A way to come back
In Second Samuel, we find the tragic story of King David’s son, Amnon, his half-sister Tamar, and her brother Absalom. It holds what I believe is a powerful and consoling prophetic verse that I’ve been pondering for weeks now.
Amnon violated Absalom’s sister, Tamar, and two years later Absalom vindictively killed Amnon.
After the terrible deed was done, Absalom ran. When the king heard what happened between his sons, the “king . . . and all his attendants” wept bitterly.
Absalom lived in exile for three years. Joab, a nephew of Absalom, knew the king “longed for Absalom.” So, Joab devised a plan. He sent a wise woman from Tekoa to the King to pretend she was in mourning and tell him the fictional story of her two sons who got into a fight, in which one killed the other. She said there was a family feud, and “the whole clan has risen up against your servant; they say, ‘hand over the one who struck his brother down, so that we may put him to death . . . They would put out the only burning coal I have left. . .'"
King David had compassion on her and declared, “Go home, and I will issue an order in your behalf.”
But she didn’t go home. She continued to plead for mercy for her son to which David said, “Not one hair of your son’s head will fall to the ground.”
Then she confronted him. “Why then have you devised a thing like this against the people of God. When the king says this, does he not convict himself, for the king has not brought back his banished son? Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But that is not what God desires; rather, he devises ways so that a banished person does not remain banished from him.”
David discerned that Joab was behind this scenario and asked the woman about it, and she confirmed He was.
Then David said, “Go, bring back the young man Absalom.”
Absalom was brought back, and in time, the king and his son were reconciled.
I have tried to condense seventy-two verses, and there are parts I had to leave out, so I encourage you to read this story in 2 Samuel 13 and 14. I wish I could say that Absalom went on to lead an exemplary life, but it was not so. But that still does not negate the import of the words the woman spoke to the king, “we must die, but that is not what God desires . . . he devises ways so that a banished person does not remain banished.”
These words are so much like the ones in 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
Way back during the time of David a thousand years before Jesus was born, a woman of wisdom spoke words that would resonate in the future writings of one of Jesus’s disciples. All along, God was making a way so that a banished person did not remain banished, and it culminated in the death of resurrection of His son. Because there is a way to come back, and that way is Jesus.
At one point in my life, I felt as if I were living in exile. But God in his loving kindness brought me back, and for that reason I have always felt a like mindedness with those lines in Charles Wesley’s hymn, “O for a thousand tongues to sing my great redeemers praise . . . “Because one or two tongues could never be enough. And even a thousand are not enough to praise God for all He has done for me.
So, if you are in a place where you wonder if there is a way back, trust me, there is. No matter how far down the wrong road you’ve gone, no matter where you’ve ended up, or how long you’ve been there, this does not have to be the last chapter.
So much more than King David longed for Absalom, God longs for you. But repentance would be the first order of business, then allow Him to come in and bring the restoration your heart longs for.
I repeat, there is a way to come back, and that way is Jesus.
Beverly Varnado is the author of several small town romances from Anaiah Press including her latest, A Season for Everything. All are available at Amazon. A memoir, Faith in the Fashion District, from Crosslink Publishing is also available as well as her other books, Give My Love to the Chestnut Trees and Home to Currahee. She also has an Etsy Shop, Beverly Varnado Art.
To explore the web version of One Ringing Bell, please visit bev-oneringingbell.blogspot.com
Beverly Varnado copyright 2022