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A Son In Conflict Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
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September 26, 2022 1:00 am

A Son In Conflict Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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September 26, 2022 1:00 am

When we sin morally, God promises to forgive us when we repent. But the consequences of sin remain, as they did for King David with his ruptured relationships and divided kingdom. In this message, we honestly examine lessons for us from David’s family conflict. Don’t ever underestimate what God can do with a mess.

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Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. When we sin morally, God will forgive, but the consequences of our sin remain as they did for King David. In the aftermath of his sin with Bathsheba, God saw his son Absalom rebel and defile the king's wives.

Today, the end of a sad story of family conflict. From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Turn in your Bibles to 2 Samuel chapter 16. Pastor Lutzer, it's hard to imagine David watching his son follow in his own footsteps on a rooftop. You know, as I think of the life of David, I can't help but be reminded of the fact that even though he loved God passionately, he was a man after God's own heart, he gives us most of the Psalms. At the same time, he sinned, and the Bible gives a great deal of information regarding the consequences of his sin, if I can put it that way.

Because God wants us to understand, first of all, that even the godly can sin, and they can be forgiven as David was. But as you've already mentioned, the consequences go on and on. What a story with so much to teach us. Let us listen carefully.

Here's what happens. Absalom's back in Jerusalem. He's in the good graces of his father. So he stands beside the gate, which is where all the judges stood, and he begins to have people come to him to deal with some of the judicial aspects of the kingdom. And he begins to say to them, oh, you know, if only I were king, you wouldn't have these problems.

And he begins to talk about the promises that he makes to them about the fact that, you know, my dad's kingdom is coming unraveled, and he's too busy with other things, and he hasn't really been the king that he used to be. And so it says in chapter 15, verse 6, 2 Samuel, and in this manner, Absalom dealt with all Israel, whoever came to the king for judgment. So Absalom stole away the hearts of the men of Israel, and he built up opposition to his father, David. He stole the hearts of the people through deceit. He was incredibly good looking. The Bible says that he was handsome. I read a verse in chapter 14 that says now in all Israel, there was no one as handsome as Absalom, so highly praised from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.

There was no defect in him. He oozed charisma. And so people began to say, you know, wouldn't it be wonderful if Absalom were our leader? One day after he thought that his power was solidified, he blew the trumpet, and he said, I'm having civil war now, and I'm chasing my dad out of Jerusalem, and I'm going to grasp the kingdom, and I'm going to be king.

What follows is one of the most humiliating experiences for David, but also in a sense his finest hour. And he goes through the Kidron Valley, and he begins to go up the ascent of the Mount of Olives. His friends want to bring the Ark of God with him. In an earlier message, we talked about that Ark of God. And notice what he says in verse 25.

And the king said to Zadok, return the Ark of God to the city. If I find favor in the sight of the Lord, then he will bring me back again and show me both it and his habitation. But if he should say thus, I have no delight in you.

Behold, here I am. Let him do to me as seems good to him, that is to God. Let God do as he wills. If he brings me back to Jerusalem, that's fine. But if he doesn't bring me back whatever God wants, if I'm to die at the hands of my own son, let God's will be done. A high point in David's life and experience. Do you see here a crushed man, a crushed man?

A man who finally had given himself wholly and totally to God. Well, you know what happens? Absalom takes over. He goes and David, of course, is escaping all the way to the Jordan River. Absalom comes into the city of Jerusalem and he violates David's wives and concubines on the rooftop. And so this is publicly seen. Why? So that everybody knows that there's no possibility of reconciliation. So that he might know that he has become odious, to use the biblical term, odious to his father. And it says in chapter 16, they pitched a tent for Absalom on the roof and he went into his father's concubines in the sight of all Israel. Hold it.

Put your finger in the text. This is the roof of the palace. What else happened on that rooftop? It is there, the Scripture says in chapter 11 verse 1 that David decided one evening to walk out on the rooftop and it is from the rooftop that he saw Bathsheba bathing and he lusted for her and took her and that was the beginning of the whole ugliness. From that rooftop now, Absalom does this despicable thing. Why do I say David acts now with sentimentality rather than strength? It's because when the civil war erupts, he says to his generals, whatever you do, spare Absalom.

Spare Absalom. Don't touch him. You can kill all of his men, but don't touch him. Was that realistic? Was that realistic?

I don't think so. Sure he was his son, but listen, here's a guy who had begun a civil war. The whole nation was in turmoil. People were being killed all over the place and Absalom, the instigator of the rebellion, is he supposed to get off free? David thought so.

Joab, his military commander, didn't. And when Absalom was riding his mule and the mule went under a tree, the hair of Absalom was caught in the tree and Joab came along and pierced him and killed him and then blew the trumpet and said, game over, Absalom is dead. I want you to notice how David mourned. David says in chapter 18, verse 33, when David hears the news, do you understand the pathos? Can you understand the pain of this man? And the king was deeply moved and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept and thus he said as he walked, oh my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom, would I had died instead of you? Oh Absalom, my son, my son. What kind of a cry is this?

