David’s Sins in David’s Sons

Is it hard to lead others when we lack integrity ourselves? You bet it is. We see this in the life of King David.

In 2 Samuel 14, we start to see David’s kingdom unraveling—and it all started with the loose thread of his sexual lust. His unbridled passions are copied by his son Amnon, who rapes his step-sister Tamar. In revenge, Tamar’s full brother Absalom murders Amnon. Now two of David’s sins—adultery and murder—get replicated in two of his sons.

So what does David do?

Here is where David fails yet again: he does nothing. He leaves his smooth but murderous son in self-imposed exile, refusing to either properly punish or fully forgive. And when David finally brings him back, it is only at the connivance of his general Joab.

Absalom must have known that others in the kingdom were also aggravated by David’s moral indecision. When he surreptitiously campaigned for kingship, he enflamed this aggravation with a treacherous sigh. “Oh, that I were judge in the land!” Absalom would exclaim, “Then every man with a dispute or cause might come to me, and I would give him justice.” Absalom felt—more deeply than anyone else, perhaps—the frustration of having a father and king whose moral failures made him morally indecisive.

Unfortunately, we also can succumb to this kind of moral ambiguity. When we lack integrity, or when we let past failures define us, we fail to make decisions with integrity. What a contrast to the righteous decisiveness of Christ, of whom it is said, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of righteousness is the scepter of your kingdom” (Hebrews 1:8-9)!

Here are two takeaways:

1) This makes me want to avoid sin, if only for the reason that sin disrupts my ability to make right decisions.

2) This makes me love Christ more, as the new and better David—I want his perfect kingdom to take over every part of my heart, as well as every corner of the globe.

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