Advice from Tekoa
Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But God does not take away life; instead, he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him. 2 Samuel 14:14
The setting of this passage is ancient Israel in the time of King David. The king’s son, Absalom was in exile, having killed his half brother, Amnon, for raping Absalom’s sister Tamar. After killing Amnon, Absolam fled to Geshur where he stayed for three years. After the three years, Joab, David’s military leader devised a plan to allow him to return to Jerusalem. He knew David’s heart longed for Absalom, but also knew it would take introspection on David’s part to bring him to the point of allowing the son’s return. The bible says Joab sent for a wise woman living in Tekoa and had her brought to him. He told her to appear before the king, pretending to have spent many days grieving for her dead son. When she appeared before King David, she claimed she was a widow and the mother of two sons. However, they got into a fight with each other in a field with no one to separate them. One killed the other by striking him. Because of this, her whole clan rose up against her and said, "Hand over the one who struck his brother down, so that we may put him to death for the life of his brother whom he killed; then we will get rid of the heir as well." Because of this she was petitioning the king, otherwise "They would put out the only burning coal I have left, leaving my husband neither name nor descendant on the face of the earth." King David informed the woman that he would issue an order on her behalf, promising that not one hair of her son’s head would fall to the ground. The woman then said, "Why then have you devised a thing like this against the people of God? When the king says this, does he not convict himself, for the king has not brought back his banished son? Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But God does not take away life; instead, he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him."
Our Eternal Nature
Man is aware of his immortal condition as is hinted at in this passage and described more fully in Ecclesiastes 3:11, "He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end." Yes, we are designed to exist forever. However, due to our sinful nature, the passage acknowledges that our mortal bodies will die. At the same time, our life (our existence) is not taken away by God, it is eternal. Once our mortal body has died apart from God though our hope for eternity with our Creator is over and gone - like water spilled on the ground. The bible speaks of this banishment as the Lake of Fire. Jesus spoke of this place in Luke 16, describing agony and torment and a great chasm between it and paradise so that the distance could not be bridged.
Our Personal Value as a Special Creation and Our Creator’s Desire to Reunite With Us
The intent of the passage is a common motif throughout the Holy Bible. That man has erred and strayed from an acceptable relationship with his Creator, and yet, through his mercy alone, God searches out his lost children and has made a way to repair these broken relationships. It is necessary to note that it is God who initiates the desire for a relationship and what type of relationship is acceptable. Any idea of a relationship with God on our terms is unacceptable. This is why Jesus said, "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it." Matthew 7:13. Again, in John 10:9, Jesus states: "I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved." And again, in John 10:6, Jesus says "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." It is apparent from these passages that there is no alternative means of salvation in this great sea of humanity. Why would this be the case? Because if there were more than one way to return to God then there would have been no point in the sacrifice of Christ at Calvary's cross. False religions have existed from the very dawn of civilization and continue to arise in many forms. Some are cleverly disguised as Christianity, but any worship of the Creator which bypasses the core principles of atonement for sins through the shed blood of Christ is unacceptable. You may have heard the argument, "There are many ways to God, and Christianity is just one of them." People who say this have either never read Jesus' own words, or have read them and have deluded themselves, because they love the unrepentant life of sin more than one which honors the Creator. One last category would be those who have heard or read the message and have rejected it outright. I would hate to be one in this position at the final judgement. Especially when you consider that in Christianity, God himself has done all the work for us. It is a salvation through Grace alone, because the true Christian knows that there is absolutely nothing he can do to save himself. Imagine hearing this marvelous news and rejecting it - when facing the Creator at a final judgement. He himself offered the means of salvation and it was turned down. Often, we hear that Jesus came and died to save us from our sins, but just as importantly, he came to save us from the judgement we deserve. When the reality of the message of the Gospel comes upon a person, it is usually with the terrible realization that God presented his own dear Son as the required atoning sacrifice - in place of the pathetic, dirty being who has gone off to follow his own desires and pleasures. Then the question comes back upon himself, "why?" Why would God do this for me?
When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?
You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.
Could any experience be more humbling than to realize that God has loved and still loves us through all of our faults? That a relationship with you is so important that he would be willing to cover your sins with the blood of his one dear Son? Leviticus 17:11 says, "For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one's life." The entire sacrificial system of the Hebrews pointed ahead toward Christ. In fact, the entire Old Testament points toward Christ. From the first prophecy in the Holy Bible, Genesis 3:15, all the way through to the last book of Malachi, God was making his plans known to us, so that in the fullness of time, Christ would be revealed. Listen to the words of Job:
"He is not a man like me that I might answer him,
that we might confront each other in court.
If only there were someone to arbitrate between us,
to lay his hand upon us both,
someone to remove God's rod from me,
so that his terror would frighten me no more.
Then I would speak up without fear of him,
but as it now stands with me, I cannot.
At the specified time, God did send that arbiter - in the person of Jesus. Now the veil has been removed, and we can boldly approach our Creator through the cross!
Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
"Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?"
"Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay him?"
For from him and through him and to him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.
If you've enjoyed this page, please click the box and let others know. You can only vote once a day, but please click on it each time you stop by the site. Thank you, Charlie...
Have a Jesus filled day! Say a prayer for your neighbor and love the unlovable!
Cherry Tree photo graciously provided by Photo Laboratory and Gallerly by Suzuki.