Sometimes things end badly

I wish I could assure you that all human stories turn out great in the end. Alas, sometimes people we love reject the God we love. David, king of Israel from about 1040 to 1010 b.c., was off the charts in many ways—musician, poet, warrior, builder, and statesman. But he had several equally devastating weaknesses of character—he succumbed to the temptation to assemble a harem of wives and concubines, just like the heathen kings around him.

So strong in battle, he also seemed terribly weak in dealing with his treacherous and violent sons. Absalom, for instance, came to despise his father. He assembled a rebel army that succeeded in driving the vacillating David out of Jerusalem. He dared to raise his hand against the anointed of the Lord!

A bloody civil war ensued. At the climactic battle, however, Absalom was killed. There was no chance for reconciliation with either his father or his God. David’s grief was inconsolable: “The king was shaken. He went up to the room over the gateway and wept. As he went, he said: ‘O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you—O Absalom, my son, my son!’” (2 Samuel 18:33).

It’s a sobering story with a sobering message: Time is short. Repentance matters. Faith matters. Obedience matters. The consequences are eternal.

Pastor Mark Jeske has been bringing the Word of God to viewers of Time of Grace since the program began airing in late 2001. A Milwaukee native, Pastor Jeske has served as the senior pastor at St. Marcus, a multicultural congregation on Milwaukee’s near north side since 1980. In addition, he is the author of six books and dozens of devotional booklets on various topics.


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