You know it as well as I do. This is a cry of a father who wishes he could do it all over again and how differently he would live if only he knew what he now knew how differently it would be. David had three spears so far that went into his heart. First of all, the child that was born to Bathsheba died and when he died, David said, you know, he washed himself, the Bible says he shaved and people said, well, why do you seem to be rejoicing? He said, I'm not rejoicing, but he said, I know that the baby died and he shall not come to me, but I shall go to him.

David believed that he'd see that baby again. There's a second sword that pierced his heart and that is the death of Amnon and now the death of his favorite, Absalom. And he mourns like this because he knows he will never see Absalom again, you see. There's never a time in Absalom's life when Absalom cried out to God for forgiveness. Absalom was never accepted by God because of his repentance like David was. So David said, I know that I will see the baby again, but I know that I will never see Absalom again.

This is it now. And so he cries and he weeps and he mourns over his rebellious, strong-willed, deceitful, handsome, good-looking son. There is another sword by the way that will pierce David's heart and that we will mention later on in the final message, which is next time when I speak on the death of David and we'll go to his deathbed and see what's happening. Some very important lessons though. Very quickly, number one, even forgiven sin has consequences.

I don't need to stress that. We've pointed that out in this message, in the previous one, the fact that God says, David, your sin is forgiven. David says, I can rejoice in the Lord.

The joy of the Lord is my strength, David said. But the consequences within his family multiplied and continued. Even forgiven sin has its consequences. But notice this secondly, sin made David softer. The sins that he committed made him softer. That doesn't justify the sins obviously, but it created with him a heart of repentance. But notice how sin made Absalom harder.

He became more obstinate, more rebellious, more self-willed. Remember that David wouldn't take the kingdom from Saul, even though Saul was throwing these spears at him and the whole bit. David said, I will not touch the Lord's anointed. As long as Saul is king, I will have nothing to do with any rebellion or overthrowing him, even though he is. Now look at this.

Here's David. He's not done any wrong to Absalom. He's not throwing spears at his boy. In fact, he's forgiving him far too quickly, if anything. And yet Absalom has the audacity to ferment rebellion within the kingdom and to try to put his own dad to death so that he can have the kingdom.

Boy, what a study of the evil of the human heart. I mean, this is, this is really, really tough, hard rebellion, isn't it? So you see, it all had to do again with who owns the kingdom, you know. David realized the kingdom was God's. He gave it to him so ever he wills. Absalom said, the kingdom is mine and I want it.

Absalom represents the person at your job who works behind your back to do all that he can to undermine your company and you so that he can have what he wants at any cost. But the difference was this. Absalom never broke before God in confession and humility.

Never. What a contrast. David saying, if the Lord wills, he will bring me back again, but if not, let him do whatever seems good. David hurt deeply, hurt deeply because he had hurt God and he was forgiven and he was cleansed, but he was a broken submissive man. What does God have to do in our lives before we break and say, God do as you will?

There's a final lesson. Despite David's sin, there is grace. There is grace. You know, God loved David. He and God had this thing, no question about it. God loved David.

You know what happens? David, of course, is married to Bathsheba, a wife he should have never had, and with her he has another son whose name is Solomon. And you know what the Bible says? I mean, isn't this gracious of God? The Bible says, and God loved Solomon, and God said to Solomon, Solomon, I'm going to love you for the sake of your father, David. And so Solomon is in the genealogy of Jesus and we pick up the New Testament and we read in Matthew chapter one these marvelous words which indicate God's grace. It's giving the genealogy of Christ. It says, and to David was born Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah and to Solomon was born Rehoboam and to Rehoboam Abijah and to Abijah Asa. And there's Solomon right there in the genealogy of Jesus, the human lineage of Christ. And it's going to be then from this lineage that Jesus Christ will be born and when Jesus Christ dies on the cross, David's sin is finally paid for. You see, you have to understand that in the Old Testament, God forgave people on credit. You can buy things on credit today, go into a store, you order whatever you like and put it on a credit card and you know that there is payday someday. There's payday someday, but you can enjoy it now. The Old Testament, God says, David, I'm taking away your sin.

I'm blotting it away. But of course it isn't finally taken away because there's no sacrifice yet made that I will accept, God says. And so Christ dies on the cross. Christ dies on the cross. And when he hangs there, David's sin is finally permanently, totally taken away.

David lived, of course, a thousand years before the coming of Christ. We live two thousand years after the coming of Christ. And we now look back to the cross and we see, we see God's amazing grace and we see the brokenness of families. We see ruptured relationship. We see children that have been conceived illegitimately. And what do we see in the midst of all this? God's matchless grace in saving, in using, in blessing, even in spite of human frailty and sin. If there is a heart of repentance and yieldedness, don't ever underestimate what God can do with a mass.

Don't ever underestimate. I like to tell that story, you know, about the artist who was given a sheet upon which he was to paint something and that sheet had on it a terrible, deep, dark, ugly blotch of ink. The ink could not be erased and he had to work with it. Well, you know what he did.

