three, Absalom would say to him, look, your case is good and right, but there is no deputy of the king to hear you. Moreover, Absalom would say, oh, that I were made judge in the land, and everyone who has any suit or cause would come to me and I would give them justice.

He's a perfect politician, this kid. And so it was, whenever anyone came out to bow down to him, that he would put out his hand and take him and kiss him. He knows out to campaign, this guy.

In this manner, Absalom acted toward all Israel who came to the king for judgment. Now watch this, so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel. What's happening here?

You say, well it's a guy starting a coup. What's really happening here? You have a young man trying to get his dad's attention, really trying to get his dad's attention.

Here's what I want you not to miss. The whole stability of the nation rests upon a single relationship of a father and a son. And it's about to split.

Well, let's move now to King David for just a moment, a remorseful dad. We'll close on this, a remorseful dad. What I want you to see, and really this is the heart of the message. There's two principal reasons for the dysfunction in the family of David. If you don't like the word dysfunction because you think it's psychobabble, use another word, malfunction. Better? Disarray, a breakdown, two principle reasons for it.

Number one, proximity without intimacy. Proximity without intimacy. That's where you're close, but you're not close. You're in the same town, you're in the same house, you're close physically, but you are detached emotionally, proximity without intimacy.

Well, here's the deal. We read in chapter 13 that Absalom fled. He was gone three years. Joab, the general who was David's buddy, knew that King David, this was eating him up. It was eating him up. He knew that he wanted to see Absalom, his son, but he wouldn't swallow his pride and go get him. So he figures out a way to bring Absalom back to town. Begs David. David says OK, bring him.

So verse 23 of chapter 14, notice so Joab arose and went to Geshur and brought Absalom to Jerusalem. That sounds good, right? And the king said, let him return to his own house, but do not let him see my face. Ouch. So Absalom returned to his own house, but did not see the king's face.

Verse 28, Absalom dwelt two full years in Jerusalem but did not see the king's face. That's proximity without intimacy. There's no-- there's no way to heal unless you see, talk, read the body language, confess. Don't let him see my face.

So watch what happens. That turns into resentment, watch. Therefore Absalom sent for Joab to send him to the king, but he would not come to him.

And when he sent him again the second time, he would not come. So he said to his servants, see Joab's field is near mine. He has barley there. Go set it on fire. And Absalom's servant set the field on fire.

And Joab arose and came to Absalom's house. And said to him, why have your servants set my field on fire? Absalom answered, Joab look, I sent you saying come here so that I may send you to the king to say, why have I come from Geshur? It would be better for me to be there still. Now therefore let me see the king's face. But if there is iniquity in me, then let him execute me. I'd rather-- I'd rather die than live like this.

Just as David longed to see Absalom, Absalom longs to see David. David says, I don't want to see him. Bring him to town, but I don't want to see him. That's how he dealt with things. Proximity without intimacy, two years of that makes for two years of resentment.

Back in the 1800s, the 19th century, there was a pretty notable, busy politician by the name of Charles Francis Adams. Bigwig, important, powerful. He kept a journal. One day there was this entry written in his journal. It said, went fishing with my son today. A day wasted.

Now his son also kept a journal. And on the very same day he entered in his journal, went fishing with my dad today. The most wonderful day of my life.

That's proximity without intimacy. Here's a boy who couldn't wait to be with his dad. Here's a dad saying, I have to do this. A wasted day. In the same boat, but not in the same boat. Not on the same page.

Dads, it's much easier to build a boy than it is to repair a man. And you're about to read about a broken relationship that never gets repaired. And how do you build a boy? How do you build a girl? You sew into their life your life. You sew time. You share the intimacy that comes with the proximity.

Gallup poll put out a youth survey of 1,000 teenagers. And Out of 1,000 teens, 42% of them had not received words of praise during the 24 hour period tested. Half of them got no hug or no kiss. And 44% never heard the words I love you.

Well, they don't need to hear it. I told them. I tell them enough. Tell them every day. Tell them several times a day. Talk to them on the phone, I love you. You can't hear that enough. We need to be buttressed, built up, fortified in that love.

So there was proximity without intimacy, and that was the first cause of this dysfunction. There was something else. There was dissension without resolution. Dissension without resolution.

