Today’s reading is 2 Samuel 12-21.
Scripture 2 Samuel 14:29-33
Then Absalom sent for Joab in order to send him to the king, but Joab refused to come to him. So he sent a second time, but he refused to come. Then he said to his servants, “Look, Joab’s field is next to mine, and he has barley there. Go and set it on fire.” So Absalom’s servants set the field on fire. Then Joab did go to Absalom’s house and he said to him, “Why have your servants set my field on fire?” Absalom said to Joab, “Look, I sent word to you and said, ‘Come here so I can send you to the king to ask, “Why have I come from Geshur? It would be better for me if I were still there!” ’ Now then, I want to see the king’s face, and if I am guilty of anything, let him put me to death.” So Joab went to the king and told him this. Then the king summoned Absalom, and he came in and bowed down with his face to the ground before the king. And the king kissed Absalom.
Absalom wanted an interview with Joab. It was because of Joab that Absalom had returned to Israel. Yet, he hadn’t seen his father’s face for two years. Surely in those two years, he grew quite irritated that his father wouldn’t see him. And he knew that Joab may be able to persuade his father. So, he sent for him. Twice. And Joab refused to come. Joab knew that the king didn’t want to see Absalom. So, Absalom burned his barley fields. He knew that Joab would come if he set fire to the barley. And Joab did. He came running, crying out, “Absalom, why are you burning my fields?”
Absalom felt like he was without guilt. He actually justifies his actions, “Look, I sent for you twice, and you didn’t come…” Then Note, “if I am guilty of anything, let him put me to death.” Absalom was bitter, ungrateful, and malicious. What a despicable man. And yet, he felt that he was without blame. Notice he said to Joab, “if I am guilty of anything, let him put me to death.”
When he did appear before the king, he received a kiss—a sign of reconciliation—rather than the punishment he so rightly deserved.
When I read this, I was at first outraged. How dare Absalom burn Joab’s fields, and then go before the king as if he was without blame. He had committed so many crimes that to believe himself innocent was ludicrous. But, then I read it again.
How many times have I committed sin, and yet, when I came before the Father, received pardon rather than the punishment I deserve? In no way were Absalom’s actions justified. Just as in no way are my sins without blame. And yet, David kissed him. Just as the LORD embraces every sinner who will humble himself.
Lord, help me to recognize the gravity of my sin when I am in it, and help me to humbly come before you. Forgive me and help me to live a life that is pleasing to you. Thank you, Lord, for pardoning me, when I deserve to be punished. In Jesus name, Amen.