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A Shattered Heart

Growing in Grace / Doug Agnew
The Truth Network Radio
August 15, 2021 7:00 pm

A Shattered Heart

Growing in Grace / Doug Agnew

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August 15, 2021 7:00 pm

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I have your Bibles with you today. Turn with me, if you would, to 2 Samuel chapter 18, and we're going to be looking to begin with at verses 19 through 23. The King said to the Cushite, So he said to him, Bow with me as we go to our Lord in prayer.

Heavenly Father, the passage that we have before us today is both heavy and helpful. We see David, the man after God's own heart, going through a debilitating loss. His rebellious son has been killed in battle. This is a situation where David feels very little peace. His son was a rebel against God. David knows that Absalom is in hell, and there's no hope for him. David cannot talk to his son to try to persuade him to repent. He cannot pray for his son's soul, for his son is dead. There's no time for repentance. So the question for us is this, how do we get through those times of heart-rending grief? Can we trust God to fill the empty void and restore the joy of our salvation? The answer is yes.

But it's not a flippant, easy yes. It's a dependent, reliant, obedient yes. Father David is a reminder to us that you are God and we are not. You are holy and we are not. You are sovereign and we are not. Lord, teach us to trust you, love you, and obey you, and have mercy on us when we fail. For it is in the precious and holy name of Jesus that we pray. Amen.

You may be seated. He got what he deserved. Those words were certainly words that were spoken over Absalom's grave. Absalom was the rebellious son of David. He rebelled against David. He had rebelled against God. The scripture says that he stole the hearts of the people of Israel away from his father David. He created civil war in the land and because of that, 20,000 of his own followers ended up dying.

It was a terrible, horrible situation. And in that last battle, Absalom is riding through the woods and as he's riding through the woods, he comes to a path where there's a low-hanging tree branch. His hair is flowing in the wind and as he goes under it, his hair gets caught up in the tree limb. He gets jerked right off his mule.

The mule just keeps right on going. And there he is hanging between heaven and earth and he's absolutely helpless. Some of David's men see him there and David's men remember the command that David had given them to treat the young man Absalom gently and so they don't do anything to him. But they run back to Joab the general and they tell Joab that he's back there, that he's hanging from a tree. And Joab says to himself, this is war. He is a traitor.

He has tried to kill the king of Israel. And so he runs to where Absalom is hanging from the tree. He takes three spears and he throws those spears right through his chest and then 10 other men come.

They surround him. They finish him off. They kill him. They take his life. Then they take his body. They throw it down into a pit. They take stones and they cover his body over.

Just fill the pit up with stones. That pit is Absalom's grave. The traitor is dead.

He is completely gone and the battle is over. I can imagine some of the stuff that went on after that. Maybe some of the men of David spitting on Absalom's grave. Maybe cursing Absalom's name. All of them probably thanking God and praising God for the great victory that's taken place. And maybe all at the same time saying, all hail King David, Absalom got what he deserved. That takes us to the passage that we are looking at today. And I want us to think about something for a minute as we take a look at David's shattered heart. The prosperity, name it, claim it, blab it and glab it preachers. They have trouble with this particular passage. For they believe that if you just have enough faith, then you're going to be healthy, you're going to be wealthy. Everything's going to be good.

Life's going to be problem-free. So they kind of would think, well, if David had just had a positive attitude, if David had just had enough faith, if he'd gotten his faith up, then all of this would be fine and there'd be no problem. Bologna. Several years ago, Cindy and I went to Nairobi, Kenya with Larry Warren. Larry Warren's the head or the president of a group called African Leadership. And this is a group that trains national pastors and gives them a theological education. We got there and we noticed that there was kind of an uneasiness in the pastors that were there. Finally, Larry said, guys, what's wrong? And they said, well, Kenneth Copeland has been leading a crusade here in Nairobi for the last two weeks.

