2 SAMUEL 13:1 – 15:37 and LUKE 23:32–56

2 Sam 13
The fruits of what David did with Bathsheba are going to hit hard once again. The account of Tamar, who was a sister to Absalom and Amnon, is covered here. Amnon had unbridled lust towards Tamar and contrived a plan with the help of a friend named Jonadab in how he could be alone with her. It is hard imagining the lengths a person like Amnon would go to satisfy lustful urges. One would think he would consider the consequences of such a relationship which was unlawful due to their family ties. David himself went to see Amnon when hearing that he was supposedly ill. Amnon was brash enough to ask David to send her so that she could make cakes for him (vs 6). Tamar sought to reason with Amnon once his intentions became known. She was very clear as to how he would be perceived if he followed through in his act (vs 13). It did not stop him. The measure of his desire and lust for Tamar was exceeded by the hatred and wrath he had for afterwards.

I feel to highlight this point due to what a moments worth of passion can produce. All common sense and awareness of consequence goes out the window. If one could only learn to measure a moments worth of pleasure in light of eternity. Moses gave vent to anger at Marah when he smote the rock twice and it cost him (Num 20:11). We need to be continually on guard in having our spirit in check.  A primary tactic of the enemy is to get a person to move in the flesh, especially at crucial moments. This is why a constant state of heightened vigilance is needed. This was David’s downfall with Bathsheba; he let down his guard and opportunity soon came knocking. The fallout from David’s sin is being seen in this very account. The sin of David did give the enemy occasion to strike in previous areas of fortification. All of these examples we see in scripture must serve as vivid reminders of the challenges that will be faced in our pivotal days. It has been seen in recent years where many well-known church leaders have fallen.

We now get a glimpse into one of David’s sons who is named Absalom. He comforts his sister after this brutal assault and instructs her to make no mention to the king. He covers her in his home as she recovers from this traumatic event (vs 20). We also get a glimpse of the conniving nature of Absalom. He acts like nothing has happened for a period of about two years. Amnon probably did not feel threatened as Absalom showed no signs of taking revenge. Inwardly, he hated him for what he did and rather looked for the opportune moment. This trait is one seen in the coming antichrist. In the early stages of his appearance he will seem amenable and one who could be reasoned with. He does this to gain favor and acceptance. Daniel had insight into the future man of sin which is seen here in Absalom.

Dan 11:32  And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.

We will see this trait at work in chapter 15. After a period of two years Absalom exacts his revenge upon Amnon. The men of Absalom carry out his instructions accordingly. King David rent his garments when he came to hear the news. Initially, David thought all of the sons were dead due to the report given to him. Absalom fled for a period of 3 years and there were a multitude of people that followed him. Is it possible that he was already developing a following? It is clear that his influence became strong soon after this event. David must have been going through a myriad of feelings as to all that is now taking place. There is no doubt of his seeing this as some of the fallout of his own sin. We also see in David a certain satisfaction in knowing that only Amnon was dead, especially since it was not true regarding the slaying of the other sons. He mourned after Absalom through this period of three years.

2 Sam 14
Joab, David’s captain of the army figures prominently in this chapter. He detects that David’s heart was toward his son Absalom.  Joab was also a man who had a pulse of the people, knowing where they stood and what they wanted etc.  Joab sought to find a way to assuage David’s longing for his son who has now been absent for about three years while managing overall public opinion that was not favourable towards Absalom’s crime. He did this by securing a woman who put forth a parabolic type story which reflected well the matter concerning Absalom. David eventually traced the intent of the woman’s story as coming through Joab and was well pleased in having him go to Absalom to see about having him restored. Joab through this process was looking to court favor with the king and potentially find favor with a potential future heir to the throne. Joab, as we cited earlier was privy and a participant to David’s plot against Uriah. He was in a position where he could exact leverage at an opportune time. This trait will be seen front and center at the end of David’s life when he will cast his lot with the wrong leader. When David determined that it was Joab who moved this woman to petition him he was glad and said the following words concerning him:

2Sa 14:20  To fetch about this form of speech hath thy servant Joab done this thing: and my lord is wise, according to the wisdom of an angel of God, to know all things that are in the earth.

