Isn’t it easy to exaggerate David? Let’s face it, his life was filled with remarkable feats right? Admiration…power…”a man after God’s heart”…wow! Michelangelo sculpted a flawless David…the human body in perfection. But David was far from flawless…the biblical narrative on David shows us this clearly. And isn’t life like that as well? Putting people on pedestals is a way of not having to deal with them, and the the God that is working in them, in real life.
In the last chapter, we have seen David being used in Amnon’s plot to rape Tamar…we have seen David’s less than kingly response to the rape…we have seen Absalom “take charge” in the face of David’s reluctance (at least as Absalom perceives it).
Today, we see that Absalom is stuck in exile and David is stuck in loneliness – and Joab gets things moving with a story…a story about David himself and Absalom – a story dealing with the conflict of a father’s love of son and the kingly duty to punish Absalom for the murder of his brother. All seems to work – David sends Joab to bring Absalom back to Jerusalem but…David refuses to see Absalom – he can’t come into the king’s presence. David’s emotional affection for Absalom doesn’t line up with this refusal. What we are made to see in this narrative is the great chasm between what David feels and what he does. We see David refusing to give Absalom what God has given David.
Then there is Absalom…desperate for a father. Even ready to deal with punishment of death, Absalom is tired of being ignored. David gives in…he receives Absalom but, as the old saying goes, it is a day late and a dollar short. For Absalom it has been far too long coming…Absalom’s thoughts, as we are about to see, have shifted to now ambition to replace his father David.
Life is like that…relationships can hinge on our action or inaction…our refusing to give what God unconditionally gives to each of us. Life relationships require work…hard work – every day. There is no room for pedestals.