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.