At times, for grins, I read the upcoming Sunday School lesson in the LifeWay books our church uses. Often, I struggle with the depth and application of these lessons, but they are what they are. However, this week is one I just cannot let go.
The main text used is in 2 Samuel 13-14, about David’s sons Amnon (his first born) and Absalom (his third). In the text, Amnon is lusting after his half-sister Tamar. He sets up a plan to be alone with her and rapes her. After the act, he despises her and leaves her in derision to her family. Well, Absalom knows that has happened and sets a plan in motion to kill Amnon for what he has done. It’s the ol’ two wrongs hoping to make one right. Which, of course, it does not.
Now here is the kicker. When David learns of what Amnon has done, he apparently does nothing! I suppose that is why, in part, Absalom does what he does.
As the story moves along, Absalom and David are estranged from one another over the incident. Absalom lives in another country for a few years. Then, with some convincing, David allows his son to come “home” but never sees or speaks to him.
Now the point of the LifeWay lesson centers around communication, primarily, communication within the family. Now I ask you, how in the world would effective communication made the situation any different? Somehow, we think in our Western mind, that other cultures value “communication” and methods of communicating, in the same way we do. I am not certain they do.
Do we assume that David never shared with his sons the lessons he learned from the adulterous affair with Bathsheba? Do we believe that David had no moral standards set before his boys? Do we believe that he never taught them the Shema, or any of the laws of God? Is this whole incident simply played out in order to fulfill Nathan’s prediction that there would be disaster in David’s house? A classic “be sure your sins will find you out” scenario?
Those, in my estimation, are the important questions to ask about the text. It is about what goes wrong when people do “what is right in their own eyes” with little regard for the consequences. That is indeed missed communication.