David wept for his son. Will God have to weep for us in the same way?
"And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept: and as he went, thus he said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son! (II Samuel 18:33)."
These words, so full of pain were what David said when Absalom his son was killed. Although a very sad and emotional event, it was nevertheless included in the scriptures to knock upon our hearts and leave a message. And now again David's words are bought before our eyes. It is a lament that could repeat itself over our own lives. If we replaced the name Absalom with our own, this lament could be for any one of us. David was Absalom's father; God is our father. David wept for his son. Will God have to weep for us in the same way? Does God weep for us? Why would He? At this point it is difficult to answer these questions because we're not entirely aware of the connection between our life and the life of Absalom. Let's first look more into the matter and ask the questions again later.
For many years there existed a beautiful relationship between David and Absalom. This was before what was in Absalom's heart began to manifest. Absalom was a son that David loved and loved him very much. Not only was he much loved by his own family, he was also loved by many. He was a handsome man and had a lot of charisma with the people. Many recognized how much his father had invested in him. He was the king's son and it showed. We find in him a man of firm convictions. He was very intelligent and had lots of personality. He had all the probabilities of succeeding to the throne. And, as with all men, his personality grew and developed. These characteristics of Absalom are recorded in the historical books of Israel, and in these accounts the Holy Spirit considered it important to mention a particular detail about him: his hair. It says that he had hair in abundance. He only cut it once a year when so much of it became an annoyance. It appears he liked his hair a lot. It's very likely that the people related him to his hair and would have found it difficult to think of Absalom and not think of his hair. Its length and abundance were part of his image.
Grant me now a liberty. Let's identify hair with an aspect of our lives: growth. Hair is something that grows continually while we live, and only stops growing when we die. This is the case with all of us, because it is a law of nature. Life is a growing process, and our development continues until our death. What we are doesn't stand still or stop, but continues to develop until our last day. Absalom's hair was there when he was born. It remained with him during his childhood; it was always present. Imperceptibly it was always growing. It was there during his adult years. Absalom grew, and his growth included not only his physical aspects like strength and appearance, but also the characteristics of his soul. His personality grew and his character became more and more unarguably unique. And it's the same with us. Not only does our body grow but also who we are develops. Perhaps it would be clearer to say, "ourselves." This "self" that we are grows, bringing us to what we are today. We grow and finally the day comes that we can firmly say, "This is who I am."
Our exterior man grows and also our inner man. And now, having mentioned the inner man, we need to stop a moment, because here there are some important details. One of these details is that we have received from our parents' characteristics that are lamentably stained in sin. This sin, incorporated in our lives by heritage, results in a despising of God and a not wanting anything that He has to offer. We will instead fight against the wind and sea to get what we want. This is the nature that we received from our parents and this nature grows from the moment we come into the world. But when the grace of God reaches us, when we receive His Word and the Creator then becomes our Father, another nature is born within: His nature which bring us to accept and want His will. This new nature causes us to want to be face to face with Him and contemplate His beauty. This nature, once born within, also has a process of growth and development.
So now in our inner man lives two lives: the carnal with its sin, and the heavenly, with holiness. And the two, along with everything else, grows! Yes, they develop, but under conditions. And this is another detail where "hair" gives an excellent type. The growth of these two natures can be interrupted or contained, because both of these natures only develop if we let them. According to the law of nature, hair should grow. But unless I allow it, it would never be long. It's the same with our inner life - the sinful side and the holy side - neither grow without our consent.
Our natural carnal sinful life grows like our hair. We don't see it grow and when it doesn't seem to weigh us down we live with it. As sin is so part of our nature it doesn't seem strange to live with it just like it doesn't seem strange to live with our hair. Absalom allowed his natural man - that which was really him - to develop all that it wanted until he got tired of it. Then, when what he allowed got too much, he had it cut. We are the same. When we've sinned and this sin begins to weigh us down we go to the "hairdresser." Every once in a while we will repent of something, confess something, or make something right with someone because our "hair" gets too long and our conscience begins to bother us. Once a year Absalom had removed the great weight and burden of his hair. But in between times it didn't bother him, so he allowed it to grow. Often we, in the same way, allow our carnal man to grow until it begins to bother us.
And this is the tragic part of the story: Absalom allowed his hair to grow long. This allowance caused his perdition. It wasn't only his hair that he allowed to grow... his entire personality grew out of control and in the wrong direction. It grew to such a degree that he rose in rebellion against the very one that gave him life - his own father, the king. (This is an exact copy of Lucifer's attitude when he rebelled against God and wanted to assume the place of the King!)
THE TRAGIC END
Just like us today, Absalom had the nature of a son of the King, but he took for granted, or underestimated the force of the other nature that coexisted in him - that of the flesh and sin. And, just like with his hair, he let that other nature grow until it consumed him and brought him to the place where he rebelled against the very one that gave him life.
