Scripture Reading: 2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33
The king gave orders to Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, ‘Deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom.’ And all the people heard when the king gave orders to all the commanders concerning Absalom.
So the army went out into the field against Israel; and the battle was fought in the forest of Ephraim. The men of Israel were defeated there by the servants of David, and the slaughter there was great on that day, twenty thousand men. The battle spread over the face of all the country; and the forest claimed more victims that day than the sword.
Absalom happened to meet the servants of David. Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great oak. His head caught fast in the oak, and he was left hanging between heaven and earth, while the mule that was under him went on.—2 Samuel 18:5-9
A full two thirds of the 620,000 soldiers who died in the United States Civil War died of disease. This fact is a little hard to wrap our minds around both because of the sheer numbers involved and because with better health practices most of these deaths could have been prevented. War takes on a life of its own and its outcome becomes more important than collateral damage.
David’s third son, Absalom, was caught up in an accident. His apparently long hair got tangled in a tree and held him while his mule ran away and left him hanging there. He was fighting against his own father who had given an order that Absalom was to be protected, taken alive, I presume. He wasn’t. He was viciously killed not on the battlefield in the true sense of the word and against the direct order of the king.
It was a power struggle. Absalom wanted to keep his ascendency to the throne intact. Apparently he wanted the job before it became vacant. David wanted to keep power and keep his unruly offspring in his proper place. It makes me wonder how much of David’s relationship with God he share with his own children. Was he so caught up in being a king he forgot to be a father? Or did he try to train Absalom in his faith but Absalom only wanted David’s power?
We all have a responsibility to share our faith with the coming generations, not to cram it down their throats but also not to render it irrelevant. Our living our faith might be the best teacher of all.
Take my life, and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee;
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise. ** Amen.
**First verse of Take My Life see at https://www.hymnal.net/en/hymn/h/445
All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.