He just left. So they got all the pastors together and he said that we just didn't have any faith. He said, look at you and what you're doing and how you're living. He said you're living in mud huts and you're riding around on bicycles instead of BMWs. He said he got out his pictures and he showed us pictures of his mansion back in the States. He showed us pictures of his fleet of Mercedes.

He showed us pictures of his own personal jet that flew him over here. And he said, guys, all this could be yours if you just had faith. Those pastors were devastated. They said to Larry, what have we done wrong?

Now, Larry's usually a pretty friendly and congenial person. I haven't seen him mad often that day he was mad. And he said, guys, you have been lied to. You have been lied to and you need to understand that what he's telling you is not true. He said, did Jesus lack faith?

They said, no, sir. He said it was Jesus who said in Matthew 8 20, foxes have holes, the birds of air have nests, the son of man has no place to lay his head. He said material wealth and problem-free living may not be the blessing of God at all. In fact, it may be the fruit of sin and selfishness.

Paul said the love of money is the root of all evil, all kinds of evil. Larry said don't put your eyes on stuff, put your eyes on Christ. He said what if you do live the rest of your life in a mud hut for this little stay on earth? He said this life is short.

James said it's like a vapor, a little puff of steam. It's here and then before we realize that life is gone. He said take your eyes off your temporary home, put your eyes on your eternal home. Jesus said where your treasury is there will your heart be also. Larry said to these pastors, Jesus said in this world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world. Those pastors rejoiced, they repented of listening to Kenneth Copeland, and they moved on as soldiers of the cross. I want you to remember that as we take a look at this passage today. Three points I want to share with you.

Number one, a friend's failure. Look with me at verses 23 through 33. Come what may he said, I will run. So he said to him run.

Then Ahima has ran by the way of the plain and out ran the Cushite. Now David was sitting between the two gates and the watchman went up to the roof of the gate by the wall. When he lifted up his eyes and looked he saw a man running alone. The watchman called out and told the king and the king said if he is alone there's news in his mouth.

And he drew nearer and nearer. The watchman saw another man running and the watchman called to the gate and said see another man running alone. The king said he also brings news.

The watchman said I think the running of the first is like the running of Ahima has the son of Zadok. The king said he's a good man, comes with good news. Then Ahima has cried out to the king all is well. And he bowed before the king with his face to the earth and said blessed be the Lord your God who has delivered up the men who raised their hand against my Lord the king. The king said is it well with the young man Absalom? Ahima has answered when Joab sent the king's servant, your servant I saw a great commotion but I do not know what it was. The king said turn aside and stand here.

So he turned aside and stood still. Behold the Cushite came and the Cushite said good news for my Lord the king for the Lord has delivered you this day from the hand of all who rose up against you. The king said to the Cushite is it well with the young man Absalom? The Cushite answered may the enemies of my Lord the king and all who rise up against you for evil be like that young man.

And the king was deeply moved and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. And as he went he said oh my son Absalom my son my son Absalom would I had died instead of you oh Absalom my son my son. When the soldiers finished burying the body of Absalom Joab called one of his soldiers over who was a Cushite says I want you to take the news and run and go and give the news to David. There was another young man there his name was Ahimaaz he was the son of Zadok the high priest and he came to Joab he said I want to do it. Let me take the news to David.

I really have a desire to do it let me do it. Now Joab was a very wise man and Joab knew and realized that the news of David's death was going to absolutely devastate David. He knew how tough it was going to be. So I think he was saying to himself it would be better for a Cushite to take the news to David than for an Israelite to take the news to David and have to deal with all the pain and the anguish that David is going to exude. But Ahimaaz is young.

He is not filled with God-given discernment. He has no qualms about taking the news to David. He thinks the news is going to bring David great joy.

