I know, “Victory Into Mourning” does not sound like an upbeat, positive message, but hang in there with me. Here is another message of why David was a man after God’s heart. I haven’t talked about how David pursued God’s heart to get that title. I’m sure I will another day, but this morning’s thoughts are focused on another episode where David demonstrates God’s heart and provides an example to us for how we should react to our enemies.
I’ve been reading 2 Samuel 13-19 about the story of Absalom. How he fled from David after killing his brother, Ammon. While David mourned over Ammon, he also hated that his son, Absalom, was not with him and wanted Absalom to return to him. So after some prodding, organized by Joab, David sends word to Absalom to return to Jerusalem. But when Absalom returns, he begins mounting a campaign against David by lying to the Israelites. As they came to the king for judgment and counsel, he waited outside and caught them before going in to the king for counsel. He would tell that the king has no one to council them that day, but he would provide that service. This gained the people’s trust. When he had enough support, he gathered together his army. Rather than fight his own son, David fled back into the wilderness. When he finally had to go to battle against Absalom and his men, David gave specific instructions to his men to deal kindly with Absalom. David had no doubt that he could defeat Absalom’s army. He just wanted his son back.
Because of his thick, long hair, Absalom got caught up in a teribinth tree and was helpless. Despite a servant’s pleading not to hurt Absalom (because he heard the orders David had given), Joab killed Absalom by putting three spears through his heart.
When David heard this news, he mourned over his son. Despite Absalom’s treason, despite his rebellion against his father, despite even the murder of another son, David wanted Absalom restored. He wanted his son with him.
There is so much richness in this story. I could write about Joab’s disobedience, Absalom’s selfishness, Mephibosheth’s response to Absalom deposing David, or Joab’s response to David’s mourning for Absalom. However, by far, the message that overshadows these points is David’s love and kindness to Absalom, yearning for his return, and mourning for his loss.
In this story, we get a real glimpse into the heart of David, a clear picture of why he was a man after God’s own heart. While all of the great biblical servants of God demonstrate strong faith in God, David not only demonstrates faith, but acts out of love, kindness, grace, and mercy where none of these are deserved. But then, isn’t that the very thing that makes love, kindness, grace, and mercy what they are? Despite living with the consequences of his sin with Bathsheba and against Uriah (living with the sword in his family), David still lives according to the love of God and treats others, even others that sought his life, with love, kindness, mercy, and grace. Oh, that we all would live that way. David clearly had these words written on his heart:
1 Corinthians 13:4-13
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Heavenly Father, You are Holy, beyond our comprehension. Thank You for the richness of Your Word and the examples You have given us for our edification. Help us learn from these stories. Write them on our hearts so that we can be called a people after Your own heart!
Lord, thank you for Tony Tristani and the example he provided me in his life. He demonstrated a living example of a man after Your own heart. He touched and changed everyone’s life he came in contact with. I know he has peace, rest, and joy in Your presence. Grant his wife, daughters, family, and friends peace and comfort in their loss.
In Jesus Name.