Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Payback is Hell!

“If a man payback evil for good, evil will never (emphasis mine) leave his home.”
Proverbs 17:13

If there ever is an incentive to treat others fairly, here it is; the “Golden Rule” on steroids, containing ominous implications. There are repercussions and they’re hand delivered by family members. Perhaps the intrigue and devastation rampant in the royal family inspired Solomon to pen this verse. Incidents in the life of his father David, the king, proved payback is hell.
2 Samuel 11 contains the familiar story of David and Bathsheba. In her defense, Bathsheba had no choice when summoned to the palace. She mourned her husband’s death, (verse 26) hardly the action of a harlot. Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah, was a loyal soldier in David’s army. She had just completed her monthly ritual of purification, in other words, she wasn’t pregnant (verse 4). Her encounter with David changed that. A surprise impending birth announcement set off a chain reaction of events to cover up the king’s indiscretion and opened the door for evil in the royal household (verse 5).
David loved God passionately. Confronted by Nathan, the prophet, David confessed and repented (verse 13). Assured of God’s forgiveness, David learned there’d be consequences for his actions. “This is what the Lord says; “Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you…you did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel’” (2 Samuel 11:12).
The first tragedy was the death of the son born to David and Bathsheba. “Because of doing this you have made the enemies of the Lord show utter contempt, the son born to you shall die”( 2 Samuel 12:14). David’s actions negatively impacted his enemies’ impressions of God. This still happens when Christians fall. What we do touches lives of people we don’t even know; a sobering thought.
            The heartbreaking death of the innocent child was the beginning. 2 Samuel 13 recounts the incestuous rape of Tamar, David’s daughter, by her step-brother Amnon. When informed of the incident, David was angered, but did nothing. Tamar’s brother, Absalom was also enraged. I believe David’s lack of response to Tamar’s rape provided fertile ground for a root of bitterness to develop in Absalom. Biding his time, Absalom waited to exact revenge for Tamar’s disgrace. Under the guise of a party for the royal household to celebrate sheep shearing, Absalom crafted a plan and had his step-brother Amnon killed (2 Samuel 13:28).
            The murder of his son severely strained the relationship between David and the unrepentant Absalom. After a self imposed exile, Absalom elicited Joab for assistance in gaining access to his father the king. Joab’s refusal resulted in Absalom burning his fields; what a guy! Even reinstatement in the palace was insufficient. Absalom spent four years carefully plotting his coup. He endeared himself to the people and, “stole the heart of the men of Israel (2 Samuel 15:6). Declaring himself king, Absalom openly rebelled against not only his father, but also against God’s anointed. A showdown was inevitable and in the battle Absalom died.  
Absalom wasn’t the only son who tried to grab the throne from his father David. Adonijah attempted to set himself up as king of Israel and failed (1 Kings 1: 24-25).
David sinned, repented, received forgiveness and still suffered consequences. We can learn from his mistake, heed the warning in Proverbs 17:13 and govern our lives accordingly. Our actions have repercussions and payback really is hell.

1 comment: