The first result of David’s confession of sin was positive: forgiveness meant he would retain his position over Israel and his personal relationship with God. The second, and negative result, proved that even those devoted to God, in higher positions by his appointment, receiving greater honors by his grace, suffer equivalent punishment when their behavior flagrantly despises God. Keep that principle in mind when calculating God’s sentence on the Jews for rejecting Christ. Since he made Israel the center—navel—of history Ezekiel 38:12, their rebellion against God reached its completion in Christ’s ministry.
The sentence God imposed on David proved particularly humiliating by having the sword slashing from within his “own household.” Furthermore, though three of his sons, each in line for succession, experienced violent deaths, the most dangerous adversary humiliated the king by lying with his “wives in broad daylight” II Samuel 12:11—treasonously usurping David’s throne, a crime not to be forgiven.
Leading to a spiritual principle. First, parents need to model, practice and TEACH self-denial. The self-denial by which David lived—we can thank father Jesse for modeling that for his sons—and forsaken but once, had no positive impact on his infamous sons Amnon, Absalom and Adonijah. Whoever tutored them had no success tempering their egotism. When tutors reported their preening selfishness to David, he refused to get involved. An offense against them that I Kings 1:6 detailed. If Jesse had been so permissive with David, he would never have been the king of Israel and the namesake of Israel’s Messiah. In that sense, Jesse proved a greater man than David. Jesse produced a David, who produced at first only three malcontents.
The lesson is: being a devoted Christian doesn’t automatically make one a competent parent. Different rules apply to each. Sinning against God brings the magnificent grace of Jesus to us on confession and repentance. While offenses against children—the most important being a refusal to model a disciplined self-denial followed by punishment when that fails. The one response parents want to avoid is thinking the phases of childish self-will naturally vanish as they mature. They instead grow into more intransigent self-will. A child must learn that God rewards obedience to his word and dishonors any disobedience.
The second spiritual principle is to learn and practice objectivity in dealing with people. Particularly the people we love too much to apply to them the same objectivity we use for others. For example, David couldn’t believe Absalom would be the Hebrew equivalent of mythical Greek Narcissus, thoroughly in love with himself. David let himself be convinced that Absalom would be true to the rules of hospitality in his day: that all guests in a man’s home had safe conduct. All the while, Absalom pre-determined to slay Amnon II Samuel 13:23-26.
However, once Absalom advertised his treason, David had no doubt about his ruthlessness, even towards him as ruling king II Samuel 15:13-14. Then there was Sheba’s far less dangerous usurpation after Absalom’s uprising had been destroyed. David was more objective about Sheba’s danger than Absalom’s. End Part V