It’s one of the saddest stories in the Bible.
Amnon, son of King David, head-over heels in lust with his half-sister, Tamar, devises a plan to be alone with her, and he rapes her. (See 2 Samuel 13)
There are so many lessons to be learned from this story: The dangers of lust; the consequences of our sin; the futility of revenge, to name a few. At first I couldn’t figure out why God was placing this story on my heart. After all, I don’t lust after anyone, I’ve never raped anyone, nor has the temptation ever even been there. Yet the story continued to burn on my heart.
Because I know that God doesn’t lead us to a message and then leave us to try blindly to fiture it out, and I asked for His Spirit to open my heart to what He was trying to teach me. Immediately my mind was led back to the previous day. I had taken the day off work to begin preparing for an upcoming trip. My to-do list that day was jam-packed; there wouldn’t be time enough to finish half of what I hoped to accomplish, and besides, they were calling for rain. I wouldn’t be able to cut the grass. Imagine what it did to my stress when my mother called to say her cat was sick. Because she doesn’t drive, she had no way to get the animal to the vet. Immediately I knew that I had been impressed to take off that particular day so that I could help her care for her cat. But there was no way I would be able to accomplish even a quarter of the stuff on my plate if I had to run to the vet!
But wait: Yet aren’t we here to help one another? To be Jesus’ hands and feet? Should our own plans really take precedence over showing God’s love to others?
Please understand that my “bad” day was nothing in comparison to the shame and horror experienced by Tamar at the hands of her brother. My desire is not to belittle this horrible wrong action by putting it in the same category as a “bad” day. However sin is sin in God’s eyes, and just like my obsession with the to-do list hurt my mom and her cat, our obsessions will always result in others being hurt. As a result of this, any time we allow anything other than God to become our obsession, we are negatively affecting the lives of those around us.
I find Tamar’s response to her half-brother very thought-provoking: “But she answered him, ‘No, my brother, do not 1 force me, for no such thing should be done in Israel. Do not do this disgraceful thing! And I, where could I take my shame? And as for you, you would be like one of the fools in Israel. Now therefore, please speak to the king; for he will not withhold me from you.'” (2 Samuel 13:12-13)
Tamar wasn’t trying to get away from Amnon, she was trying to make what he wanted an descent thing. By taking the request to the king, they could be married, and what Amnon wanted would then be acceptable.
You see, the things that we see as priorities aren’t neccessarily bad things in and of themselves. They only become shameful when we put them at a higher position than showing God’s love to one another. All we need to do to ensure that our priorities are in proper order is to take the request to the King…of the Universe…God Himself. And when we do, when we choose to help others unconditionally and surrender our own desires to God, He comes through for us!
It was a spiritual battle, but in the end, I did surrender my to-do list to God, and I told my mom I would take her to the vet if she could get an appointment.
Do you want to know the amazing thing?
The cat went to the vet and was taken care of, and my ENTIRE to-do list was completed, including cutting the 1.5 acres of grass surrounding our home. The promised rain didn’t even fall!
What would have happened if I hadn’t surrendered to God?
“Then Amnon hated her exceedingly, so that the hatred with which he hated her [was] greater than the love with which he had loved her. And Amnon said to her, ‘Arise, be gone!'” (2 Sam 13:15)
In the same way that Amnon’s lust turned to hatred, I would have been left empty and wanting. The cat wouldn’t have received the care she needed, my mother would have still been riddled with worry, and by the end of the day, I would have been exhausted by my efforts to get everything done.
Let’s don’t be Amnons, friends. Let’s take whatever it is that has become our passion, our first priority, to the King of the Universe. Let’s put His plans first, ever knowing that those who wait upon the Lord will receive the desires of their heart as well: “Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.” (Ps 37:4, NKJV)
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.