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Tragedy to Destiny

 

2 Samuel 18:31-33

 

Just then the Cushite came, and the Cushite said, “There is good news, my lord the king! For the LORD has avenged you this day of all those who rose against you.”
32 And the king said to the Cushite, “Is the young man Absalom safe?”
So the Cushite answered, “May the enemies of my lord the king, and all who rise against you to do harm, be like that young man!”

   
33 Then the king was deeply moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept. And as he went, he said thus: “O my son Absalom—my son, my son Absalom—if only I had died in your place! O Absalom my son, my son!”

 

·      King David’s story of Absalom’s rebellion.

o   Absalom murders his brother Amnon (2 Sam 13)

 

o   David longed to be with his son Absalom anyway (2 Sam 14)

 

o   Absalom is allowed back in Jerusalem, but not in the sight of the King (2 Sam 14)

 

o   Absalom summons Joab, but Joab ignores the call, so Absalom sets fire to his fields

 

o   David forgives Absalom

 

o   Absalom then goes and tells the people about how much

 

o   Israel would be with him as judge and king.

 

o   David flees Jerusalem for his own life

 

o   Absalom desecrates the royal court with his concubine stunt

 

o   David’s mighty men fight and win

 

o   Absalom is killed

 

King David really suffers through much tragedy in his reign as king. With the loss of another son, grief hits his heart and soul, but his countenance has an effect on a nation.

 

We must remember that this tragedy for David was a fulfillment of prophecy due to his sin with Bathsheba in 12:10-11.

 

"Countenance is a press conference that your face calls to give the state of union of your soul." –Dudley Hall

 

 

I.              Conquering Countenance

 

·      The Absalom story is tragic and we could all have compassion on David and the understand the mourning of his son; however a principle arises here:

 

o   Our countenance (our outward expressions that display our inward beliefs) has direct influence over those around us

 

 1 And Joab was told, “Behold, the king is weeping and mourning for Absalom.” 2 So the victory that day was turned into mourning for all the people. For the people heard it said that day, “The king is grieved for his son.” 3 And the people stole back into the city that day, as people who are ashamed steal away when they flee in battle. 4 But the king covered his face, and the king cried out with a loud voice, “O my son Absalom! O Absalom, my son, my son!” – 2 Samuel 19:1-4

 

·      In 2 Sam 19:2, the victory that was prayed for, believed for, and many died for… was turned to mourning.

 

o   There is always damage and destruction from a spiritual battle.

 

o   The key is whether you can see that God allowed you lose certain things, relationships, and attitudes on purpose.

 

o   God’s plan was to see to Absalom’s destruction, not to kill Absalom as much as to kill what Absalom represented.

 

·      David’s countenance brought about discouragement from the people who were ready to bring him back as king, but no doubt set in.

 

o   When we bring our circumstances to a place of public display, we have a choice in our attitude:

 

§  Believe the circumstance is defeating us

 

§  Believe God is larger than your circumstance

 

o   No one wanted to be around David while he mourned

 

§  The fact is a time of mourning is adequate biblically, but when it causes others to stumble… we are now living in pity and despair

 

§  No one wants to be around someone who walks around in despair and defeat.

 

Ken Crockett once wrote:

 

One day my wife, Cindy, refueled our car at a filling station in a Texas town. Instead of driving up to the self-service pump, she accidentally pulled up to full-service. She didn’t realize the luxury service cost an extra fifty cents per gallon until she paid for the gas. Later she told me how the station had hiked the prices on full-service.

 

That extra fifty cents per gallon surely has to be a violation of some federal law, I thought. I quickly calculated that the extra 12 dollars she spent on full-service would have taken our vehicle 128.33 miles farther down the road if she had bought self-service gas. The “full-service gas station robbery” had me fuming for several hours.

 

As I was mulling over this terrible injustice, God showed me what I had done. I had sold my joy for seven dollars! I never realized how cheaply I would surrender something so valuable. Just as Esau exchanged his birthright for a bowl of soup, I exchanged my joy for twelve dollars’ worth of gas.