This is quite a tribute the king pays to Joab. His plan worked and he was cited as having wisdom, like an angel of God. Joab was also likened to one who is informed on matters in the earth which only heightened his stature. He sought out Absalom and brought him to Jerusalem (vs 23). Absalom did not have immediate audience with the king but there was an adulation and attraction that he commanded before the people. How is it that Absalom could become so popular and attractive to the people? He was more or less an outlaw who was banished from Jerusalem three years earlier for his crime against Amnon. In spite of this he had a following that was growing with great admiration.

A period of two years goes by where Absalom is in Jerusalem where he is not called to come before the king. On two occasions he (Absalom) summons Joab to enquire about his going before the king. Absalom ignores him the 2nd time resulting in Joab’s fields being set on fire. Joab confronts Absalom and he does not deny what he did; in fact he makes clear that it was because he was ignored. He also makes clear that it was better if he would not have been summoned at all due to not being called before the king.

Absalom did not cower before Joab. It is probably here where an internal rivalry began to develop between the two seeing that Absalom had the favor of many people. Joab goes to the king and explains what has taken place and no doubt exhorted him to call for Absalom. David finally does have Absalom come before him. He bows before the king and the king kisses him in what must have been an emotional reunion. The good will between the two will not last long. Absalom may have been in exile for those few years but he was able to develop a following. He could see his influence rising among the people. He will soon assert himself above his own father in the role of leadership. The very attributes we see in Lucifer in Isa 14:13-14 regarding the “I wills” is soon seen in Absalom. How did all of this come about? It is a judgment as a result of David’s sin. The enemy was able to make an inroad due to his transgression.

2Sa 12:10  Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife.

2Sa 12:11  Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun.

Satan is always looking for a breech whereby he can gain a foothold. Remember what happened to Noah when he was drunk and found naked? His two sons (Japheth and Shem) covered their father while Ham exploited him (Gen 9:22-23). This transgression of Ham opened the door for the enemy to have an inroad. The fullness of that act became manifest a few generations later through Nimrod who asserted his authority to become like a god (Gen 11). He was a hunter of people (Gen 10:9). Can we see the fruits of sin when a prominent leader falls? Absalom’s conduct that will be seen in the next chapter is the result of David’s actions. How we need to give heed to these lessons as we prepare for these last days. Satan is always looking to take advantage and his primary target will be leaders in the kingdom of repute.

2 Sam 15
Absalom begins to assert himself into a role of leadership. He obviously has sensed the popularity surrounding him and begins the process of undermining the rule of his father. First, he sends fifty men with chariots and horses before him to pave the way for him. Later on when David is near death we see another one of his son’s born in Hebron looking to do the same thing.

1Ki 1:5  Then Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, I will be king: and he prepared him chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him.

Do you see the similarity? Do you see the heart of Lucifer from Isa 14:13-14? I will exalt myself etc. This is an antichrist spirit and there will be much we can learn from Absalom which will help clue us in to the tactics of Antichrist in these last days. The next thing Absalom does is try to court the favor of the people. He stands in the way of the king’s gate. In other words he intercepts people on their way to see the king; many who have some sort of problem or grievance. He is in tune to their needs and makes statements that cater to their area of need. “If I were in charge this is how I would handle your case etc.”

The approach that Absalom is taking is gaining him increased popularity with the people as seen in the following verse. “…So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel” (2 Sam 15:6). This is the key. He was able to answer the people according to what was in their heart. This is exactly what the antichrist will do. People who do not allow God to circumcise their hearts will fall prey to his devices. They will not be able to discern his tactics and will easily conform to his message. We saw earlier how Daniel defined him as one that will obtain kingdoms by flatteries (Dan 11:32).