There's been this long time rift between David and Solomon that has never been resolved, never been resolved. So Absalom kills and sets fields on fire, in chapter 15 starts a coup, get his dad's attention. Now what happens? Historically we know.

He was successful in his subversion. He managed to split the nation. He inaugurates himself as the king. And chapter 15, 16, 17 and 18 reveal that story. So now you have King Absalom with a whole group of people for him and against the king. And he manages to kick King David out of Jerusalem. David has to flee like a refugee.

So as the chapters go on, now there's two armies. Now get this. There's the army of King David and the army of King Solomon. The armies, and the armies of King David and the armies of King, excuse me, Absalom are fighting each other. See this is a family feud on steroids. Their armies are fighting each other.

OK, look at chapter 18. David's army is about to face Absalom in battle. Here's the briefing before the battle, one verse, verse five. Now the king, chapter 18 verse 5, now the king had commanded Joab, Abishai, and Ittai, the three generals. Saying, deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom.

He won't talk to him, won't resolve conflict. Deal gently with him. And all the people heard when the king gave all the captain's orders concerning Absalom. What's David thinking about? His son.

Well, the battle goes on, Absalom gets killed in the battle. A runner comes back to give the news that David and his army has won the war. Verse 28, so Ahimaaz called out and said to the king, all is well. And he bowed down his face to the earth before the king and he said, blessed be the Lord your God who has delivered up the men who raised their hand against my lord, the king.

Now most kings would rejoice at that news. But watch this. The king said, one question, one concern. Is the young man Absalom safe?

What was this king thinking about during this war? His son. He wasn't thinking about how the battle is going to go. Wasn't thinking about, I hope I get to Jerusalem by the end of the month. Hope I get my throne back. One thing is on his mind, his son.

And some sons or daughters here this morning, you think about your dad or you even your mom, you might say, my dad doesn't care about me. My dad never thinks about me. He's thinking about you right now.

Why didn't he ever call me? Why didn't David ever go to Absalom for three years? He was the king, why didn't he do it? I don't know why. I don't know what weirdness is set up in the family of yours that has caused somebody to get entrenched.

But I'm going to say this. If you're a mom or a dad and there's a rift, leave this place today and do whatever it takes to reach out. Just try to reach out. Do your part to reach out and heal the rift.

Or if you're a son or a daughter and you've been hurt by your parents, don't you sit there after this message and say, well I'm just going to wait for them to call. You call. You tell them you love them.

Me? They blew it. Yeah, but last time I checked, that verse about honoring your father and your mother is still in the book. It's still there. Well, they're the ones that blew it.

OK, think of it this way. You've been forgiven by Jesus Christ. God's given you His unconditional love.

Don't you think that people who have received unconditional love should give unconditional love? In fact, don't you think the only ones equipped to show unconditional love are those who have received unconditional love?

You're a Christian. You have a different standard. You have a different power. You could go and make it right.

Well, we close with verse 33. The king was deeply moved. Went up to the chamber over the gate and he wept. And as he went he said thus, oh, my son, Absalom. My son, my son, Absalom. If only I had died in your place. Oh Absalom, my son, my son.

That's too little too late. What grief. These are the very words he should have said Absalom two years while Absalom was in Jerusalem or three years when he was in Geshur and had the opportunity, because he longed to go see him. Can't now. He's dead, it's over.

I've seen this replayed so many times in emergency rooms of hospitals. And you know what? For me this isn't just a Bible verse or a statistic. I watched this in my own family.

I had a father who was very aloof, very proud. And I had a brother who had a rift with my dad. And it was a longstanding rift, and neither of them would budge. In fact, I even watched them have a fistfight in our own home. That's traumatic to a young teenager to watch that. I watched it.

And I watched the rift grow worse and worse until the night my father called me on the phone and he was-- I'd never heard that in anybody's voice. He announced, your brother has been killed in a motorcycle accident. And-- all of us were grieved. All of us were torn up by it. But it crippled my father. For the rest of his life, emotionally everything was filtered through that failure. Oh Absalom, my son, my son.

Now about now you're thinking great, I come to church to get depressed. What kind of a sermon is this? I'm going to have roast preacher for lunch.

