Samuel, Day 32: Doing Nothing Can Be A Sin Too


Read 2 Samuel 14-15:14

As awful as Amnon’s sin was (the rape of his sister) there is another sin that followed: the passivity of David.

When King David heard all this, he was furious. 2 Samuel 13:21

Yet he did nothing. He said nothing to Amnon.

So Absalom did something. After waiting two years for David to do something, he killed his step-brother. When the report came back to David it says:

The king, too, and all his attendants wept very bitterly. 2 Samuel 13:36

Yet David did nothing. He said nothing to Absalom.

Absalom fled the country to Geshur and stayed there three years in fear for his life.

King David, now reconciled to Amnon’s death, longed to be reunited with his son Absalom. 2 Samuel 13:39

But he did nothing. He said nothing.

Finally, Joab did something. If you notice, throughout the books of Samuel, Joab is the doer. He often does the hard thing that David is unwilling to do. In this case, he manipulated a scenario where a woman confronted David to get him to see the sin of passivity.

The woman said a beautiful thing about the heart of God:

Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But that is not what God desires; rather, he devises ways so that a banished person does not remain banished from him. 2 Samuel 14:14

She was saying, “Bad things happen that you can’t undo, like water spilled on the ground. You can’t get it back in the bottle. But that’s not God’s will. He wants to get the water ‘back in the bottle’ so to speak. God’s heart breaks for the banished person and wants to restore them.”

Her words worked. David agreed to let Absalom return. But then it says:

Then Joab went to Geshur and brought Absalom back to Jerusalem. But the king said, “He must go to his own house; he must not see my face.” So Absalom went to his own house and did not see the face of the king.  2 Samuel 14:23,24

David did nothing and said nothing to Absalom. This went on for two years.

Abasalom had had enough. He spent the next four years plotting an overthrow of his father. He gave his father plenty of time to intervene. It was obvious what Absalmom was doing. David should have intervened.

But David did nothing. He said nothing. So Absalom did what he felt he needed to do, revolt.

Isn’t it sad that, David, the one who wasn’t afraid to confront the giant in his youth, was afraid to confront his children? And isn’t it sad what it produced in them? They all would have been in a better place had David been more involved in their lives.

Today I want you to think about those relationships that you’ve been avoiding. What are the conversations that you need to have? What will happen if you keep avoiding them? Is it worth the risk? I hope David’s story moves you out of your complacency and into action.

Prayer: Father, help me to not be passive in my relationships. I don’t want other people to have to make up for my shortcomings like Joab did for David. I don’t want people to resent me for my absence in their life. Help me to find the courage and the wisdom to have the hard conversations I need to have and not permit anyone to feel banished as a result of my passivity. Amen.

Samuel, Day 25: Passivity Can Breed Chaos

1samuelRead 2 Samuel 1-3

These chapters describe a time of transition and chaos. Immediately after Saul’s death, Israel split into two kingdoms: the ten northern tribes followed Ish-bosheth, one of Saul’s sons. The largest tribe, Judah, followed their homeboy David.

It’s confusing to read the story of David because there was so much potential mixture in his motives. A good example is when the Amalekite came to inform David that Saul was dead. It seemed that the Amalekite was doing a noble thing: letting David know of Saul’s death, etc. But David had him killed for daring to lay his hand against the Lord’s anointed.

We’ve seen this theme before. David didn’t want to dishonor God by dishonoring the king. But you have to remember that David’s transition to king was a dicey affair. He didn’t want it to look, in any way, that this was a coup, meaning that he employed others to kill off Saul so he could be king.

So David went out of his way to distance himself from Saul’s death and made it known through the official record. He even published a song of lament that he had the nation sing to honor Saul. So…yes, he was honoring God by honoring Saul, but…he was also greasing his wheels to take over as king.

I can’t say if this was godly or human wisdom. I’m not sure if David was more concerned with honoring God or making himself look good to the Israelites. And the truth is: he probably wasn’t always so sure himself. That’s the nature of our humanity: there is almost always a mixture of intent.

But among the political jockeying and chaos, I see a new side to David: a side that we will see played out later on with his family. David was passive when it came to interpersonal relationships. Look at all the infighting that happened after Saul died. Where was David in all of that? He was trying to keep a low profile so no one accused him of any evil. But as a result, good men died.

Transition always brings a certain degree of confusion, but that can be greatly reduced if leaders take an active role in the process. David failed in this matter and it took seven years before the two kingdoms united under his rule.

My question for you today is this: does chaos exist in your life because you are failing to be actively involved in matters? Is there something God wants you to do to address what’s wrong with the relationships in your life?

Prayer: Father, help me to see how I might be passive in my current relationships. If there is something I can do, help me to see it and take the necessary action. Amen.