Is The Young Man Safe?

2 Samuel 18:24-33

(BASED UPON A SERMON BY B.C. GOODPASTURE)

 

Our text contains one of the great questions of the Bible. I   might say our text contains one of the tragic questions of the Bible. It was asked from the anxious and agonized heart of king David, as he sat in the gate in Mahanaim, seeking  to know the welfare of his son Absalom.

Is the young man Absalom safe?

 

 It is a great question contained in the Bible. The Bible contains many important questions, asked by different persons ands for different reasons. 

 

I believe the first question of the Bible was raised by Satan himself,  it was addressed to mother Eve, “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?”  (Gen. 3:1) This question was raised to create confusion and doubt in the mind of Eve. It was not asked for the purpose of obtaining information.  Satan knew what God has said.

 

In Genesis 4:9 we read another interesting question, God is the author of it and it was addressed to Cain.  Cain had just slain his brother Abel. The first man born in the world, became the world's first murderer.   God said, "Where is Abel thy brother?"

 

This was a searching question, it was an embarrassing question. Sometimes embarrassing questions need to be asked. "Where is Abel thy brother?"  God raised that question, not because He  was seeking information, nor to involve Cain in confusion, but to bring Cain to a realization of the enormity of his crime.

 

There is a question raised by Job  in Job 14:14

14If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. 15Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands.

 

Tell me that Job didn't know something of the resurrection. But this question is one that has been on the lips of man in every age:  "14If a man die, shall he live again? "

 

And then our Lord Himself propounded a great question  in Matthew 16:26

26For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

Jesus was not seeking information, but sought to impress upon the minds of all men of every age, the inestimable value of one's eternal soul

 

But when David raises this question he is seeking information   Is the young man Absalom safe?” And this might seem like a strange question for David to ask.  In 2 Samuel 23:2 we read these words:  2The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue.”  Now there is no question that David was inspired. Our Lord again in Matthews 22:43 indicates that David was inspired.  If David was an inspired man why did he not know what had happened to Absalom? 

 

It should be remembered, that inspiration was not given for the purpose of making one omniscient. Paul the apostle of Christ was inspired but he was not omniscient.  Men were not inspired to make them omniscient, men were inspired to make them infallible in receiving and transmitting God's word. 

 

In 1 Corinthians 1:14-16 Paul stated:

14I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; 15Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name. 16And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.

 

This does not negate his inspiration. He was not inspired to enable him to keep record of those he baptized, He could do that without inspiration if he wanted to. And by the same token David did not know the things that had befallen Absalom.   Is the young man Absalom safe?  That is a remarkable question, it is remarkable that David should be interested in Absalom when we consider what Absalom had done. 

 

There are three things that reveal the wicked and ungrateful character of Absalom.   

A- First he was a murderer, he slew Amnon, his half brother, and David's firstborn.

 

You remember the story, Absalom's sister Tamar,  a very beautiful woman, had been dishonored and ravished by her half brother Amnon.  For 2 whole years Absalom nourished his revenge and hatred.   At the end of two years he took the law into his hand and slew Amnon. Afterwards he fled to his grandfather Geshur and stayed with him 3 years. Then returned to Jerusalem but did not see his father for 2 years.  He implored Joab to effect a reconciliation between him and his father… Joab neglected to do so, until finally Absalom burned his  grain fields.. After this Joab brought about reconciliation between Absalom and his father David.

 

Second Absalom was disloyal and hypocritical in dealing with his father.

 

 He sat in the gates of the city, and when the people came to discuss some legal matter with the king, he would say in effect: "I know your cause is just, but you will not get justice. If I were the king I would see you were treated fairly and rewarded properly."  And in this way he stole the hearts of the people.

 

Next he came to his father, and in effect said:

 

"Father while I was a fugitive in Geshur, I made a vow, and I need to go to Hebron to pay my vow, and do what I promised Jehovah I would do. "   David gave his permission, but he went down to Hebron and began working on a conspiracy to dethrone his father instead. He betrayed his father, he was a hypocrite.

 

Next Absalom drove David from his throne and from Jerusalem.

