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Thursday, October 13, 2011

How to raise a bad seed [3]

OK, back to work. Let's recap:

The king, David, has been busy running the nation and ruining his own life, he hasn't spent much time paying attention to his family. The most handsome man in the realm is David's favorite son, Absalom. Unfortunately, being handsome has also made him prideful. He has slain one of his half-brothers for raping their sister. But, rather than being executed, David has sent him away from the realm. David, however, still longs to have him at his side.

David ultimately allows himself to be tricked by Joab (one of his advisers) in order to bring Absalom back home after three years, with the stipulation that he cannot see David face-to-face. Absalom begins to work his way back into the good graces of the people, as well as David.

Absalom's motives were purely unjust. He wanted to possess the power that his father had. He begins by telling people on the way to see his father that the king did not have time for them. Not only this but, he also told them, "if only I (Absalom) were to be appointed judge in the land! Then everyone who has a complaint or case could come to me and I would see that he gets justice." (2 Samuel 15:4)

Absalom may be pretty, but he's not stupid. He knew that if he could gain the love of the people, he would have been in good standing with the people, and probably, eventually king. Eventually Absalom is successful in gaining the hearts of all the men in Israel and one of the servant tries to warn David.

Now it is David who  flees in fear that his people would turn against him. Absalom follows the advice of his friends, Ahithophel and Hushai, about how to overtake his father. During the chase Absalom and all of that pretty long hair of his gets caught in a tree. One of David's men finds Absalom hanging in an oak tree that his hair and reports it to Joab. Joab was angry that the man had not killed him and goes to do it himself. He stabs Absalom in the heart with three javelins. Then, ten of the armor-bearers took Absalom down from the tree, threw him into a big pit in the forest, and covered him up with a large pile of rocks.

Even after everything Absalom has done to him, David still loved him. When he heard of his death he cried "O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you - O Absalom, my son, my son!" (2 Samuel 18:33) Joab rebuked him for mourning so long and told him that he should return to Jerusalem and resume his rightful place on the throne.

This story is the epitome of indulgence rather than parenting. It is no great secret that indulgent parents tend to raise children who are self centered. How could King David, the "man after God's own heart," raise such a self-indulgent, self-centered, and selfish child?

Actually it is quite easy to do this. It hardly requires any effort at all. It takes work, effort and the pouring out of ourselves into them, to raise children who do not see themselves as the center of the universe...


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