So Ahimaaz would not be discouraged. He kept saying to Joab let me go let me go I want to run I want to go and finally Joab gets just exasperated throws up his hands says go run go ahead do what you want to do and he takes off running. Not only does he run but he outruns the Cushite and he gets to David first. He comes up to David sweats pouring down off of his brow and he says to David first of all all is well and then he gives God the glory. He said the Lord has given us this great victory over our enemies and he kind of stepped back to wait for David to rejoice with him to wait for David to just exude all kinds of joy but that doesn't happen. He doesn't get that joy from David. David asked nothing about the men who had risked their lives for him and fought for him.

David said nothing about the Lord and how gracious the Lord was to give them the victory. All he could talk about was his son. And he said what about the young man Absalom? What about the young man my son?

What happened to him? I want you to consider what the news would have been like if Absalom had defeated David's army. If that had happened then David would be killed. His wives would be killed and all of his other children would be killed as well. Not only that but the wicked Absalom would rise to the throne of Israel and they would have a wicked king ruling over them. David doesn't even think about that.

Not concerned about it. I can picture Ahama has as he's standing there. He turns white as a sheet and he thinks to himself, uh-oh, this is why Joab didn't want me to run. This is why Joab didn't want me to go.

He knew exactly what David was going to be feeling. So he decides to back off. And he decides not to tell David the whole truth. He says, well, I saw a commotion, a tumult there, but I don't know about your son.

I really don't know what happened. Now was that truth? That was not true. He's lying. He's lying because in 2 Kings 18 verse 20 Joab said to him, the king's son is dead. Ahama has lost his nerve. He didn't want to break David's heart with the bad news. So he lowered his eyes, he stepped back and he left the news to the Cushite to tell. The Cushite comes before David and starts sharing with David the great victories that's taken place. David said, what about the young man Absalom? And he said, would to God that all the enemies of the king would end up like that young man. And David knew at that point in time what that meant, that his son Absalom was dead.

Let me share something interesting with you. This is the last time in the scripture we ever hear of Ahama has. Don't hear about him anymore. I think he was a good man.

I think he was probably a godly man. But when he did not totally be honest with the truth and tell David that, then David knew that he really couldn't trust him and we don't see him being used in the kingdom again. Folks, we have preachers all over this land who are backing off from the truth because they know the culture will reject them if they tell the truth. We have preachers telling us that when God speaks on homosexuality, he speaks in a whisper. In other words, they're saying, homosexuality, well, it's not that big a sin. It's not that big a deal. Oh, is that right? Is that right? Was it a whisper when God rained down fire and brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrah?

I don't think so. Ahama has should have taken the heat. He should have told the truth to David and it didn't.

He didn't. And it cost him dearly. Folks, sin will take you further than you want to go.

It'll keep you longer than you want to stay and it will cost you more than you want to pay. It's not helpful to water down the gospel. We are not called to make the gospel more palatable to the lost world. When the gospel is watered down, it loses its power.

Folks, we need to be careful and proclaim it loudly and clearly. A couple of weeks ago, Cindy and I went to the 50th wedding anniversary of Chip and Martha Sloan. Chip's the guy that led me to Christ.

While we were there, I met a lady who used to be my next-door neighbor 35 years ago. Her name is Chai Chetty. She's from India and her husband's name was Chet. Chip Sloan led both Chai and Chet Chetty to come to know Christ as their Lord and Savior. While I was there that day, Chip told me the story about Chet. He said Chet called him up and said, I need to talk to you. He said, well, come on over.

He came over to Chip's house, sat down in the living room with him. He said, Chip, I think you're mean. And Chip said, what do you mean by that? And he said, my father is a Hindu, a dedicated Hindu, and you think my father's going to hell. He said, but my father knows you as a Christian and he doesn't think that you're going to hell. So Chip, you're mean.

And Chip said, I understand what you're saying, but he said, let me clear this up. He said, in John 14, verse 6, Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father but by me. What that means is that Jesus was our only hope. That Jesus went to the cross and he paid our sin debt and then he rose from the dead to break the power of death over us. And there is no hope outside of him. He is the only way of salvation. Chip said, would I be kind and loving to tell you a lie and watch you reject Christ and go to hell? He said, that would not be kind. Three weeks later, Chip trusted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.

