“Absalom son of David had a fair sister whose name was Tamar, and Amnon, her half brother, son of David loved her. And Amnon was so troubled that he fell sick for his half sister Tamar, for she was a virgin, and Amnon thought it impossible for him to do anything to her.”
II Samuel 13: 1, 2
“The Children Were Watching ”
“Children need models more than they need critics.”
What do I think David’s children witnessed in their lives that influenced them?
What do I think the children in my life are witnessing on a daily basis?
What will the children around me see to help them in their walk with Jesus?
“O, what a tangled web do parents weave when they think that their children are naïve.”
“It is better to build strong children than to try to repair adults.”
He was the king of Israel and Judah. A masterful wordsmith. A poet, musician and warrior. In love, he could have anything and everyone his heart desired – a house full of women and children proved this point.
From the outside looking in, David’s subjects must have thought he had it all. But underneath the phony shell which covered up the immense trouble in paradise, lay a cauldron that was brewing, made from the vile ingredients David had cast into the pot.
Sadly, our text today, which begins II Samuel 13, draws back the curtain on the tyranny within the walls of David’s own home As the prophet Nathan had warned David, because of his sinful behavior, his wives would not be loyal and the sword David had used to bring terror into another family’s life would be used within his own household.
Evidently, during his capricious escapades, David must have given little consideration to the fact that his children had watching eyes and listening ears. And they saw more than David could ever have imagined. What’s more, they heard the gossip, too!
Once these young ones grew to the age when they believed they could flaunt the rules like their dad had, they began to exercise their disobedience and rebellion. If dad could do it, why couldn’t his sons? And since, in this time in history, it was the sons who had the power, we see David’s wayward actions coming back to haunt him in the behavior, at first, of his son Amnon.
One of David’s most overlooked mistakes in his life was the promiscuous way he went from one woman to another.
Let’s not say it was just the way things happened during this time in history. Multiple wives with multiple children may have been how the nations around Israel chose to live, but when God’s children dabbled in this demeaning behavior, tragedy was the result. Look no further than the Abraham, Sarah and Hagar debacle and you’ll immediately recognize that the children which resulted from these various relationships often suffered greatly.
David’s family was absolutely no exception. With at least six or seven wives, and all of them having children except for Michal (at least the Bible doesn’t record she had children), the competition for a father’s attention turned into a free-for-all. With the offspring of all these wives running around the house, at some point, raging hormones might take over and rule the day.
This is exactly what happened when we find that Amnon, one of David’s sons, had an extremely lustful desire to have sex with his half-sister. Both Amnon and Tamar had the same dad, just different mothers. Any relationship between the two had been forbidden by God. But the Bible says that Amnon was so desirous of Tamar, he was “vexed”, or as the Hebrew states, he was “distressed” or in “narrow straights.” He couldn’t move. He couldn’t do a thing. In fact, the Bible continues to describe Amnon’s condition as being, “sick,” which in the Hebrew means to be “grievously ill and weak.
By no stretch of the imagination was Amnon’s behavior what you and I would consider normal. Amnon was filled with such a pernicious craving for Tamar that he could not think or act with any sense of rationality. Does this sound familiar? It should because this is exactly the behavior we saw in David when he demanded Bathsheba – an all-consuming desire that clouded his judgment and led him to take on behavior that at other times in his life he would have found reprehensible.
And all the time, the children were watching. Tragically, what they saw wasn’t good and holy. What they witnessed did not bring glory to their heavenly Father.
What a lesson for you and me! Not long ago, a friend was lamenting the behavior of one of his children, whom I might add was only reflecting behavior she had witnessed in her own father’s life. It is hard to decry what we see in the lives of our children when their actions may be only an imprint of something we have contributed to ourselves.
Several years ago I shared a little commentary by an unknown author called, “When You Thought I Wasn’t Looking!” I had so many requests to reprint this but I wanted to wait until the story of David for it is in his life more than any other, when we find that it is at those times we think the young eyes don’t see or understand, when we are the most prone to do great harm or great good.
When You Thought I Wasn’t Looking
“When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you hang my first painting on the refrigerator, and I wanted to paint another one. When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you feed a stray cat, and I thought it was good to be kind to animals. When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you make my favorite cake for me, and I knew that little things are special things. When you thought I wasn’t looking, I heard you pray, and I believed there is a God I could always talk to. When you thought I wasn’t looking, I felt you kiss me good night, and I felt loved. When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw tears come from your eyes, and I learned that sometimes things hurt, but it’s all right to cry. When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you give to someone needy and I learned the joy of giving. When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you always did your best and it made me want to be all that I could be. When you thought I wasn’t looking, I heard you say “thank you” and I wanted to say thanks for all the things I saw when you thought I wasn’t looking.”
Several years ago, my niece Bethanie had to write a college paper on an individual who had affected her life. Recently I received an envelope with a copy of her paper enclosed. She got an “A” on it, which made me delighted, however, it was the content of the paper that touched my heart and brought me to tears. It was a paper about the times she and I have shared through the years. To be honest, many of the events that were so important to her were what I’d call “little things.” She wrote about times I couldn’t even recall – but at those moments – the actions between us meant the world to Bethanie. She was watching and listening, even when I wasn’t paying attention.
How sad that David didn’t realize, his children were watching, too.
“The greatest teacher is not experience; it is example.”
If A Child Lives With
“If a child lives with criticism,
he learns to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility,
he learns to fight.
If a child lives with fear,
he learns to be apprehensive.
If a child lives with pity,
he learns to feel sorry for himself.
If a child lives with jealousy,
he learns to feel guilt.
If a child lives with encouragement,
he learns to be self-confident.
If a child lives with tolerance,
he learns to be patient.
If a child lives with praise,
he learns to be appreciative.
If a child lives with acceptance,
he learns to love.
If a child lives with approval,
he learns to like himself.
If a child lives with recognition,
he learns to have a goal.
If a child lives with fairness,
he learns what justice is.
If a child lives with honesty,
he learns what truth is.
If a child lives with sincerity,
he learns to have faith in himself and
those around him.
If a child lives with love,
he learns that the world is
a wonderful place to live in.”
Dorothy Valcấrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, and www.Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You may also call Transformation Garden at 602-368-1245.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.