The Scriptures tell us what this man got for loving his own hair so much and letting it grow so long, "And Absalom rode upon a mule, and the mule went under the thick boughs of a great oak, and his head caught hold of the oak, and he was taken up between the heaven and the earth;...(II Samuel 18:9)."
We often plan great things for the future, but we never know for certain on what path our mule will take us or just where its feet will tread. We say, I will go there or I will do this or I will say that, but the exact path that it takes us, which dictates the circumstances of our lives, is unknown to us.
Are we one of those that permits our hair (i.e. lease our sinful nature) to grow too long which could later result in trapping us in a branch (i.e. temptation) leaving us suspended between the heavens and the earth? Three darts thrust through the heart of Absalom finished his life. His death was not ordered by his father. On the contrary, David had given express orders that his life not be touched... nevertheless, Absalom was killed.
But who really killed him? We know the story, but it was really Absalom who killed himself. Technically it was another who actually ended the life given to him by his father, but it was Absalom who was responsible for what happened. Why? Because he failed to have his hair cut at the corresponding time... because he felt comfortable living with so much hair. His long hair is used as a figure, or as a type. It is a figure of the sinful attitudes of his carnality: that which he allowed to grow, because, in his opinion - and also in the opinion of many others - was good, was normal, and was natural.
How curious and yet poetical are these words: "...and he was taken up between the heaven and the earth;...(II Samuel 18:9)." This is exactly what happens with many of today's Christians. They let their "hair" grow beyond its limit and it affects their heart and soul. They are living dangerously. Some don't stop being Christians, but they don't stop the growth of their carnal nature either. They let their sinful nature take its coarse, and later, whether they want it or not - forced or accidentally - their heads come too close to low hanging branches. Yes, they are sons of the King, but are also close to being caught in any temptation that comes along. They don't "trim" their flesh. They don't deny themselves and, they don't know just how close they are to being "...taken up between the heaven and the earth."! It is inevitable that our mules will pass under great branches. Sin is in the world and attacks in many ways. But if we allow the sin that's on the outside to enter - allowing sin to dwell within us - it's the equivalent to Absalom allowing his hair to grow long. I hope not, but it's likely that this will result in you being "...taken up between the heaven and the earth."
The apostle Paul wrote, "Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth;...For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:...(Colossians 3:5,6)." And to the Ephesians Paul wrote, "That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;... And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness (Ephesians 4:22,24)."
Who killed Absalom? It wasn't David, but one of his men. One of David's faithful men, who, for him, there could be only one king. And in the same way, if three darts thrust us through, it would not be by God's hand, because the order of God is that His children be not touched. His mercy and His grace do not leave us even when our sins grow out of control against Him. But there are other servants of the Almighty that won't let the offence go by. The wrath and justice of God doesn't wink at sin. Who thrust through Absalom? Justice confronted him in battle and the wrath and judgment of God killed him. And what about us? Will we avoid His justice and His wrath just because we claim out loud that we are children of God, that we have found mercy, and that in us is the life of our Father? (This is what the Jews thought when they said they would go to heaven because they had Abraham as their father.) If in our lives, like in Absalom's, grows envy, pride, and evil thoughts, will we avoid the darts with these same arguments? As we said in the beginning, these things are in us and they do grow, but, nevertheless, there is something that we have which is our escape.
In the middle of his grief David cried, "O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son! (II Samuel 18:33)." David could do nothing more than wish that he could have done something. On the other hand, our God not only desired to do something but He could, AND DID! Yes, He did die in our place that we could have life.
Our carnal sinful nature was laid on the Son of God and it was crucified. It died and went to hell with Him. We don't need to wait till our carnal and sinful nature dies of old age - or that we kill it before that - but rather, we need to bring it to the cross because that is where it dies. When we come before the Lord at the cross and join with Him there, the death of our carnal nature results. Behold our salvation: The cross of the Lamb of God Who died in our place. It is there that the old nature grows no more. It is cut off by the sacrifice of Jesus. We don't have to live with our sinful nature, we don't have let it grow, and we don't have to just trim it when it begins to bother us... we can live with it, but that will get us caught in some great oak tree and leave us suspended between the heavens and the earth. How then can we escape the wrath of God?
We seek to walk in the ways of our Father. Having One Who died for our sins, we honor His work for us, and we can be clean, not giving place to our old nature but rather placing it on the cross of the Lamb of God.
And while we wait for the moment of the crucifixion of our sins, we "trim" them because, remember, if they are not dead they are growing.
Absalom had received life from a king and was being trained to become a king, but he lost it all because he let sin grow in his heart.
David wept for his son. Will Jehovah God weep for us for the same reason?
We said we would ask this question again.