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Absalom My Son, My Son is an historical incident sermon for Father's Day.
2 Samuel 18:33
Introduction: The study of epitaphs is a very interesting one. Many of us like to go into an old cemetery and wander about among the tombs, reading these epitaphs, and learning what people have said about their loved ones who have gone to another land.
But I want you to go with me today to another tomb. It is not a marble shaft...it is simply a great pile of rocks...a pit has been dug...a man has been thrown into the pit, and soldiers have covered his body with stones. What is the epitaph that I read there? It is not carved upon stone, but as I listen I hear it sobbing on the breeze: "O my son, Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!"
The one who is sobbing is David, the father, the mighty King. The one who is dead is Absalom, his handsome son.
Why is this wayward son here? Why has the pit been dug? Why these stones? Why this sobbing of the king? Let us look at this story and learn a lesson for our own hearts.
I. The Story of Absalom.
David was the great king of Israel. He ruled during the golden age of his country. He had wealth, honor, fame, and a fine family. His third son was Absalom. He loved him with all his heart. You would think that this son would have grown to be an honor to his father, for he had everything in his favor, but his heart was black with sin. He was jealous of his own father and wanted the throne.
He used all his charm and personality to win people to his side. He had plenty of charm, for we read that there was not a men in Israel as handsome as he was, and that he had not a single blemish on his body from the crown of his head to the soles of his feet.
Day after day Absalom stood at the gates of the city, and there he met the people who came up to make their complaints and to present their grievances. Soon he had gathered a great army about him and was leading a rebellion against the king.
When the time of the battle comes, David's army is victorious, and while Absalom was fleeing, his long beautiful hair became entangled in the low-hanging bows of the tree and Joab came along and killed him.
A messenger ran back to give David the news, but David did not ask about the battle...he cried out, "Is my son Absalom safe?" The messenger said, "No, the young man is dead."
Then we see the most dramatic scenes in the Bible. As David climbs the stairs I hear that cry wrung from his lips, "O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would God I had died for thee O Absalom, my son, my son!"
II. The Sorrow of the Father's Heart.
David had many sons. Why did he grieve over the loss of one? He loves all of his children, and the loss of one breaks his heart.
Here is a touching story: A rich man had no children, but a poor man who lived near him had seven children, and found it very difficult to make a living for them. One day the rich man wrote a letter to the poor man saying, "Give me one of your children and I will give you a house and land and money." The father read the letter to the mother that night and they decided that this would be the best course. They went into the bedroom to choose the child who would be given away.
When they came to the first bed the mother said, "Oh, he is just a baby. I can't give him up." In the next bed was a little boy with tear stains on his cheek. He had cried himself to sleep. The father said, "We must keep him." In the next bed was a little child who had suffered greatly. The mother said, "We cannot let him go. We must keep him and care for him." In the next bed was a little boy with a smile upon his face. He was always happy and brought joy and laughter into the home.
They couldn't possibly give him up. Then they came to the little girl who looked so very much like her mother, and the father who loved her devotedly, said, "No, we must keep her." They passed on into the room of the eldest son. He was steady and trustworthy, and they felt they could not do without him. Then they came to the last bed, and there lay the wayward son. He was the one who had gone astray and had caused them so much trouble, but the mother said, "We cannot let him go. He would have no mother there to pray for him."
And so the father sat down and wrote a letter and told the rich man that they could not give up one of their children, and in his heart he was just deciding that he would work a little harder in order to care for them all.
Is there a loving father anywhere who is willing to give up one of his children? some day you may lose your boy or girl; I would like to ask you two questions: (1) Could you stand it? Do you have a Savior to comfort ou and carry you through such an hour? (2) Have you taught that child the way of God, and is he ready to live and die and face the judgment?
Too much time is spent on the cares of this world and not on trying to lead our children in the ways of God.
III. The Sins of the Past and its Retribution.
David was "a man after God's own heart," but there came a day when God's man grievously sinned and God said "the sword shall not depart from thy house." As David wept over Absalom that day, he knew that he was paying part of the price of his sin. It was his fault.
I call upon you fathers to give your hearts to the Lord and to line up in His church. Make pals of your boys. Do not send them to church; go with them. Pray with them. Serve the Lord with them.
IV. The Sadness of a Wasted Life.
Absalom had wonderful opportunities. He had wealth, position, training and personality. He could have been a great king, but he was a miserable failure. He wasted his life.
Absalom no doubt built a costly tomb. He expected to occupy it when he died. He expected to have a great state funeral with all the nations to mourn and with the grand people of his time marching by in royal robes. He expected the coming generations to pass by his tomb and say, "Here lies Absalom, the mighty king."
But how different it was. Instead of resting in a marble mausoleum, his body, which once was so handsome and flawless, was broken and thrown into a pit. He was covered with stones, and there was no one to mourn him except the poor broken-hearted father.
Don't waste you life, give it over to Christ and use it in the wisest and best service in the world.
V. A Sign of God's Heart.
David wept and said, "Would God that I had died in thy stead." No human father can do that, but Christ felt that way about the world, and did something about it. He wept over a sinful, but that was not all...He went out to die for it and said, "Though you have sinned, I will take your place, bear all your sins and cleanse you and take you to Heaven." David wept over Absalom, but it was too late. God is weeping over you, but it is not too late. He will save you now if you will come to Him.
Absalom was a wicked, wayward son, but his father loved him; and God loves you.
Illustration: Tom and Joe lived with their father on a farm. Tom was quite careless and one day left the bars of the pasture fence down. The cows wandered into the field. The father told him that if this happened again he would be forced to punish him severely.
Joe, the elder brother interceded. Joe said, "that chapter told about how One suffered for another and I want to suffer for Tom. Let me take his punishment." And when the tears came into the father's eyes, he put his arms around both of the boys and the three of them wept together. There was no punishment for Tom that day.
That is what Jesus did for us.
Conclusion: God help every father, and mother, to say, "I will give my heart to Christ and will live for Him. I will set the right example before my children." May God help every son to say, "I, too, will give my heart to Christ. I will live for Him so that my father will never be forced to weep and to cry out, "My son, my son."
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