He took it and used it as part of the picture that he painted and worked it into the landscape so that it became part of the beautiful, total picture. We could say, well, Solomon should never have been born. David should have never had Bathsheba as his wife. God overrules that. God overrules that. God brings forgiveness and he brings grace and he shows that. Now, Absalom didn't receive grace, he received justice because he didn't want grace. You don't find Absalom going around saying, you know, I want to get right with God.

But you find David doing that. And you find Solomon, and Solomon was a piece of work. I mean, he was really a mixed bag.

He was not a picnic to raise either, let me say. But yet, through it all, Solomon, the Bible says, loved God. Sometimes he loved other things too, but he loved God. And God blessed him and he became a part of the genealogy of Jesus Christ.

Why? Grace. Grace. I speak today to people whose lives have been fragmented by bad decisions and sins. And I say to you that you can either go Absalom's way, you can harden your heart, or you can go David's way. And so the question is, which way do we go? Do we bow humbly at the cross or do we go in another direction?

Would you join me as we pray? Father, we want to thank you that for all of David's faults, we thank you that he knew you and loved you passionately, and we've been blessed by everything that he's written. We thank you that we don't have to be perfect in order for you to use us. We thank you for his humility. We thank you that he came to the end of everything that had to do with him and in honesty, through himself and to your hands and mercy. We speak today to broken families, to those who have had fathers that have done more harm than good. We speak to those, Lord, who look back and they see a family that has been shattered by broken relationships and promises. Today, Lord, we pray that you might grant much encouragement and help us to see that there's forgiveness and cleansing and restitution and meaningfulness as long as we come your way. In Jesus' name, amen.

Amen. This is Pastor Lutzer. I want to speak to your heart today.

Many of you who have been listening to this broadcast, you've heard this message and you have really messed up. You look at your life and it's one of sin and failure and the impact of your decisions is being felt by others. I want to give you a word of hope. Even in the midst of your failure, God's grace is greater than your sin. That does not mean that the consequences of your sin will go away.

It does mean that in the midst of what you have done, you can still experience God's grace. Let's go back to the life of David. Earlier this year, it was my privilege to visit Israel and to stand where David's palace stood. We rehearsed some of the events that have taken place there and thinking about the past, both David's greatness because of his faith in God, but also the tragedy of his failure and the ongoing consequences. But I want to leave you with a word of hope today. Strictly speaking Bathsheba should never have been David's wife, but yet at the same time, their first son died as we know, but their next son was Solomon and the Lord says, I love Solomon on David's behalf. And Solomon of course became a great king. God can meet you where you are. That's why I wrote the book entitled Growing Through Conflict.

It's really a study of the life of David because I want all of us to be able to process both failure, success and grace. And this book, which I believe is going to be such a help to you, is available to you for any amount. Here's what you do. Go to

That's And in a moment, I'm going to be giving you a phone number. I'm giving you time, of course, to pick up a pencil. But at the same time, I want to thank you in advance for helping us financially.

If you are blessed as a result of the ministry of running to win, it's because others have also invested in this ministry. Thanks for helping us. Ask for the book Growing Through Conflict. Go to or if you prefer, you can even call right now 1-888-218-9337.

That's or 1-888-218-9337. Let us learn from what God has shown in His Word, both about sin but also about grace. It's time once again for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question about the Bible or the Christian life. Sometimes it takes years for people to see themselves realistically and then to see God as He should rightfully be seen.

Here is the story of Natalie. Why does it take so long for people like me to yield our lives totally to God? I was saved at an early age and married, I thought, happily. But my husband, in effect, divorced me without my knowing it.

Yes, that's what happened right here in the USA. It's a long story, but the good part is this. At last, God got my attention and I yielded my whole life to Him. How is it that I could be saved as a child and yet not really become a new creation until the age of 40?

Did it make a difference that I was now old enough to have experienced the world and had exhausted my own ability to cope with life? What does it take until some of us give up fighting God and finally submit to Him in all things? Only now, with all of these trials, have I experienced the reality of God. Natalie, I don't know why it is that it takes us so long to totally yield to God.

But you know, your experience is not unusual. There are plenty of people out there who say that God had to drag them from one briar patch to another before they put their faith in God, and truly yielded to Him. I'm so sorry that it took such a difficult experience for you to yield yourself to God, but thank God you did. And let your life be a testimony to others.

To yield and to finally give up self-will, Jesus said that unless a corn of wheat fall into the ground and died abides alone, may your life be an example to others that the sooner we learn that lesson, the better. Thanks for your testimony, and God bless you. Thank you, Dr. Lutzer. If you'd like to hear your question answered, go to our website at and click on Ask Pastor Lutzer. Or call us at 1-888-218-9337. That's 1-888-218-9337. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60614. Erwin Lutzer has concluded A Son in Conflict, the ninth message in his series Growing Through Conflict, a study in the life of King David. Next time, we see the end of David's life as Pastor Lutzer tells of a man dying with regrets. This is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-08 19:10:14 / 2023-01-08 19:18:57 / 9

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