As I was saturating in the book of Second Samuel today something disturbed me. When I came to the part about Absalom I had many questions. I remembered the prophecy Nathan brought to David saying that a man would take his wives and have sex with them publicly just a few chapters before things began going wrong in David’s household but I still was outraged by Absalom. What truly gave me pause was how he committed a covenant-breaking abomination against God, Israel, and his father David by sleeping with ten of his father’s concubines on the roof of the palace.
Now, if you don’t want the real, don’t read on cuz it’s about to get…real.
When I read that today it was with new revelation. I was more than shocked. As I read it, I remembered a day on campus at Bowie. Everything was winding down. It was during final week. Students who had completed finals were packing up and shipping out. It was a nice sunny afternoon. I had my dorm room window open and was just about to lie down to take a nap when I heard a sound. I sounded at first like a girl in distress so I went to the window to see. Everything looked calm outside; a few students with luggage were making their way to the parking lot where their parents and siblings waited to take them home for the summer. Other students stood around getting in their last carefree talks with friends before summer began. There was nothing unusual going on out there, so I figured I would not have to call security for anyone.
But then I heard the sound again. This time a guy’s voice joined the girls. Then I knew what it was. It was Absalom on the roof of the Palace of the House of Israel having un-covenanted sex with women. It was two un-covenanted people having sex publicly, blatantly, in a dorm building across from mine with the window open so everyone could hear.
God has been teaching me about the times and darkness in this hour. Through studies and fellowship He has been making it clear that the darkness in our land is increasing and with it His grace. When I read the account of Absalom this time, what struck me about the account was the sound. I remembered the disgust and the shame I felt for the two people in the dorm across for me as people outside shouted catcalls and insults at them. I remembered how desecrated and dark campus felt because of the sounds.
I went on a few more chapters, but I was still disturbed. What disturbed me most was what my culture would think about Absalom’s actions. Here, in this time and day is considered an exploit. “He got some,” some would say, as the people shouting at the couple on campus did say (among other vulgar things). Our culture praises that. Our culture is amused by that. We are numb to that. What disturbed me even more than this revelation was that something in me agreed. I grew up in this culture. I realized the sounds appealed to me. I had been turned on by them. I felt overwhelmed by them even as I felt disgusted. My nature was turned on by the sounds.
I thought of all Israel below Absalom on the roof listening to him dishonor his father. No one stopped him. No one called out to him. Their silence agreed with him. Who knows, they may have even been entertained by it. The people covenanted to God. People like all of us. People who might have been turned on by those sounds.
I prayed to God, “Daddy I am just as bad as Absalom! My land is full of darkness and it will take me out!”
The sounds that dominate in a land shows what dominates in the land. That day on campus the sound of sexual immorality was proclaiming that it ruled Bowie State University’s campus.
I remembered reading the covenant law in the first five books of the Old Testament and God’s story and His plan. From the beginning God wanted to show His love and goodness. Humanity chose not to experience it and ever since that day God has been bringing us back to a place where we will experience Him in His full glory. He started with Noah, and then with Abraham, and then with the entire nation of Israel, and then with the Messiah and the Church. All throughout the accounts His intent has been clear: use an individual, family, nation to show the other individuals, families, and nations how good He is. He has always been concerned about covenant for this reason. There have always been things He was unwilling to compromise on. One part of the covenant law in the beginning expressly talked about not having sexual relations with the wife(s) of the father of your family. When Absalom desecrated the land by his act, he was breaking covenant with God and in essence saying, “I here and now commit suicide.” Breaking covenant with God has always meant separating yourself from the source of life, goodness, and blessing and choosing death, hardship, and curses instead.
Scripture has proved that we as human beings have no power of ourselves to choose life. We are forgetful of God’s goodness, we are stubborn and hard hearted. We break His covenants thinking it will bring us pleasure. But like Absalom, it brings us the pleasure that kills.
Un-covenanted sex still kills. Remembering my campus and myself I cried out to God.
“God we cannot do this. Our land is full of sexual immorality and darkness. We are abusing each other’s bodies, hearts and lives! We are killing each other and ourselves and enjoying it! We will die if you do not help us! You see this! You know! You know we are perishing! If you do not help us we will be utterly destroyed. We will destroy ourselves! God by your covenant in your Son’s blood, preserve us! Save us from sexual perversion and sexual immorality, and sexual confusion, from lust and pornography, form fornication and adultery of heart! We live in a place of sin! We are confronted both ways, lust inside our hearts and perversion from outside in the land! We are surrounded! If you do not keep us, we will die! I know it is in your heart to do this. I know it is what you desire to do. I know that by your covenant with me, and by faith you have heard me. And by your Son’s blood, I receive victory and protection for both me and my entire campus.”
Let this be your prayer for us too. Because we are all like Absalom, and like Israel who listened to the sounds and encouraged him and sided with him, we are living in a land deeply perverted by sexual immorality and sin. It is a desperate situation requiring real desperate prayer. May God keep us and preserve us from the darkness growing in our generation.