2 Samuel 18 – The grief of a father overshadows the victory of a king

2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33

5The king ordered Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, “Deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom.” And all the people heard when the king gave orders to all the commanders concerning Absalom.

6So the army went out into the field against Israel; and the battle was fought in the forest of Ephraim. 7The men of Israel were defeated there by the servants of David, and the slaughter there was great on that day, twenty thousand men. 8The battle spread over the face of all the country; and the forest claimed more victims that day than the sword.

9Absalom happened to meet the servants of David. Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great oak. His head caught fast in the oak, and he was left hanging between heaven and earth, while the mule that was under him went on.

15And ten young men, Joab’s armor-bearers, surrounded Absalom and struck him, and killed him.

31Then the Cushite came; and the Cushite said, “Good tidings for my lord the king! For the LORD has vindicated you this day, delivering you from the power of all who rose up against you.” 32The king said to the Cushite, “Is it well with the young man Absalom?” The Cushite answered, “May the enemies of my lord the king, and all who rise up to do you harm, be like that young man.”

33The king was deeply moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept; and as he went, he said, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!”

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying close attention to the deep breath.
  • As you pay attention to your breath, notice the places of grief and victory within you.
  • Which one needs to come to the surface first?  Grief?  or Victory?
  • Notice any tension that arises.
  • Where does the tension come from?
  • Is this your tension?  Or are you carrying tension for someone else.
  • Is the tension giving you life or taking life away from you?
  • Where is God in the tension?
  • If you are not sure, move toward that which is life-giving.
  • Consider the other, grief or victory.
  • Notice any tension that arises.
  • Where does the tension come from?
  • Is this your tension?  Or are you carrying tension for someone else.
  • Is the tension giving you life or taking life away from you?
  • Where is God in the tension?
  • If you are not sure, move toward that which is life-giving.
  • What is God’s message for you?
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, August 12, 2012, the Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33
Psalm 130:1-8
Ephesians 4:25-5:2
John 6:35, 41-51

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

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About Lil Smith

My simple life… is not simple at all. Yet it is so simple when I let God lead me. I have been married to Greg for 26 years and we have three wonderful children. My simple life is not simple at all. Yet it is so simple when I let God take control. I followed God’s call to begin seminary at Perkins School of Theology in January 2006. I graduated in May 2011. My life is not simple at all. Yet it is so simple when I listen for God’s call. I began the Degree in the Art of Spiritual Direction at San Francisco Theological Seminary in January 2009. I graduated in May 2011. My life is not simple at all. Yet it is so simple when I listen for God's call. I was ordained in the Presbyterian Church USA and spent three amazing years in Pastoral Ministry at Highland Springs Senior Living in Dallas, TX. My life is not simple at all. Yet it is so simple when I listen for God's call. My passion is the Christian Spiritual Life. As a spiritual director and retreat leader, I am so blessed to hear how God is at work in the world. How is God at work in your life?
This entry was posted in 2 Samuel, Burdens, David, Faith, Grief, Lectionary, Revised Common Lectionary and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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