Well, I wanted to sort of frame the problem so we can talk about the solution next week and the week after. But here's what I want to end with. There's a great principle that is perfect right about now. It's in Isaiah chapter 59 right around verse 16.

It says when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will raise up a standard against him. There are ways to secure your families, your relationships, the next generation. Number one is communication. Learn to communicate as a family.

There's a lot of opportunities, a lot of help. You'll find a lot of resources around you to help you do that. Because how you communicate, parents, with your children, you're setting up the imprint for them to communicate with their children and grandchildren. They're just going to copy and do what you do.

Number two, humble yourself. Get them together and begin with these sentences. I'm sorry for-- not I have a few things I want to point out about you. No. I'm sorry for-- forgive me for. Try that. Try that. Again, what you're setting up for them is the ability for humility in their future.

And here's a third, and we'll talk more about this, or actually we'll provide next week in the foyer some kiosks with more information. I want you to think outside the box as we close. Because we're thinking about our own families, and I guess we should be. But you know, all those millions of children that are street kids, what about them? How about this. How about mentorship? How about Big Brother Big Sister programs? How about even adoption?

You know, there are these kids that are abandoned. But if they could be brought into a Christian home, or if somebody once a week could become a mentor, a big brother, big sister, you know what the stats prove? All the stats are bad. You know the stats get good if there's a mentor or a big brother. You know that crime goes down, absenteeism at school goes down, drug usage goes down if just for a period of time a kid interacts with a loving, positive big brother, big sister.

So there's no perfect parents. There's no perfect families. There's no perfect homes. But you can have and should have a secure home.

I want you to listen to this. I am really closing with this. This girl writes, my dad says I am enormously gorgeous. Isn't that a great phrase? I wonder if I really am.

To be enormously gorgeous, Sarah says you need to have beautiful, long, curly hair like she has. I don't. To be enormously gorgeous, Justin says you must have perfectly straight white teeth like he has. I don't.

To be enormously gorgeous, Jessica says you can't have any of those little brown dots in your face called freckles. I do. To be enormously gorgeous, Mark says you have to be the smartest kid in the seventh grade class. I'm not.

To be enormously gorgeous, Steven says you have to be able to tell the funniest jokes in the school. I don't. To be enormously gorgeous, Lauren says you need to live in the nicest neighborhood in town and in the prettiest house. And I don't.

To be enormously gorgeous, Matthew says you can only wear the coolest clothes and the most popular shoes. I don't. To be enormously gorgeous, Samantha says you need to come from a perfect family. And I don't.

But every night at bedtime, my dad gives me a big hug and says, you are enormously gorgeous and I love you. Hmm, my dad must know something my friends don't.

[APPLAUSE]

I hope that you know something nobody else knows. Those kids wake you up at one and then three and then four and five. They're all gifts. They're all gifts.

And they don't have the equipment to deal with life like you have the ability to deal with it. And so the choice is ours not to be perfect, not to be flawless, not to never make mistakes, not that at all. In fact, not even to fix problems, but to try to do your part to communicate, to humble yourself, and to help shape those precious gifts.

Heavenly Father, we pray for security in homes. We're speaking to you as the one who unconditionally loves us. You love us. There are no strings attached to that one. It is unfailing, unmerited, unconditioned love.

Lord, because we have been forgiven, because we have been loved, I pray that that would be enough of a foundation to treat others in like manner. And especially those precious gifts that are in our own homes. I pray for intimacy. Satisfying relationships between parents and children, moms and dads. I pray for a home security system built by love and good communication. In Jesus' name, amen.