Let me ask you a question. What if Chip had said, I don't want to offend Chip and I don't want to hurt his feelings, so let me just back off from the truth so that he won't be offended. Then, Chet Chetty might be in hell today. But he's not because Chip shared the truth of God's word with him and he's in heaven today. When the church moves away from biblical truth, then Satan wins.

Churches all over America, from one denomination to the other, are becoming woke churches that will muzzle the truth of God in order that they might appear to be kind and loving. Folks, Jesus said, you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. Critical race theory will not set you free. Condoning abortion and transgenderism and homosexuality and pedophilia will not set you free.

It will put you in bondage and eventually destroy your life. Roger Ellsworth said it beautifully. Listen carefully to this. All Christians have a message to carry and we would do well to let this passage speak to us about this task. Our message is directed to those who do not know our Lord and Savior. It is a message of glorious victory and eternal hope. But it's also a message about God's unbending holiness, our sin, the need to repent of sin and trust solely in the atoning work of Jesus Christ and God's eternal judgment on all those who refuse to receive Christ as their Lord and Savior. This is the part of the message that our unsaved friends desperately need to hear because it is the only message that can save them from eternal ruin. It's also a message that they do not want to hear. And many pastors and churches seem today to be very much like Ahima has. They are running very fast with their ministries and activities, but they are strangely silent when the time comes to announce those truths so many find to be distasteful and unpleasant. Let us come away from the story of Ahima has with a firm conviction that it does not matter how fast we run in our ministries if we do not have the courage to say those things that are the most important.

Amen? Point two of Father's grief. Look with me at verses in 2 Samuel 18, starting at verse 33 going through 19 verse 4. And the king was deeply moved and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. And as he went, he said, O my son Absalom, my son Absalom, would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son. It was told Joab, behold, the king is weeping and mourning for Absalom. So the victory that day was turned into mourning for all the people, for the people heard that day. The king is grieving for his son.

And the people stole into the city that day as people still in who are ashamed when they flee in battle. The king covered his face and the king cried to the loud voice, O my son Absalom, Absalom, my son, my son. It is very clear to me that the Bible wants us to reflect on David's grief. The Scripture could have said here that Absalom died and David grieved deeply, but it doesn't stop there.

It gives us much more detail than that. We see David bent over in sorrow, crying out to his dead son who he knows is in hell and saying, Absalom, Absalom, my son Absalom, would to God that I had died in your place. In Michael Milton's book called Songs in the Night, it's a book on the sorrow that we see in the Bible. He lists three features of David's grief and I wanted to share those with you. Number one, it was a cry of loss.

David is crying from a broken heart. Now, David looks at Absalom in ways that the rest of Israel does not. The rest of Israel looked at Absalom. They saw him as a traitor, a traitor to Israel, a traitor to David, a traitor to God. They don't care about him. They're glad he's gone. David remembers Absalom as that fuzzy-headed little kid who he taught how to ride a horse, taught how to shoot an arrow.

He's that little boy, he remembers, who climbed up on his lap when he was two years old and went to sleep. Folks, we should never be ashamed to grieve over a loved one's death. Death hurts.

Death separates. When Lazarus died, the Scripture says Jesus wept. What's interesting to me is that Jesus knew that in just a couple of minutes, he was going to raise him back from the dead and he wept anyway. God gave us tears so that we could release emotions and not just explode on the inside. David was crying over his loss. He would never see his son again.

Number two, it was a cry of regret, a cry of regret. David's sorrow was multiplied because of his own guilt. And when David confessed to Nathan the prophet about his sin with Bathsheba and he repented of that, Nathan gave him a prophecy of what was going to happen to him. And that prophecy is going around and around and around in David's mind. In 2 Samuel chapter 12, verse 9 through 12, it says this, Why have you despised the word of God?

