2 Samuel 19:1-8 Uniting Our Family Towards Kingdom’s Course
2 Samuel 19:1-8
Word soon reached Joab that the king was weeping and mourning for Absalom. 2 As all the people heard of the king’s deep grief for his son, the joy of that day’s victory was turned into deep sadness. 3 They crept back into the town that day as though they were ashamed and had deserted in battle. 4 The king covered his face with his hands and kept on crying, “O my son Absalom! O Absalom, my son, my son!“
5 Then Joab went to the king’s room and said to him, “We saved your life today and the lives of your sons, your daughters, and your wives and concubines. Yet you act like this, making us feel ashamed of ourselves. 6 You seem to love those who hate you and hate those who love you. You have made it clear today that your commanders and troops mean nothing to you. It seems that if Absalom had lived and all of us had died, you would be pleased. 7 Now go out there and congratulate your troops, for I swear by the LORD that if you don’t go out, not a single one of them will remain here tonight. Then you will be worse off than ever before.”
8 So the king went out and took his seat at the town gate, and as the news spread throughout the town that he was there, everyone went to him.
The response of David towards the demise of his son speaks volumes concerning his state of apathy towards the people of Israel. Elation gives way to embarrassment despite their victory over the rebels. Albeit David’s deep personal tragedy and loss, a leader must put aside private and familial matters and rise above it for the sake of the community. In today’s passage, we learn about the importance of rallying our family towards the highest course of loving others and helping the community enter the kingdom of God.
O my son Absalom! O Absalom, my son, my son! – Elation gives way to shame as all the people heard of the king’s deep grief for his son. Triumphant joy at the restoration of the kingdom was undercut by the profound grief of David. So humiliated and embarrassed are David’s troops that they return as though they were losers. David is so self-absorbed in his personal loss such that he disregards the sacrifices others have made towards his course. David is deemed to be utterly insensitive to the feelings of the people at large.
You seem to love those who hate you and hate those who love you – Joab feels neither guilt nor share the loss David felt concerning Absalom. Joab carries the voice of duty, his reasoning is indisputable and his brutal frankness is what the king needs. Put in a nutshell, Joab implies that David is selfish and unbecoming as a leader of a nation. Had Absalom succeeded in the rebellion, David and his entire household might have died, if not for the sacrifices of the troops. Joab threatens to organize his own rebellion, if David does not recover from his state of stupor: Now go out there and congratulate your troops, for I swear by the LORD that if you don’t go out, not a single one of them will remain here tonight. Joab’s coaxing worked, David’s taking his seat at the town gate signals the end of the rebellion and the kingdom’s return to normalcy.
A leader must set aside his private matters for the greater course of the kingdom. A leader is one appointed by God to lead by creating order through installing God’s Kingdom values system into the community. Not only is he given authority to rule on behalf of God, it is required of him to put the course of the community above his personal matters. Having said, because of the nature of his calling, God’s favor upon his life is extraordinary. For God will set His protection and blessing upon him and his family. Hence, he is released from all personal concerns so that he could devote is attention to matters pertaining to the community, which is the kingdom of God.
A leader begins by first uniting his own family towards serving the community. Joshua inspires the nation of Israel by first uniting his family to serve God, “But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15b. David’s attitude affected the people’s confidence in his leadership when he places the life of his son above the stability of the nation. A true leader must rise above his personal concerns and unite his family towards a greater course.
As leaders, we must love the people with the same love that we show towards our own family. In other words, we must love others with the same love as we love our own flesh and blood. This principle is an extension of what Jesus teaches, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Mark 12:31. Although our first responsibility goes to our family members, a leader must endeavor to love everyone with the same love. It is every man’s responsibility to first provide for his/her family, then to others. In so doing, it does not mean that we love our family more than others. For since we gave birth to them, it is our primary responsibility to take care of them. A husband must first make sure that his wife is well taken care of, before he takes care of others. Parents must see to it that their children are properly raised up before they could be effective in raising the children of the community. Nevertheless, a father/mother’s love towards the community is shown in his efforts to unite his family towards works of charity. David’s reaction upon hearing about Absalom’s demise reveals his apathy towards the people who labored for his course: You seem to love those who hate you and hate those who love you. And that encourages rebels to rise up taking advantage of the cracks of apathy that separate him from the people, as we shall later observe.
Parents can unite the family towards the course of the Kingdom by setting a family worship on a regular basis. Parents must set the example of putting the course of God’s kingdom building as the goal of their life. Children must be taught how they could contribute to the needs of their neighborhood and their friends.
Dear Lord, teach me how to take care of my family and inspire them towards the course of the kingdom. Help me to become sensitive to the needs of others and give me the compassion to reach out to them. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.