Day 29

Absalom’s Restoration

from the 1 & 2 Samuel reading plan


2 Samuel 12:26-31, 2 Samuel 13:1-39, 2 Samuel 14:1-33, Leviticus 18:9, Deuteronomy 22:28-29

BY Amanda Bible Williams

Editor’s note: Some passages in 1 & 2 Samuel, namely those in Day 29, deal in subject matter which might be especially painful for some readers. Though many of the wounds we receive in this life are deeply personal and unimaginably painful, when they appear in God’s Word, we are reminded that He sees them. Whenever sin is addressed in Scripture—whether through teaching or story—it comes to us in the context of God’s unwavering commitment to bring an end to all evil in this world through the finished work of Christ (Revelation 21:3-4). We are praying for and with you as you read.

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Scripture Reading: 2 Samuel 12:26-31, 2 Samuel 13:1-39, 2 Samuel 14:1-33, Leviticus 18:9, Deuteronomy 22:28-29

“I want to see it, Mom. I’m old enough.” This is what our daughter said to us recently as my husband and I watched the news. We flipped the channel as she walked into the room, and she objected, claiming she could handle it. She wanted, needed, to know what was happening.

It’s a hard line to toe—the line between protecting and equipping—and not just when it comes to children. Even as adults, it’s difficult to know the difference between necessary and gratuitous knowledge. The world is dark. The world is broken. We know this. But knowing in theory is not the same as knowing in fact. It takes coming face to face with the depth and darkness of sin to understand that these are not problems that can be solved with pen and paper and policy. These are problems of the heart.

I know myself. And I know—at least I think I know—the sin I am capable of. I know the darkness I’ve indulged, both in thought and in action, and this knowledge chills me to the bone. But I also know the sin that has been committed against me, sins I have rarely uttered and would be thankful to forget—injustices I may not see a reckoning for this side of heaven. Songwriter Ellie Holcomb sings a line that resonates deep within me, especially when those scenes from the past come calling on my conscience: “I need a rescue, I need a reckoning for all the things I’ve done and have been done to me.”

We all need a rescue. We all yearn for a reckoning.

Today’s passage contains, for me, one of the most difficult in all of Scripture. I have tears brimming in my eyes even as I type this. Tamar’s story makes my insides burn with anger and weep with sorrow at the manifestations of sin. Yet with the fire and the sorrow, I feel the tender voice of the Holy Spirit whisper to my aching heart, “I see this too. In the darkest of the dark—I am here, too.”

These passages from 2 Samuel show us the ugly truth of sin. Sin is deceitful. It is born and bred in lies. Jonadab designed a web of deceit, and Amnon was all too willing to step into it and make it his own. Sin creates desolation—utter emptiness. Amnon’s pleasure became hollow in an instant, and his sin dragged others into this misery. Sin leaves a wake of destruction. What is done cannot be undone. Yes, there is grace for the repentant, but there are still consequences.

I want to gather Tamar into my arms and tell her she is seen. I want her to know that though disgraced, she is valued. I want her to know that though discarded, she is wanted. I want her to know that though dismissed—the sin committed against her gone year after year unacknowledged—that she has a God who fights for her. I want to tell her all the things I wish I could tell myself every time I’ve felt disgraced, discarded, dismissed.

Our God receives us, rescues us, and restores us. This is the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

As we stand here at the end of these tough chapters of 2 Samuel, that is all I have in my hands today. I stand, weeping for the reality and consequences of sin, holding the knowledge that we serve a God who sees. He sees us in our struggle against sin, and He offers us His righteousness and strength (Romans 5:17). He sees us when we are hurt and hollowed out, and He offers us His unending, unbreakable love (Exodus 15:13). He sees the wrongs that plague this dark, sin-stained world, and He offers us His promise to make all things new (Revelation 21:5). He vows to dry our tears, not just with His compassion but also with His justice (Revelation 21:4).

Yes, this world is ever so broken. But God is here. He is the Healer and Redeemer, and He is with us.

Thank you, Jesus, for coming to dwell with us, for giving your life for the sins of the world. Thank you, Jesus, that the gospel is true.

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Post Comments (56)

56 thoughts on "Absalom’s Restoration"

  1. Danya Ho says:

    Our God receives us, rescues us, and restores us. This is the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ

  2. Lana says:

    Well done SRT and the SRT sisterhood. Amanda nailed it and the insight from the comments made a difficult text so much richer ❤️

  3. Allison says:

    Thank you for your response! It makes sense about protecting the woman from being an outcast, but why couldn’t the law simply say to punish the man and that the woman shouldn’t be an outcast? I understand this is in a different culture, but couldn’t God’s law have adjusted this so that a woman’s worth wasn’t based on her virginity? Especially when it’s taken from her. Also, how could the marriage be at all a good thing if this is what the marriage was founded on? (I hope my question makes sense, and thank you again for your help!)

    1. CJ says:

      I thought exactly this while I was reading too! Why on earth was it a good thing to be married to your rapist!!!?? So the way I reconcile this – and it is partly from Tamar’s response, it that the man has to pay for his actions. She would not be able to marry or support herself in those times. By NOT marrying her he condemns her to a life of poverty and being an outcast. I imagine it wouldn’t exactly be a happy marriage- but it was better than being discarded on the street. I imagine the deal would be that he would provide her space to live and the means to live well and that would be that. I guess he would marry other women too and Tamar would hopefully be able to avoid any intimate contact with him and just ‘live’. I agree though, the woman does get a bit of rough deal.

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