2 Samuel 18:1-8 – Family Battles

Read 2 Samuel 18:1-8

two young boys arm-wrestling in the sand

King David is portrayed in several different ways in this text. As king and as a father, we see David in a bit of torment. Yet, he doesn’t let this stop him. He only asks, “deal gently with young Absalom.” David doesn’t use the word “son,” perhaps because it hurts too much to know his own son has turned away from him.

When his predecessor, Saul, learned that his own son, Jonathan had turned against him, he went bezerk. David does not lose his composure or ability to lead. In fact, he is seen as “too valuable” to go to war against Absalom.

David was ready to fight. He was ready to give it his all. God has ordained the outcome despite what David does or does not do. Do you think it was hard for David to stay behind and wonder what was happening on the front lines, to his own dear son?

David had been getting ready for this day long before the battle began. I’m saddened when I think about the civil war that is going on here. The Israelites are supposed to be as one, fighting on the same side. What corruption and evil has put brother against brother, and father against son.

Family disputes and dysfunctional families are nothing new to us today either. Yet few involve armies, commanders, and death of thousands. What family battles have you been party to during your life?

Every family has the troublemaker, the black-sheep, and the peace maker. There are many more roles that surface in our families, too, like the “caregiver,” “free-loader,” “busy body,” etc. I’m sure you can name a few. Our family dynamics depend on how everybody gets along.

I’ve been blessed to have a happier family life than most, except for the years married to my first husband. That was a very co-dependent time of my life as I lived constantly in fear. Those years taught me many strong lessons. The one I cherish most is the value of family and how to treasure a harmonious family dynamic. We may have our differences of opinion, but at the end of the day, there is love.

1 Corinthians 13:13 says, “Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.” Take some time today to think through this verse and how it shapes the way you live your life. Are you part of a family where you feel valued and truly loved? No matter what, you have a heavenly Father who loves you like crazy. Think on that, too.

praying hands looking up

Let’s pray …
Lord, I thank you for the family you have given me. I thank you for each one, with their own quirks and way of relating to the world. Keep each of them close to you, shelter them from evil, and spark in them the power of your Spirit. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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