 

At what price are you willing to sell your joy?

 

 

·      Our reputation should precede our countenance, but when we consistently live in despair our countenance becomes our reputation.

 

5 Then Absalom said, “Now call Hushai the Archite also, and let us hear what he says too.” 6 And when Hushai came to Absalom, Absalom spoke to him, saying, “Ahithophel has spoken in this manner. Shall we do as he says? If not, speak up.”
7 So Hushai said to Absalom: “The advice that Ahithophel has given is not good at this time. 8 For,” said Hushai, “you know your father and his men, that they are mighty men, and they are enraged in their minds, like a bear robbed of her cubs in the field; and your father is a man of war, and will not camp with the people. 9 Surely by now he is hidden in some pit, or in some other place. And it will be, when some of them are overthrown at the first, that whoever hears it will say, ‘There is a slaughter among the people who follow Absalom.’ 10 And even he who is valiant, whose heart is like the heart of a lion, will melt completely. For all Israel knows that your father is a mighty man, and those who are with him are valiant men. 2 Samuel 17:5-10

 

·      We all need a Joab in our lives… someone who will tell you like it is. Your brother’s and sisters in Christ are to be an encouragement, but sometimes they are available for a good rebuke.

 

o   Sometimes our circumstances are difficult, and allow for mourning, but when the Hoy Spirit says to get up, we had better rise up.

 

II.            Obvious Obedience

 

·      David immediately got up and took his place as King, but his obedience did not end at simply assuming the position of king.

 

o   David now had to work hard at restoring peace in the kingdom

 

·      When we are able to rise from the ashes of our despair, our obedience has only just begun

 

o   Our obedience to God must be clear, visible, and concise.

 

o   Obedience requires a believer to love enemies, forgive those who hurt us, and MOVE ON!

 

o   Obedience does not require us to somehow try to piece together what was lost in a spiritual battle by God’s divine purpose.

 

o   I heard an old sermon from Bishop G.E. Patterson last night:

 

§  He mentioned how many Christians believe that they will get the blessings promised in the Word upfront with no conditions. He went on to say that this is not true, that each covenant God made with Abraham, Moses, and David was made with conditions of obedience built in.

 

III.          Victory Experienced

 

·      David experienced victory after obedience to his call. Although the victory was already set before him, David struggle to experience the victory until his countenance was lifted and he obeyed his call.

 

·      What is fantastic about this part of the spiritual cycle I bring to you this morning?

 

o   It is only when we experience the victory can we see what truly happened behind us and the Blessed Hope ahead of us.

 

·      The answers to life’s toughest questions come only in the victory experienced stage, or stage 3.

 

·      WARNING SPIRITUAL TRAP: The victory is always cut short when we believe that the answers to our prayers or the answers to tough questions is the prize. The prize is the next glory, the next glory, the next glory, until the final glory.

 

o   The Bible tells us that we should live from glory to glory

 

o   God “is” glory, so when he speaks, moves, and has his being among His people, He does it from His glory

 

 

§  We on the other hand experience glory from brokenness, and a broken person is the best clay our Potter can work with.

 

·      Let us not forget that God has made a covenant with his people, His children. When we sow in that covenant, we reap of that covenant.

 

o   Everything God does, he does in His glory. While we may give God glory in times of praise, and give glory in our testimony, He does not need it. Our obedience does not add to His glory, and our disobedience does not take away from His glory. Our obedience simply allows us to experience God’s glory, while our disobedience separates us from His glory.

 

·      How do we know that we are about to experience victory? The joy of the Lord!

 

The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.

Psalm 19:8

 

We will shout for joy when you are victorious and will lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the LORD grant all your requests.

Psalm 20:5

 

How great is his joy in the victories you give!

Psalm 21:1

 

Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.

Nehemiah 8:10

 

If the joy of the Lord is our strength, then that must be  part of our pursuit… the joy of the Lord!