June 12 - Grief
Scripture Reading: 2 Samuel 18:19-19:43 / Acts 7:44-8:3 / Psalm 73:1-14
In our passage today we read of a Father’s love and grief. When David heard of Absalom’s death, he was shaken, shocked and shut himself in his room. (2 Sam 18:33) Even though Absalom deceptively took David’s throne and attempted to also take his father’s life, David’s love for his son would not die. As David’s men warred against Absalom’s Israeli army, David gave orders to not harm or kill Absalom. These orders were not followed as Joab plunged 3 spears into Absalom while he hung in a tree by his hair. Absalom’s pride, his hair, eventually led to his defeat and death.
Absalom’s death secured the rightful return of the kingdom back to David but that didn’t matter in light of his son’s death. David’s reaction brought a great spirit of heaviness and mourning over all the people. David’s army returned quietly and in shame as if they were soundly defeated. They didn’t celebrate God’s victory but mourned David’s grief.
Everyone handles grief differently but Joab realized David’s grief was not proper or productive. He speaks to David to inform him of the humiliation he had brought on Israel. They fought, placed their own lives in death’s way for the purpose of saving David and his family. David’s reaction clearly conveyed that the commanders and men’s lives were insignificant. “I see that you would be pleased if Absalom were alive today and all of us were dead.” (19:6)
Joab tells David to gather himself and address his men with encouragement and leadership. David’s men would certainly desert him if he failed to lead. David did do as Joab instructed and disaster was averted. At times, our grief may get the best of us but I am thankful for friends/family who compassionately speak life-giving words to us. There is a time to grieve and a time to heal... thankfully God does not abandon us. During times of grief, may the heaviness of our grief not destroy God’s plan for our lives.