“Now therefore, I pray thee, speak unto the king; for he will not withhold me from thee.”
II Samuel 13: 13
King James Version
“Tamar, Amnon, and the King”
“A person’s character and their garden both reflect the amount of weeding that was done in the growing season.”
What actions in my life have revealed the core of my character to others?
“It is not what he (she) has, nor ever what he (she) does, which directly expresses the worth of a man (or woman), but what he (she) is.”
“He (she) is rich or poor according to what he (she) is, not according to what he (she) has.”
Henry Ward Beecher
I hope you never get tired of me saying that the Bible continues to surprise me, especially with the marvelous nuggets of truth and insight we find hidden in the most unusual places.
Today’s text is just one of many times when I’ve said to myself, “I never read that before!” And maybe this passage will be new to you, too.
Yesterday we studied about the “shameful” act that Amnon committed against his own sister, whom he raped. And we heard the distraught Tamar cry out, “Why do you shame me this way?”
But if we read this passage too quickly, we will miss a key ingredient in the reason there was an unraveling in David’s family.
During the crisis between Amnon and Tamar, the daughter of David said to her brother Amnon, and I paraphrase, “If you want me so badly, go ask the king for permission for he won’t ‘withhold’ me from you.” (This conversation, for your reference, can be found in II Samuel 13: 13).
To increase my understanding and yours of this verse, I looked up the word “withhold” in my Hebrew dictionary. What a revelation this was! This word “mana” means to “debar” or to exclude, shut out, forbid, hinder or prevent. But there’s more! The word “debar” can be used in both a positive and negative way. In other words, what Tamar may have actually been saying to Amnon was that for good or bad, no matter what the end result would be for her, the king would not deny Amnon his wish. In fact, some have suggested that Tamar was going so far as to tell Amnon that if he wanted to marry her, certainly the king would not say, “No!”
Sadly, Tamar didn’t even refer to David as, “Dad” or “Daddy” or even “Father.” What she seemed to recognize was that her reputation and desires were viewed as expendable by King David, especially in the face of what her brother Amnon wanted. So she told her potential rapist, go ask the king – a man who was her father -- and he’ll give you his consent to do whatever you want.
This heartbreaking exchange between two siblings, both children of David, shows us with clarity how David’s own evil behavior had impacted everyone in his household. And it helps us better understand that when the “chickens came home to roost,” as we will see in the coming days, the revenge and treachery that festered within the lives of David’s offspring, were only a harvest reaped from the wicked seeds David himself had sown.
What we will also recognize is that when you and I fall below any level we could ever imagine, we have a Father whose forgiveness is so deep there is no “low point” too low for Him to reach down and rescue us. This is why, throughout all the Psalms, we find David extolling God for His mercy that endures forever. For believe me when I say, David knew where he had been and he understood what gracious kindness had been extended to him. It was from his grateful heart, that his voice arose in gratitude with the words, “O Lord my God, I cried unto Thee, and Thou hast healed me. O Lord, Thou has brought up my soul from the grave; Thou has kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit. Sing unto the Lord, O ye saints of His, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holiness” (Psalm 30: 2-4 K.J.V.).
There is something else, though, that we can learn from this passage in Scripture which is our text today. As I read where Tamar referred to her own father as the “king” rather than her “Dad,” I thought about my relationship with my own earthly father whom I called “Daddy-Boy!” It was my special and personal name for my dear father throughout his life. And even on the headstone that marks his grave, the name “Daddy-Boy” is etched in that small piece of marble. That name for me was a symbol of a tender relationship. A special dad and daughter connection. While I know there are many of God’s daughters here in Transformation Garden who were not blessed with a father like mine, I want to leave you with the wonderful news that you do, as a daughter of God, have a Dad whose love for you is like none other in the universe. And when our heavenly “Dad” sent His Son, Jesus, to earth to give us an up-close-and-personal view of what our “Dad” was like, Jesus used words like, “daughter,” “son,” and “woman (a term of deep respect in that culture). In response, the women who followed Jesus called Him, “Master,” “Lord, and Friend.” This is the gift, an offering so to speak, from our Dad’s hand and heart to His children whom He invites into His family. We can call our Father, “Our Dad!”
“Thou hidden Source of calm repose,
Thou all-sufficient Love divine,
My help and refuge from my foes,
Secure I am, if Thou art mine;
And lo! From sin, and grief, and shame,
I hide me, Jesus, in Thy name.”
“Search me, O God search me and know my heart,
Try me and prove me in the hidden part;
Cleanse me and make me holy as Thou art,
And lead me in the way everlasting.
Give me the heart that naught can change or chill,
The love that loves unchanged through good or ill,
That joy that through all trials triumphs still,
And lead me in the way everlasting.
Take my poor heart and only let me love
the things that always shall abiding prove;
Bind all my heart strings to the world above
And lead me in the way everlasting.”
A. B. Simpson
Dorothy Valcarcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.