The story of Absalom is a sad one. It is a reminder of how important it is for a son to feel the approval of his father, and it is a glimpse of what happens when bitterness consumes a man.
If you are unfamiliar with his story, I suggest that you read today’s passage. At the opening of the story, Absalom’s sister is raped by their half-brother Ammon. This leads Absalom to murder Ammon and flee Jerusalem for fear of his father, David.
David, broken over the loss of Ammon, passively exiles Absalom by not inviting him back into his courts. Upon seeing this, Joab sends a woman prophet disguised as a grieving mother to convince David to reinstate Absalom to the kingdom. Now, the story continues on and culminates in Absalom attempting to usurp the throne, but I want to focus on something this woman said, something seriously profound about the nature of God. Take a look at 2 Samuel 14:14:
We must all die; we are like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. But God will not take away life, and he devises means so that the banished one will not remain an outcast.
What a wonderful arrow pointing directly to Christ! How else can we take this statement but to understand that, though the immediate means of welcoming the outcast was the word of king David, the ultimate means that God has “devised” to welcome the banished ones is the Cross of Christ? On the cross, Jesus became the outcast, suffering outside the gate (Hebrews 13:12), so that we might be welcomed in. Paul Baloche, in his song, Hallelujah to My King, says it well:
Oh how great the kindness our God has shown
We were strangers, now we’re called his own
His grace has welcomed the sinner home
tender mercies lead us to the throne
The tender mercies that God devised for our salvation came at the cost of the very Son of God. His death was not tender, it was absolutely brutal, but through it, our inheritance is gloriously sweet, as we receive the blessings of being made a child of God. We were the banished outcasts, but God has brought us home.