By Sam Greer
Senior Pastor, Red Bank Baptist Church, Chattanooga
Futurologist, Alvin Toffler, in his book, The Third Wave, suggests three waves in American culture and their impact on the family. The agricultural wave was the time when Americans lived on farms out in the country. The industrial wave was the time when American families moved from the country to the city. The information wave is the present time when American families are living in a digital age. Toffler concluded: “If we define the family in today’s third wave as a husband, a wife, and two or more children, and ask how many Americans still live in this type of family, the answer is an astonishing seven percent. Ninety-three percent do not fit the normative second wave model of the family.” Throughout the halls of history and regardless of the waves of time, the family has always been and will always be under attack.
As my pastor and mentor said, “The family is in the crosshairs, and Satan has his finger on the trigger.” From the alleyway of abandonment, to the abyss of abuse, to the dungeon of divorce, to the love of lust, to the isolation of the internet, to the marital suicide of social media, the family is under attack. In II Samuel 13, the Holy Spirit offers three lessons from a family that was under attack.
First, sin leads to grief (II Samuel 13:15-20). Abuse, be it physical, mental, relational, sexual, verbal, or any other kind, is never okay. Abuse is always sin. In II Samuel 13:13, Amnon sinned against his half-sister Tamar. He lusted after Tamar. Amnon acted on his lust for Tamar. He raped Tamar. He abused Tamar. As a result, Amnon’s love of lust turned into hatred (v. 15). Seeing Tamar would remind Amnon of his own sin, so he forced her out of his sight for good (vv. 16-17). Perhaps King David was referring to seeing Bathsheba when he confessed to the Lord, “my sin is ever before me” (Psalm 51:3). Amnon’s sin led to his own twisted grief as he sent Tamar away.
Amnon’s sin led to Tamar’s grief. Tamar was abused by Amnon. Her abuse led to even more abuse. She was kicked out. Furthermore, she was no longer a virgin waiting to marry (II Samuel 13:17-18). Her grief was relevant as she tore the long robe she wore. Also, her grief was real as she cried aloud (II Samuel 13:19).
Amnon’s sin led to Absalom’s grief. Absalom, Tamar and Amnon’s brother, took Tamar into his household and communicated to her that he was working on a plan to avenge her (2 Samuel 13:20). Absalom’s grief was realized in his hatred for Amnon and his plan to avenge Tamar (2 Samuel 13:21-22). The entire family was grieved by sin. Your sin affects those in your family and in your life.
Second, sinners need to grieve (II Samuel 13:34-36). The abuser (Amnon) hated the abused (Tamar). The abused (Tamar) was devastated by the abuse (rape). Sin led to more and more grief, but also to more sin as Absalom killed Amnon. As a result, King David and his other sons grieved the sins of Absalom and Amnon ( vv. 35-36). Sinners need to grieve their own sin and the sins of one another.
Third, sinners need a savior (II Samuel 13:37-39). After a time of grieving, King David longed to be reunited with Absalom (v. 39). King David couldn’t save his sinful family, nor can you save yours. Jesus is the Savior you and your sinful family needs.