Sunday, September 23, 2007

King David's Sons

King David’s Sons

II Samuel 13:1-19:43

The Tanach teaches us in many things. First, it is the history of Salvation and our need for a saviour. In addition, it lays out the spiritual rules by which we must live. It also specifically defines sin for us, and shows us how we must live.

The tragedy of David and his children is one that parents everywhere must take into account, so that we do not repeat the errors of King David. David, was to say the least, overindulgent of his children. When Amnom rapes his sister Tamar, David as king is obliged to enforce the law, but chooses not to do so. As a consequence, Absalom, takes justice into his own hands and does his brother in. David again does nothing, and Absalom conspires to take over the kingdom.

When Absalom is defeated, David nearly loses the kingdom again over his grief for Absalom. David in other words elevated his children to an undeserved height. Jesus tells us that we must love God above parents and children, but all too frequently, we like David, out children above God. When David allows Amnom to get away with raping his sister, David loses the respect of his family. David as father and David as King is obliged to enforce the rules. He does not because he loves his son, turning lose events which will eventually destroy the Kingdom.

The Bible tells us we are to honour our parents, and wives are to respect their husbands. The two are linked together. If the oldest child is allowed to disrespect the father, then it will follow through unless the cycle is broken. Unfortunately many women love their children more than their husbands, and if they see a conflict between their children and their husband, the child will win out, to the heartbreak of the husband, who then must live in an untenable position. (but even if the wife does not respect him or does not encourage the children to respect him, he is still bound by his marriage vows. The Christian partner is held to the higher standard, and his suffering will make him a stronger person). This is why it is so important to make sure that when you marry, that your spouse is a Christian as well (this is one of the commandments for Christians in the New Testament), and it really helps that the Christian maturity levels are similar. Sometimes people can be fooled. That is why year long engagements are a good idea.

So how to avoid familial conflicts: Before even getting married, the couple should make sure they are on the same page as to expectations of the children’s behaviour, whether any children are there or not. Depending on the culture, maturity etc., the wife may think that the children are not subject to the husband (especially if she has children from a prior marriage.) If this is your wife to be’s thought, go find someone else. Children living in a house are subject to their parents until they leave the house (note I did not say until they are eighteen or twenty –one.) If the child is over seventeen and feels that he or she does not fall under parental authority, then they should leave the house. A mother’s (or father’s) insistence that the child should stay only brings problems into the household, and the other children will be affected.

Another obstacle to watch for is the parent who desires peace at any price. Maybe this was David’s problem. He did not want to confront Amnon or Absalom, and he thought it was best to let the dead dog lie. True peace is not not yelling, or not having problems. True peace comes from subjecting our thoughts and actions to Christ. If problems are ignored in order to prevent a disagreeable discussion, then there is no real peace. It is a lie. Do we remember Neville Chamberlaine? He told the world that there would be peace in our time! How wrong he was. World War II was just around the corner. The same thing happens in families when we as Chamberlaine and Atlee seek peace at any price. Is your child on drugs? Your spouse looking at pornography on the Internet? Other unresolved problems? They must be brought out into the light of Christ’s truth, dealt with and resolved.

It is especially important to resolve problems in marriage. Marriage is the icon of Christ’s relationship with the church. The man must love his wife, being ready even to die for her and her salvation. The woman must respect her husband, and teach the children as well. The Bible words it like this for a reason, because God understands the difference between men and women much better than we do. If a wife does not give her husband respect or teaches the children not to respect their father (usually subconsciously) it tears the man down. Men have this need to be respected by their wives and children. If a man does not love his wife, it tears her down, for a woman needs to know that she is loved in a way that is not necessary for a man. Children who do not see the love/respect relationship in their parents have a more difficult time relating to Jesus Christ. Children who do see that relationship acted out have a much easier time relating to God (and their future spouses I might add).

Another thing to note, and the New Testament hints at this, when we live according to God’s rules, we do receive blessings. Where the man truly loves his wife, and where the wife truly honours the husband, the children are much more likely to grow up well adjusted. Where this love and honour are missing, children are much more likely to go wrong.

If these relationships are well established, then it easy for parents to get together on raising their children. This is of extreme importance as the children are the future of the church. Many children today, especially in the USA and Latin America lack the basic skills necessary to become good Christians. There reasons f or this, is boys are not learning to love their future wives. IF anything they are deciding not to marry or have children because in having children, they will not be able to buy the things they want and think they need. Girls are being taught in many ways, that men are not worth respecting. All think of marriage as an easily revocable contract instead of a life time commitment. Discipline is a four letter word, and those parents who attempt to teach self discipline are undermined by the great majority who do not teach it. If it feels good do it, seems to be the ideal for today.

So read the Tanach carefully. It is just as important as the New Testament in what we can learn about living, maybe more so, in what it shows through negative examples, especially in the lives of David, Abraham, Joseph and others. The keys to the kingdom are found here.

Shalom b'Yeshua haMoshiach,

+Mar Michael Abportus.


Anonymous said...

good word!

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