05/13/19 Tragic Endings

READING: 2 Samuel 16-18, Luke 24:36-53

Earlier in his life, Absalom the rebellious son of David had set up a monument for himself. He had no surviving sons to carry on his name, so he “set up a pillar for himself in the King’s Valley” to preserve the memory of his name (2 Sam. 18:18). His name would likely die with him, so he took a step to try to assure that people wouldn’t forget him.

In the context of today’s reading, that recollection of Absalom’s past events serves as a dramatic contrast with what happened to him in the end. When Joab and his armor-bearers killed Absalom, “they took Absalom, threw him into a large pit in the forest, and piled a huge mound of stones over him” (2 Sam. 18:17). It was a sad, dishonorable end for the king’s son buried as a rebel. The same ego that led him to build a monument for himself cost him in the end. He would indeed be remembered, but not for what he wanted to be remembered. 

At the risk of over-applying the text, I wonder how many leaders of God’s church end their ministries remembered in ways they never intended to be remembered. Nobody I know sets out to make sinful choices that would cost them their witness and their reputation, but I’ve seen it happen. Egos get inflated, and those same egos lead to building kingdoms of their own – all the while assuming that nothing would cause their downfall.

Yet, we often remember them now more for their tragic end than we do anything else.

PRAYER: “God, help me to live well today and finish well.”

TOMORROW’S READING: 2 Samuel 19-20, John 1:1-28