 

One of the sad pictures of the Old Testament is David fleeing from his son Absalom..  David comes near to the Mount of Olives, feet bare, head covered, his heart broken, and a man Shimel began throwing stones at David.  One of David's men said "Let me go over and take off his head"  2 Sam. 16:9   But David answered: " let him curse, because the LORD hath said unto him, Curse David"  verse 10

 

 The army of David met the army of Absalom   Father battling with son, Son with father.    Here is a man who has disgraced his father, a man who would sacrifice his father on the altar of ambition,  and yet when the men go out to battle, David said of Absalom: "Deal gently with the young man for my sake."    And so, the battle rages, and David sits anxiously awaiting word of the battle. Finally a messenger comes and David asks the question:  "Is the young man Absalom safe?"    Is it not strange, and remarkable that David could be so concerned for one who had been so ungrateful, and so ambitious and rebellious? 

 

 See David, as his heart is rending, hear the words "Is the young man Absalom safe?"   At this time it is too late,  "Is the young man Absalom safe?"  Here is a question that should have been asked long before now? The young man is not safe!  Nothing can be done about it now.  There was a time when something could have been done, but NOW  too late……

 

David should have thought about the question when selecting a mother for Absalom.   Absalom's mother was Maacah, the daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur.  She belonged to a heathen, idolatrous people.. She did not have  a background of religion as it was known in the land of Israel.  David violated the law of God when he married that woman. He was not prompted by religious motives but by political ambitions in seeking this woman to be his wife.  He was building up a political alliance for his kingdom. He was seeking to advance himself….   He was not asking the question — "What kind of mother will this woman be for my children?"  No Absalom was not safe, not even when David chose his mother.

 

Is  the young man Absalom safe?   David should have raised this question when he looked with lustful eyes upon BathSheba,   when he was breaking up the home of a faithful servant Uriah. He could have raised this question when he signed the death warrant of Uriah.  He said in substance,  "Put him in the thickest part of battle, and at the critical time, leave him to fight alone that he may be slain."  This is a case of cold-blooded assassination, perhaps not surpassed in the history of humanity.

This man was fighting for the dignity and honor of the king's throne, yet David was plotting his death. The young man Absalom is never  safe while his father is engaged in matters of this kind……

 

Again David should have raised the question "Is the young man Absalom safe?"   When he thought about the training that his son should have received…There is not the slightest evidence that David gave time and attention to the training Absalom should have received. No adequate discipline when Absalom committed murder, but David was busy with personal matters, with making a living….  The affairs of the kingdom monopolized David's time.  He had no time for his son…..

 

"Is the young man Absalom safe?" This is a heart-rending question

There was self-rebuke in the question, David could see so much of the punishment for himself in the death of Absalom. He realized that what had happened to Absalom was in part punishment he himself deserved.   You remember the beautiful story that Nathan the prophet of the Lord told to David, to bring about awareness of the enormity of his sin in committing adultery and even murder. As Nathan completed his story, David's anger was raged (2 Samuel 12:5) and stated:   "As the LORD liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die:  6And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity."    Nathan answers —  2 Samuel 12:9-12

 

9Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon. 10Now 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. 11Thus 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 neighbor, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun. 12For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.

 

Had it not been told David that he would restore fourfold for the death of Uriah?  The young infant conceived of Bath-sheba died,  Amnon his son was later slain,  Now Absalom was the third installment in the payment …. and later Adonijah  another of David's sons will be slain.

 

Now David's fatherly concern rises above his kingly responsibilities.   "Is the young man Absalom safe?"   Nothing could be done for Absalom now, that question  came to late… It  should have been asked by David years earlier.  When the messenger that came to David said: "The enemies of my lord the king, and all that rise against thee to do thee hurt, be as that young man is."  2 Sam 18:32

 

David's heart was broken, and he cried in anguish: “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!”  Terrible thing for a man to recognize in the suffering of his children punishment for his own sins.   David could see in the death of Absalom, punishment for his own sins.

 

This stands as a monument to parental neglect.   David had not been a father to Absalom.   Do we not often look back and recognize the mistakes that we have made in dealing with our children?   I wonder if there are fathers and mothers here who ought be raising the question —  Is the young man Absalom safe?”

 

 What about it, apply it to your own home.. Is your child safe? Not so long as we are not giving him the advantage of a Christian home and Christian example?   Is your child safe as long as you are not endeavoring to train him up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.  Are we reading with him, taking him to Bible school., to worship services?  If we do not discharge our responsibilities as parents, might we not be asking like David too late “Is the young man Absalom safe?”

 

 

 If you are a parent, but you are  not a Christian.  Why not become one now. Why not give your children, your home that Christian example they need so desperately? That will help you assure all your children are safe.

 

 contact:: Ron Cope minister

email:  RonCope@chestnutmtchurchofchrist.com

phone:  (678)617-9658