Absalom sent spies throughout the land as he requested leave of the king to attend to a private matter in Hebron. It was a contrived plan to rally more people to his side. At the appropriate moment the trumpet would sound followed by the voices crying out “Absalom reigns in Hebron” (vs 10). The conspiracy continued to grow as more and more people aligned with Absalom. David’s counsellor, Ahithophel was now siding with Absalom. One can only imagine what David must have been thinking. It was not that long ago when all of Israel was at rest and he was reigning upon the throne in peace. It is now all coming undone by one of his sons who is seizing upon his vulnerability.  Sadly, many of the people cannot see through Absalom’s treachery but rather choose to put their lot alongside the rebel. This included his once trusted adviser Ahithophel. The word now comes to David as to what Absalom has done and the reality hits him squarely (vs 14). He decides to immediately flee sensing that the sentiment of Absalom and the people were against him.

David made the decision to send Zadok back to Jerusalem with the Ark (vs 24). Though David had lost prestige and honor before the people at this stage he still had a reverence for the presence of God. He knew that the Ark needed to be in its rightful place even though he did not see himself as worthy at this time. This could not have been an easy decision for him. He was going to be void of the Ark, the presence of God and void of his chief priests who he would rely upon for counsel. It was a faith act on David’s part. He also realized through all of this that this was part of the judgement as a result of his sin.

It is hard to imagine the anguish that he would be going through. David did have many who stayed loyal to him during this crisis time. Try and think of David being like Noah when he was exposed and drunk back in Genesis 9. Noah had his son Ham who took advantage of his vulnerability. It is a similar spirit at work in this matter. David was weakened due to his sin and there were many who took advantage, some of whom were close to him. Still there were those like Shem and Japheth who stayed loyal to David. People like Zadok, Abiathar and many others. It is times like this where the hearts of people are exposed. God will allow circumstances to come our way that will test us, to see what is really in our hearts. The ability to be loyal to godly leadership in moments of vulnerability is something that God highly esteems.

Luke 23
The chief priests and the scribes now bring Jesus before Pilate thinking that enough evidence had been brought forth to accuse him. They charged Him with undermining Roman authority in addition to HIs admission of being the Son of God. After briefly examining Jesus, Pilate declares that he finds no fault in Him. Jesus is then sent to Herod who was in the vicinity; he ends up making a mockery of Jesus. Herod sends Jesus back to Pilate. This whole sequence can be summed up in one word. (POWER).

Herod and Pilate knew that Jesus was innocent of the charges that were made against Him. Secondly, they understood that it was because of envy that they were so vehement in their trying to stop Him. The chief priests, the Scribes, Pilate and Herod were all concerned about their position of power. They would do anything to retain it. Though Pilate and Herod had authority over the priests and scribes they were still concerned about maintaining a balancing sentiment among the people. It is no different today especially when looking at the political systems of different societies. Take America for example, you now have such an entrenched political establishment in place. The only thing that matters is retaining power and position at all costs. We see the sad reality of such policy as righteous governance now takes a back seat. People who are in positions of power have the ability to stem the rot of misrule but oftentimes bend to cultural influences that further undermine godly values. All for the purpose of retaining power.

Why does this happen? The bottom line is that it reflects what is in the heart of the people. In democratic societies you find that leaders are oftentimes a reflection of the people who elected them. It is so easy to criticize leaders who are in these places of governance but have we prayed for them, prayed for the nation etc.? When Pilate could not convince the people of his innocence he makes them an offer that he feels will exonerate himself. He presents to the people a choice of who to be released unto them. Will it be Barabbas, a known murderer or would it be Jesus? The sentiment of the people demanded the release of Barabbas. This goes to show what was in the heart of the people.