This is Nathan speaking. To what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with a sword, and have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with a sword of the Ammonites. Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.

Thus says the Lord, Behold, I will raise up evil against you and out of your own house, and I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor. He shall lie with your wives in the sight of the sun, for you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel and before the sun. David had failed as a daddy. He spent very little time training and nurturing and teaching his son Absalom. Now I know that the king of Israel, I know his time was precious, and I know he didn't have much extra time. But you know he had time to commit adultery, didn't he?

He had time to conspire against Uriah to have him put to death, didn't he? You know the truth of the matter is, what we really want to do, we find time to do. I have a lot of people tell me, I'd like to read the Bible, I just don't have time.

If you want to read the Bible, you will make time to read the Bible. Folks, we pretty much do what we want to do, and that was so with David. Because of David's guilt, he failed to be a disciplinarian to his children. Amnon raped his sister Tamar, David did nothing. Absalom would go into these fits of anger and rage, David did pretty much nothing. Proverbs 13 24 says it well, he who spares the rod hates his son. This proved true in David's life. If Absalom had died a believer who loved God and loved David, then it would have been much, much easier for David to take. But the regret fueled by that legitimate guilt is what devastated David.

October of 1862, Robert E. Lee was on the battlefield. Somebody came up to him with a written message and handed it to him. And the message stated that his daughter Annie had died.

It was a shock, it was absolutely unexpected. He finished the battle that day, went back to his tent, got down on his face before God and wept and wept over and mourned over his daughter. It was a terrible, horrible thing that he'd gone through and it was tough. And when he got through weeping, he sat down and he wrote a letter to his wife, Mary Custis Lee.

And at the end of the letter, he made this statement. God in this, as in all things, has mingled mercy with the blow. God selected the one best prepared to leave us. And in you, in love the Lord, may you be able to say with me, God's will be done. Her death hurt, but she knew the Lord and that made it so much easier. Number three, David's cry was a cry of longing. David longed to be able to do something to fix this tragedy. He even said that he'd be willing to die in Absalom's place, but that was an impossibility.

That could never happen. So what should happen when we long for a dead loved one? We should let the grief lead us into a deeper and closer reliance on our God. Let me give you a great verse to deal with when you're going through a time of grief, a time maybe when you're experienced a death of somebody that you care for and love.

Psalm 34 18 says, The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Point three is God's precious providence, 2 Samuel 19 verses 5 through 8. Then Joab came into the house to the king and said, You have today covered with the shame the faces of all your servants who have this day saved your life and the lives of your sons and your daughters and the lives of your wives and your concubines. Because you love those who hate you and hate those who love you, for you have made it clear today that commanders and servants are nothing to you. For today I know that if Absalom were alive and all of us were dead today, then you would be pleased. Now therefore arise, go out and speak kindly to your servants. For I swear by the Lord if you do not go, not a man will stay with you this night.

This will be worse for you than all the evil that's come upon you from your youth until now. Then the king arose and he took his seat in the gate. And the people were all told, Behold, the king is sitting in the gate. And all the people came before the king. Now Israel had fled every man to his own house.

Joab returned to his headquarters. He came right to David and David spoke no positive word to him at all. He didn't thank him for saving his life. He didn't thank him for saving the throne. He didn't thank him for being used of God that he might continue to be the king.

All he could do was mourn over his dead son. And Joab essentially says, David, wake up. Look at what the hand of God has accomplished.

If not for the powerful, sovereign hand of God, then all of us would be dead right now. And then he rebukes David. He says, dry up your tears, David.

Quit feeling sorry for yourself. Quit mourning over a wicked, rebellious, selfish, prideful son. And praise God for these men who just fought for you so valiantly. Praise God for their loyalty and praise God for giving us this victory. That was like a bucket of cold ice water that was thrown in David's face. David woke up emotionally and he said, you're exactly right. And his people came forward and he thanked them and he thanked God. And he praised the Lord in front of them for the great victory that had been won.

