Sermon: Lessons from Absalom and King David

Sermon: Lessons from Absalom and King David


I  am convinced that  the  three  greatest things for the healing of a relationship are Love, Acceptance, and Forgiveness. This story has got to be  one of the saddest in all of  scripture. Here are  a father and a son, both of whom  loved  each other, but they died as enemies. It didn’t have to be  that way. There are undoubtedly  some  damaged relationships  here  today. Can  we  learn  some lessons from the story of David and Absalom?

Read 2 Samuel 13:1-38; 18:1-33

1. Absalom’s grievance with his father

A. Amnon was David’s oldest son. Absalom and his sister Tamar were born of a different mother than Amnon. Amnon who burned with lust for his half-sister Tamar, tricked her and raped her. Because of his powerful position as the legal heir, nothing was done about his crime.

B. Absalom seethed with frustrated anger for two years for what Amnon did to Tamar. Anger at his own failure to retaliate and anger at his father for his failure to avenge Tamar’s disgrace.

C. Though David was able to forgive Amnon for what he had done, he failed to communicate this to Absalom. There appears to be little communication in the King’s family.

2. Absalom’s chosen course of action

A. Important to remember that he had a choice. What should he have done? Go to his father and discuss his inner feelings!

B. Instead he seethed with anger and bitterness for two years, plotting vengeance on Amnon, finally killing him. Honestly, how many of you gave a silent cheer for Absalom for what he did?

C. It seems that justice was done. “There is a way that seems right to a person, but its end is the way that leads to death.” Then he went into self-imposed exile for three years.

3. The tragedy of unspoken love

A. David loved Absalom, (2 Samuel 13:39). He had forgiven Absalom for killing his half brother. But for three years he did not follow his heart and go to Absalom.

B. Only after a wise woman tricked him did he send for his son Absalom. (Mr. Macho wouldn’t bend!)

C. Note also that Absalom too loved David, his father, (2 Samuel 14:32).

4. The sad and cold encounter

A. Don’t let the word “kissed” mislead you; this was a formal, ritualistic greeting, (2 Samuel 14:33).

B. The clue is what is not said; there are no tears of repentance, there are no cries for forgiveness, no explanations, no joyous reunion. Just cold formality!

C. Even after sending Joab after Absalom, David and his son live for two years in the same city and never see each other! They loved each other, but their stubbornness kept them apart!

5. The tragic end

A. In the very next verse (2 Samuel 15:1) Absalom begins his treacherous plot to take his father’s throne. In the ensuing battle his hair gets caught in a tree.

B. Joab spears him with three spears and he is killed by Joab’s armor bearers. News is brought to David of his son’s death

E. The scene closes with King David weeping, “Oh Absalom, my son, oh Absalom my son”


What might have been? If only foolish pride had not gotten in the way. “Like father, like son”. David and Absalom sinned the same sin, both lacked the courage to say “I love you!” If you have sinned that sin, will you today confess it to God, and then be reconciled to whomever you need to?

Taken from Dr. Arnold Lastinger’s personal sermon notes collection

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1 Comment

  1. Ann

    I was led to read more into the relationship of David and Absalom. I felt that David of all people would know what it felt like to have a family member against and not for them. It shows that although you can be someone who has a relationship with God that you can also have a very human side.

    I was seeking out aspects of their relationship. I have a mother who is very cold toward me and I've tried every way that I know to love her and communicate my feelings. Each time I try it turns into an argument because she can never accept my feelings or responsiblity for how she has hurt me. It doesn't take much to apologize. My own mother has slandered, gossipped, and spread lies about me and about my female pastor who is like a mother to me.

    I feel she's always been jealous of our friendship/mentoring relationship. I've given her opportunities to be a mother to me regardless of the countless evil things she has done to me. I have lived almost four years hundreds of miles away and yet according to family memebers she keeps slandering me with rumors. She never calls me, I think in the years I've lived away she's only called me about 3 or 4 times! I just don't understand how a mother can be so cold and awful to a daughter. I will never understand.

    I've prayed so much about this situation and have self examined myself, I've apologized even when I didn't need to for the sake of keeping contact or keeping the peace. Well, I'm done. This last rumor was the last straw. No doubt it was hurtful but I'm so happy where I am living and I know God has sent me here that I don't want all this stuff to rob me of my life here anymore. I think we hear a lot about that children are rebellious, the children are this or that. But a lot of the times it's due to the parents. There are instances like mine where I have done nothing wrong for my mother to treat me the way that she does….I moved out at 22yrs old and went at it on my own, I think her old fashioned upbringing has really ingrained control in her. It was a big tragedy when I moved out, and when I moved away, etc.

    Most parents would be proud of me. I serve God, love Him more than anyone or anything, I'm sweet, compassionate, help others, and have a heart to be in full time ministry. But yet I'm still always doing something wrong in her eyes because I'm not around her 24/7 or doing what SHE thinks I should be doing. I feel for other young adults like myself who have a mom/dad like mine. I've shared everything with her and my dad about my feelings….I'm now 30yrs old and I have come to a place in my life where I see she is who she is and may never change.

    But for me, I am forced to end communication with them for the sake of my well being, spiritually, mentally, emotionally. God doesn't want us to be abused and mistreated. I feel like I've come a long way after enduring about 8yrs of this nonsense from her. You can't make someone love you or treat you the way God wants. There are parents who will not accept responsibility for the evil that they do to their own flesh and blood! In the church world you often hear preachers speaking about rebellious kids and honor your mom/dad. What about the scripture that says not to anger your children? HELLO?!?!! I think, actually I know, of many people who suffer this same fate and never speak about it. They are made to feel so guilty and condemned, the good old "guilt trip" by parents when clearly it says there's no condemnation in Christ. I want to say to anyone who reads this or the article posted, that if you feel you haven't done anything wrong in a strained relationship, then move on with God. Forgive and let go. Leave the outcome be with the Lord. It may be reconciled or it may not.

    I can't tell you how many times I've had to swallow my pride, run to my mom and apologize for how conversations ended, even when I didn't do anything wrong. For the sake of peace but also because of that whole condemning spirit. Two people have to have an attitude of reconciliation for any reconciling to take place to begin with. I simply cannot change the fact that my own mother speaks ill of me to others and lies about me, with that I cannot work with, because you can't trust someone like this is truly genuine, they have to carve out a new history to show that they've changed.

    There are times where the person who has done wrong needs to apologize to make things right. If we always fix things, then we could interfere with what God may want to do in that person. What the above article mentions can only take place with two willing and genuine parties. I hope that this helps someone in need today. Thanks. The Father's love and blessings. PS-I have a beautiful adopted family that God has given me & I think what has helped me is finding a Father's love in God and also those He has sent around me to love me like a father/mother would. =) To him who overcomes….overcomers are promised certain gifts from the Lord! Mentioned in Revelation.

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