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Bible Reading: 2 Samuel 14.21-33

2 Samuel 14.21-33
Then the king said to Joab, “Behold now, I will surely do this thing; go therefore, bring back the young man Absalom.” Joab fell on his face to the ground, prostrated himself and blessed the king; then Joab said, “Today your servant knows that I have found favor in your sight, O my lord, the king, in that the king has performed the request of his servant.” So Joab arose and went to Geshur and brought Absalom to Jerusalem. However the king said, “Let him turn to his own house, and let him not see my face.” So Absalom turned to his own house and did not see the king’s face. Now in all Israel was no one as handsome as Absalom, so highly praised; from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head there was no defect in him. When he cut the hair of his head (and it was at the end of every year that he cut it, for it was heavy on him so he cut it), he weighed the hair of his head at 200 shekels by the king’s weight. To Absalom there were born three sons, and one daughter whose name was Tamar; she was a woman of beautiful appearance. Now Absalom lived two full years in Jerusalem, and did not see the king’s face. Then Absalom sent for Joab, to send him to the king, but he would not come to him. So he sent again a second time, but he would not come. Therefore he said to his servants, “See, Joab’s field is next to mine, and he has barley there; go and set it on fire.” So Absalom’s servants set the field on fire. Then Joab arose, came to Absalom at his house and said to him, “Why have your servants set my field on fire?” Absalom answered Joab, “Behold, I sent for you, saying, ‘Come here, that I may send you to the king, to say, “Why have I come from Geshur? It would be better for me still to be there.” ’ Now therefore, let me see the king’s face, and if there is iniquity in me, let him put me to death.” So when Joab came to the king and told him, he called for Absalom. Thus he came to the king and prostrated himself on his face to the ground before the king, and the king kissed Absalom.

What would you give to have a fantastic head of hair? According to ABC News, men in the U.S. spend almost one billion per year fighting baldness. A 2017 survey found that women spend about $80 and 11 hours per month on their hair at home and in the salon. The average woman will drop $55,000 in her lifetime on hair products and treatments. In today’s passage, we discover King David’s son Absalom was famous for his gorgeous (and incredibly thick) head of hair, and he didn’t have to spend a dime to get it!

After some prodding from Joab, David brings Absalom (and his amazing hair) back home to Israel from exile in Geshur. Although his brother Amnon was guilty of committing a heinous crime against his sister, Absalom sinned when he chose to take justice into his own hands and murder him. To call King David’s family situation complicated and broken would be an understatement! Although Absalom is back in Israel, David confines him to his own house and refuses to meet with him. It seems David’s purpose in this was an attempt to bring Absalom to full repentance for his sin and perhaps to show the people that the popular and handsome Absalom was not above the law.

Frustrated that he could not meet with his father the King, Absalom commits an act of vandalism to force the issue. Remember how the Prodigal Son came back to his father humble and repentant (Luke 15:18-19)? In contrast, Absalom comes back and burns Joab’s fields. When they finally meet, David’s fondness for Absalom wins out over his role as chief judge of Israel. He grants Absalom forgiveness without real repentance or resolution to the wrong done. Because of this, what appears to be a loving reconciliation between father and son will ultimately lead to outright rebellion and death.

As believers, we must be on guard against any sense entitlement or self-justification in how we approach our heavenly Father. Praise God that He loves us even more than David loved Absalom – too much to turn a blind eye to our sin.

Weekly Memory Verse: O taste and see that the Lord is good; how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! Psalm 34.8