Saturday, June 1, 2013

Absalom and the Loss of a Generation

One Year Bible
Old Testament passage for Saturday, June 1, 2013:  II Samuel 18:1-19:10

Then the king was deeply moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept. And as he went, he said thus: “O my son Absalom—my son, my son Absalom—if only I had died in your place! O Absalom my son, my son!”  II Samuel 18:33 (NKJV)

But the king covered his face, and the king cried out with a loud voice, “O my son Absalom! O Absalom, my son, my son!”  II Samuel 19:4 (NKJV)

Many years ago I heard a message preached entitled "Where are our Absaloms?"  It was based on the story of David and his rebellious son Absalom.  It spoke to the parallels between David's life and the church of our day.

I have written here in earlier blogs that the life of David falls into two parts: the first half which records advances and victories, and the second half which tells of one calamity and difficulty after another.  When David was fighting external enemies, he was a hero and a conquerer.  It was the internal discord within his own family that brought him his greatest defeats.  Perhaps one of the most heartbreaking cries in all of Scripture is the lament of David over his slain son Absalom.

It started with David's adultery with Bathsheba.  That opened the door, and his family then suffered through anger, animosity, a murder, and a rape!  To top it off, one of the most promising sons, Absalom, after seeking his father's approval, turned 180 degrees and mounted an all-out rebellion to wrest the throne away from David.

In the ensuing war, David had instructed, "Deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom" (II Sam. 18:5).  Joab, David's chief commander, ignored this command and executed Absalom on the battlefield.

As a result, not only did David lose a son, but all Israel lost one of its most promising young leaders.  The church today is in a similar condition.  We are in danger of losing a generation.  It has been estimated that the Church is losing 80% of her youth by the time they reach 21 years of age!  They are dropping out, running away, and even leaving the faith.

We must ask why we are losing our Absaloms.  For David, it was the painful culmination of a number of factors.  The end result, however, was all too familiar: a destroyed family grieving a deep loss.  Here are three factors I believe are hitting us today.  They are robbing us of a generation.

1.  The Loss of Truth

An evolutionary, relativistic world-view has been pumped into a generation.  Biblical authority is ignored and replaced with situational ethics. Our classrooms and universities are filled with a philosophy that undermines belief in God and confidence in the Word of God.  Since there are no absolutes, our youth are left without a secure identity.  The result is devastating.

2.  The Loss of Innocence

Through the mass media, explicit violence, nudity, profanity, and hedonism is thrust upon youth from an early age.  As a result, alcohol abuse, drug usage, and sexual experimentation has reached to elementary school aged children.  Once there is a loss of innocence, the standards of biblical morality seem impossible.  As a result, many simply walk away.

3.  The Deterioration of Family and Parenting

Far too many kids today are having to raise themselves.  Despite the great work of such organizations as Focus on the Family and the American Family Association, many godly parents don't have clue as to how to face the challenges of our day.  AND THERE ARE CHALLENGES.  It seems many of us are stuck in the 50's thinking everything is Ossie and Harriet, when it's really the Simpson's or worse.  Nothing takes the place of a loving and strong father spending time with his son or daughter.  Nothing takes the place of a praying mother who reads and shares God's word with her children.

David waited too late.  His son fled into rebellion.  The end result was tragic.  David was left with but one cry from his heart:  "O my son Absalom!  O Absalom, my son, my son!"

So I ask, Where are our Absaloms today?  We must not lose our best, our brightest, our leaders of the future.  We need godly wisdom and strategy to go after our lost sons and daughters, so that they can live in the fullness of the real reason we are here.  May God Almighty be glorified in our lives, our families, our children, His Church, and in all the world!

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