The priests and scribes were able to move the sentiment of the people to now be against Jesus; so much so that they choose a known murderer to be released unto them instead of the Lord. We can smugly reflect upon this and think to ourselves why would the people ever do such a thing? Do we think that we are too sophisticated, too smart that we would be immune to such foolishness? The truth is we are far guiltier! We have been enlightened; we have the advantage of history to know better yet we only build upon this folly by endorsing a culture that reflects the Barabbas sentiment. We make heroes out of the basest of people while religious values erode into oblivion. We think that we would never cry out for Barabbas over Christ but what is really in our hearts? Is it a surprise when we see some of the leaders that are brought into position of power? Of course, this is not true of all nations but having been born and raised in the USA this subject is very personal to me. Take a given Sunday in the USA and honestly try to answer the question as to who is more desired. Is it Barabbas or is it Christ? The entertainment culture is so refined through sports and movies that it can cleverly repackage reality and truth into an art form. We do not ask for Barabbas in the raw sense as Israel did but we do so through alternative means. I am not against recreation and some forms of entertainment but it never is to serve as a substitute to the worshipping of the living God. It all comes down to what is within the heart of man. In the end, Pilate gave sentence that reflected the will of the people (vs 24-25).

Luke’s account of the events surrounding the cross is a fast moving one. It appears that the chief priests, scribes and those offended by Jesus had won the day. The one who tormented them with His teachings and instruction is now placed upon the cross. Even in these last few hours the sentiment of many of the people had turned against Jesus. The enemy voices successfully moved the people to ask for Barabbas instead of Jesus as the one to be released unto them. A known murderer and thug being preferred over a righteous and innocent man. Such things could not happen today right? What a picture this must have been; the hopes of mankind now being nailed to the cross. The tortured, humiliated and beaten body of Jesus now laid bare on a tree for all to see. Is this leadership? Is this who the prophets of old were looking for? We of today’s modern age know the story but do we really know of its lessons? How is leadership and success defined in today’s churches? Do we see the Lamb of God or are we mesmerized by something else; a counterfeit Christ which caters more to the elements of the flesh? Let’s be honest, how would we view this scene at Calvary?

There will be a similar event that will take place in the future. The ministry of Moses and Elijah will return to the earth, specifically in Jerusalem to testify of the God’s Laws and message of restoration. It will be a countering message to that of the antichrist and the cultural pressures of the day. It will be very similar to the Lord’s challenge to the priests and scribes in the lead-up to His death upon the Cross. Who will align with the ministry of Moses and Elijah? Moses was a teacher and he was the primary law-giver of his day. There will be great emphasis on these subjects in the last days. Where is the teaching ministry today? Where is the upholding of God’s laws and standards?

What you have is compromise resulting in a watered down gospel that caters to uncircumcised hearts. The ministry of reconciliation and restoration will also be emphasized as seen through Elijah. These men and their messages will be opposed. They will be killed just like Jesus was. The people will rejoice in their death thinking that they have prevailed (Rev 11:10). You see this sentiment in Luke 22:35-36 as the people are mocking and jeering the Lord. Moses and Elijah will then rise up after 3 ½ days just as the Lord will do. This helps us to understand more of what the transfiguration experience must have been like. Jesus, Moses and Elijah were all going to go through a similar trial. Just as Peter, James and John were with the Lord in His transfiguration moment we have the opportunity to align with Moses and Elijah in their upcoming moment in these last days. To do this we must place priority on the respective ministries of Moses and Elijah.

In this account of Luke’s we find some faithful ones who did not consent to His death. Joseph of Arimathea was a just man who had rank in the community. He was one who had been seeking for the kingdom of God. He took risk in asking Pilate for the body of Jesus. He took the body, wrapped it in linen and placed it in a sepulchre hewn in stone which no man had been placed in previously. It was his way of testifying of his faith. He wrapped the righteous Son of God in linen as testament to the death of a righteous man. We need to see such GOOD and JUST men come to the surface in these last days. These are men and women who will be willing to take a stand in the midst of great opposition. May we be numbered amongst them.