FORGIVE OTHERS - our LIVES are SHORT: "For we will surely die and become like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. Yet God does not take away a life; but He devises means, so that His banished ones are not expelled from Him." (2 Sam 14:14)
Absalom had fled away for Geshur after killing his brother Amnon as a revenge for raping his sister Tamar, and he was there for about three years (2 Sam. 13:34-38). David longed to see Absalom but could not take the step towards forgiving his son (v. 39). David’s army general Joab noted that David was concerned about Absalom (2 Sam. 14:1), so he devised a plan to reunite David and Absalom. He engaged the services of a wise woman from Tekoa who appeared before the king in mourning apparel. When David asked the cause of her grief, she related the sad story that one of her sons had killed another and now the family avengers were seeking the murderer’s life (2 Sam. 14:1–7).
Touched deeply by this poor woman’s plight, David assured her that her surviving son would live under royal protection (14:8–11). She then revealed to David that it was he to whom she referred and that it was he who must forgive the wrongdoings of his estranged son Absalom (14:12–17).
This crafty woman then provided a superb analysis of the brevity of life and the finality of death, representing life as water poured out on the ground. Like water spilled on the ground, what was past (like the death of Amnon) could not be gathered up again, so why dwell on that? Life is too short to be wasted in a prolonged quarrel. She then reminded David of God’s mercies, which caused God to develop means for the restoration of sinners. God does not immediately destroy an offender but devises means by which the sinner might be forgiven and restored!
What we can understand is that we should be aware of our own mortality and the brevity of our lives. We all will die one day, and when we live we should be merciful and compassionate towards others (Matthew 18:32-33). God’s will is to forgive sinners, and as His children we must do the same. We should continually practice forgiveness and thus imitate the ways of God.
God’s forgiveness is complete and we can come into His presence and “see His face” (1 John 1:9–2:2). Like David forgave his son Absalom completely and accepted him back without reservations (2 Sam. 14:33b), we should also forgive and accept people who have offended us. It is then that our Heavenly Father will forgive and accept us completely!