And the king commanded Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, Deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom. And all the people heard when the king gave all the captains charge concerning Absalom. So the people went out into the field against Israel: and the battle was in the wood of Ephraim; Where the people of Israel were slain before the servants of David, and there was there a great slaughter that day of twenty thousand men. For the battle was there scattered over the face of all the country: and the wood devoured more people that day than the sword devoured. And Absalom met the servants of David. And Absalom rode upon a mule, and the mule went under the thick boughs of a great oak, and his head caught hold of the oak, and he was taken up between the heaven and the earth; and the mule that was under him went away. And a certain man saw it, and told Joab, and said, Behold, I saw Absalom hanged in an oak. (2 Sam. 18:5-10)
David did not want any harm to come to Absalom even though Absalom was trying to take the kingdom from David. Absalom was still his son, and David still loved him despite his treason and aggression. David knew of what God had said but wanted his army not to take steps against Absalom. The battle went against Absalom and the nearby woods caused a great many to die attempting to flee the battlefield. When Absalom fled, he fled on a mule but his great hair which he was so proud of he measured it every year, got caught in a great oak and he was hung in a tree by his hair. Joab, first assessing the report and lack of action by his subordinate, took action against Absalom and his men killed him while he hung in the air. One messenger tried to soften the blow to David, but the other rejoiced in telling of the death of Absalom. David wept bitterly and cried out for his son, Absalom, in great grief for his death.
For the Christian, one who is truly born again by faith in Christ and His finished and perfect work on the Cross of Calvary, we are often confronted with the conflict between God’s ways and the ways of this world. While we attempt as much as possible not to be confrontational nor offensive, the preaching of the cross is still foolishness to those who perish, to those who are without and not in Christ. The world will never walk in the ways of God nor can they understand the things of God which we understand from His Word. Sometimes, despite our best effort, there are casualties in the spiritual war we fight and many are lost to the woods of despair, doubt, and deception. We understand from God’s Word that each must choose whether to surrender to God on His terms or to go his own way, but that does not make the loss of one who rejects God any easier for us to bear, especially when it is one of our own family who walks in his own counsel and is not seeking the LORD while He may be found. God gives mercy to whosoever will come to Him and grants grace to those who repent but He will not withhold His justice forever. We are tasked to reach the lost with the Gospel, teach all nations all that He has commanded, and preach His Word in season and out, not in our own strength but through the Spirit of God and by His direction, until all who will come have repented and trusted Him and Him alone for Salvation.
Until God is done with us He has sent those of us who are His saints and know Him out into this world to reach the lost that they might be saved from sin. He desires that His people strive to be holy and obedient unto Him that we might minister to those around us who are hurting and in need as He provides. We serve others, equipped with the Word of reconciliation and righteousness, rightly divided and fitly spoken, that they may see Christ in us, the hope of Glory. Our God has commanded us to love one another with an unfeigned love, even as He first loved us, and to disciple one another in the Word of God so that we may all grow in grace and in the Knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Our Lord has commissioned those who are His with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to go where He sends us in the power of the Holy Spirit. As we go, we are to proclaim the Good News of forgiveness through repentance and reconciliation with the Father through faith in His Son, that those who believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah of God might have life in His Name.
God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and the knowledge of the Truth. Jesus loves you and wants to establish a covenant relationship with you that is real and personal. Surrender to Him on His terms and He will give you a brand new life of discipleship and fellowship with Him that is abundant and everlasting. God calls you to faith in Christ and His finished and perfect work on the Cross of Calvary to pay your sIn debt. He has provided the only way of reconciliation with God, forgiveness from God, and Salvation through Jesus Christ, the Son of God who is God the Son, to give you a new life in Christ. Turn away from yourself and your sIn and turn to Him alone for eternal Life, now and always.