Joab's rebuke forced him to bow before God's providential care. Bruce Brown found this true story in a recent article that was written by the Sudan interior mission, and it is without a doubt a true story. It was a couple who lived in a primarily Muslim country. The husband was a Muslim. The wife was a Christian.

The wife had been invited to go to a Christian women's meeting and she was getting ready to go. The husband found out about it and went into a rage. He got mad and he said, who's going to make my supper? Who's going to clean the house up?

Who's going to make the bed? And he slapped her in the face and he beat her. Well, that afternoon the husband took off to work. She took off to the conference. And before she went to the conference, she wrote a letter and she put it right down on the table for him to see, expressing her love to him. And she put her key, they only had two, two keys, his and hers, and put it right beside the letter and she left.

Later on that day after the man came on from work, he walked in and he saw that she was gone. He saw the letter and he went into another rage. He started cursing and swearing and just having a fit. He reached over and he grabbed that key, her key, and he walked out of the house and still screaming and yelling and cursing. He walked across the street to the seashore, which was right across the street from where they lived, and he screamed as loud as he could, she will never come back to this house.

And he took that key and he threw it out into the ocean. Well, he went back home and a few days later, the wife came back home. When she came back home, he was at work, the door was locked, she couldn't get in.

And she said, well, I think probably the best thing I can do is maybe make a good supper for him. So she went to the market across the street. And when she went to the market, she bought a fish and she said, I'll go back and I'll cook it in my neighbor's house. And so she went back and she started gutting the fish in her neighbor's house. And when she cut the fish open, she looked down into the belly and there was something shiny. There in that belly of that fish was a key.

And it was a very familiar looking key. And she thought, could that be mine? She washed it off, she went back over to her house, she put it in, and it opened right up.

It was her key. Well, a little bit later, her husband came home from work. And he walked in and saw that the door was open, walked in, saw her there, was furious. Slapped her in the face and said, how did you get in here? And she told him the story of the fish and how she found that key in that fish's belly. The man got as white as a sheet. Tears began to roll down his cheeks. He looked in his wife's eyes and said, tell me about your Jesus.

Tell me about your Jesus, for I believe now that he is Lord. He said, this could not have just happened. He said, that key should be lost forever. I threw it out into the ocean. And then somehow God ordained a fish to swallow the key. And then there was the fisherman that caught that particular fish.

And then you went to the market, you picked out that particular fish. He said, only God could do this. She shared the gospel with him. He came to know Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.

True story. Folks, our God is not only merciful, loving, and kind, he is also sovereignly powerful. And what he wills will be accomplished. When Bruce told that story, I thought about the neighbors that must have been there, who heard him cursing and yelling just a few days before, and now they see a man that's quite a different man. They hear about the miracle that took place.

I wonder how many of those neighbors came to Christ as a result of that testimony. Back to David. David was a man of God who was broken by God in order that he might bring glory to God. May God use brokenness in us to get that same result.

Let's pray. Heavenly Father, I thank you for Joab's courage in this passage. He told David what he needed to hear, not what he wanted to hear. What Joab did reminds us of Proverbs 27, verse 5 and 6. Open rebuke is better than love carefully received. Faithful are the wounds of a friend.

David had to be rebuked. He was sliding down the ladder of despair, and Israel needed to see his faith in God. We can relate to that. So often we don't trust you like we should. So often we despair and get depressed and forget who we belong to. We pray that you will use people in our lives who love God and love us. May those people comfort us when we need comfort and rebuke us when we need a kick in the pants.

Increase our vision of God. May we be wowed by your greatness, and may that awe drive us to obedience. We love you, Lord. We thank you for loving us. For it's in Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-15 12:26:59 / 2023-09-15 12:40:47 / 14

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