Sunday, September 19, 2010

Is the Young Man Safe?


As parents and leaders, one of our greatest charges is to help make the way safe for those who follow us. Second Samuel 18:24-33 narrates David’s concern for his rebellious son, Absalom. David had seen many victories, yet when Absalom revolted David left the city wet with tears (2 Samuel 15:30). When David’s men restored law and order by conquering the young rebel, David cried, “Would God I had died in your stead” (2 Samuel 18:33).

Victory brought no consolation. Restored power and wealth lost their value
because David had brought into the world one who had died as a traitor.

As a son of David, Absalom was a prince in Israel. He enjoyed opportunities not available to ordinary people. He exercised power and position; his good looks oozed with personality. What reasons had he to fail and fall?

Second Samuel 13:22 tells us Absalom hated his brother Amnon. This hatred festered for two long years while Absalom plotted revenge and murder (2 Samuel 13:32). Absalom invited David to the feast, but David declined because too busy. In response to Absalom’s urging, David sent Amnon whom Absalom killed. Amnon had not only defiled Absalom’s sister, but as first-born son, he stood in Absalom’s way for the throne.

Absalom was extremely vain. He had a pillar erected in the King’s Valley and called it Absalom’s Monument. Second Samuel 15:4-6 describes undermining the king and stealing the hearts of the people coming to the king for redress. Absalom used his charming personality to win the people. After four years of this farce, Absalom used religion as the needed cloak to disguise his going to Hebron and starting the insurrection.

Our world is full of Absalom’s, who want the shortcut to the throne, who want total control in their own hands. Not content to let power come through normal channels, Absalom needed an ulterior way and seduced the people to revolt.

The world is also full of David’s, fathers who know of a child who wants a shortcut, men who do not consider the possibility of ulterior motives when events appear out of the ordinary--as when Absalom wanted Amnon at his feast.

There are David’s who do not try to soothe a wound as was the case with Absalom living in Jerusalem for four years without seeing his father’s face. With that, Absalom finally set fire to Joab’s field in order to get the dad’s attention!

When David learned of the truth of Absalom’s rebellion, it broke his heart. But it was too late--events were final.

What about your young men and women? Are they safe? Can they follow your example? Are they safe when they worship, drive a car, work, live life the way you do? Have you talked to them about sex? Liquor? Tobacco?

Are vain attractions tangling your young people and leading to their spiritual death even as Absalom’s attraction led to his physical death?

Is your young man safe in church? Absalom went to Hebron on his own to “worship.” He took others with him. It was a veneer to cover his real self.

Is your young man safe in your home? Is he learning the values of praying, tithing, attending church? Will your values lead him to right living and committed service or to an eventual “hanging” in rebellion? Racing away on a mule, Absalom’s long hair got tangled in an Oak tree. Many a person rides a pet mule and eventually gets hung up by something that unexpectedly catches him or her and leaves them dangling. Stubborn running from God’s authority sometimes leads to getting hung up.

How safe is your young person? Do you know something of the goals and plans of your young person? If they follow your example, can they expect to walk in safety and security? How safe are those who follow behind you?

From Warner’s World, I am

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