Additional Messages in this Series

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1/6/2008
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Threat Level - Red?
1 Chronicles 12:32
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The Department of Homeland Security was established after the September 11, 2001 attack. Designed to inform the public as to the threat of terrorism by color-coded levels, it has now become part of our culture. But radical terrorism isn't our only challenge. In this series we will consider the dangers we face personally, culturally, with our family, nationally and globally. In a culture conditioned by fear, how can we have peace?
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1/13/2008
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Securing the Foundations
Matthew 7:21-27
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The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security issued an important statement, "We [speak] often about protecting our nation, protecting our states, protecting our cities. [But we need] to reiterate the importance of protecting our homes." He acknowledged that the country's foundation is the individual and individual homes. But what about the foundation of the home? What about the foundation of each person? How can you be personally secure--forever?
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1/20/2008
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Heaven-Bound and Enjoying the Ride
1 John 5:13
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Having the assurance of salvation is a prerequisite for enjoying the Christian life. Some don't have that certainty and it shows--they are weighed down by insecurity. Others feel certain that they're saved but they're delusional. Why is it important to know your eternal destination and how can we know? Let's shore up the security of our souls.
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2/3/2008
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Stop the Dominoes!
Joshua 24:14-15
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Joshua's last State-of-the-Union address to Israel was timely. As leader of that nation he knew his people, and he knew there were forces threatening their spiritual survival. He could already begin to see the "domino effect" of compromise happening in his own day. "Put away the gods your fathers served" (vs14), he admonished them. Then as a leader, both of the country and of his own home, he made his own resolve to serve God with his family. Let's consider what this same kind of steadfast determination could mean today for securing our families. Find out how you can help stop the Dominoes.
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2/10/2008
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How to Prevent Soul Thieves!
Nehemiah 1-2
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The Christian is not to be "conformed to this world, but transformed" (Romans 12:2). This value system that the Bible calls the "world" imposes itself on us twenty-four-seven. It beckons to us to lower our standards of righteousness and conform to its unrighteous standard. Just as enemies and thieves were threatening to invade Jerusalem during the days of Nehemiah, "soul thieves" are breaching the walls of our homes and eroding the souls of those inside. What can we do? Find out how to prevent Soul Thieves.
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2/17/2008
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Is the Church Secure?
Luke 21:12-19
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There is an aggressive, consistently growing, vocal and active attack on the church in our culture. In a society where every viewpoint is tolerated and every ideology is celebrated, there is one that is becoming unacceptable--the Christian viewpoint. Once we were marginalized; now we are attacked. What are we to make of this? How secure is the church of Christ? What can we expect in the future and how should we respond to those who want to silence us?
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2/24/2008
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Casualties on the Battlefield of Truth
2 Timothy 4:1-4
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One of the most probing questions Jesus asked about His future return was this, "When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8). Today the historic Christian faith is being attacked, not just by outsiders, but insiders--by so-called Christians! Emergent-church philosophies espouse sentiments like, "Well, your truth isn't everyone else's truth." The idea of absolute truth is considered to be passe and harsh. What are we to make of all this?
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3/2/2008
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The Slippery Slope
2 Timothy 4:2-8
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Here's a question: Is everyone who can say "Baahhh" necessarily a sheep? Is every person who throws around the name of Jesus a disciple? In our series on Homeland Security we have considered how to be secure spiritually, relationally, morally and even socially. But what about the future of the church? What kind of Christian legacy are we passing on to the next generation?
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3/9/2008
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Abraham's Other Son
Genesis 16
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Every Muslim reveres Ishmael as the son of Abraham more so than Isaac (whom the Bible calls the son of promise). In fact, Muslims claim that Islam began with Abraham and his son Ishmael, thus claiming that it is older than both Judaism and Christianity. According to the Koran, Ishmael is called both, "an apostle and a prophet". How does this biblical story relate to the modern threat of radical Islam? How does this ancient account in Genesis 16 tie in with the spread of extremist ideas of jihad?
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3/16/2008
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Testimony of a First-Century Terrorist
Acts 9:1-6
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Historians still talk about the amazing transformation of Saul of Tarsus. He was once rabidly hostile to the early Christians, terrorizing them in Jerusalem and in attempting to do the same in Syria. Paul's life shouts to us that no one is too hard, too lost or too far-gone to be saved. If we could really believe that last sentence, it would change forever how we deal with people. Let's consider how God might use us to reach out to the Islamic world with the gospel.
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3/30/2008
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What Now?
Romans 12:1-2
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For the past 11 weeks we have probed the scriptures to find peace in times of terror. We've considered the dangers we face personally, culturally, nationally and within our own family. Today we bring all the pieces together to wrap up with a final application. I'll be joined with a few friends of mine to help me as we think about what to do now!
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There are 11 additional messages in this series.