Best of Daily Reflections: When Family Relationships Are Difficult

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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"O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would that I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!"

2 Samuel 18:5-33

David was “a man after God’s own heart,” but his own family was a train wreck. Sometimes it seems easier to get right with God than with our own kin.

David’s adulterous affair with Bathsheba and his killing of her husband continued to shake his whole family tree. It was just as God had predicted:

Thus says the Lord: I will raise up trouble against you from within your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes, and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this very sun. (2 Sam. 12:10-11)

It’s true that God had forgiven David, but the forgiveness did not eliminate consequences.

Absalom was David’s third and favorite son. He was handsome, charming and charismatic. He loved the pomp, circumstance, and the privileges of royalty. He drove a magnificent chariot and had fifty men run in front of him wherever he went. Everything he did was designed to gain the favor of others and to cast his influence over them. The people were charmed by Absalom.

Absalom’s name meant "son of peace," but his life was anything but that. He raised an army and declared himself king, putting David in the position of having to defend Israel from his own son.

In the war, Absalom died, and, for the second time, David grieved the death of a child.

"O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would that I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!"

Strong family relationships are often difficult to keep. So what can we do when family relationships become strained?

  1. Remember that God is for you and for your family, even when relationships in your family are difficult. God never removed his favor from David’s family, choosing to come into the world through David’s relatives one thousand years later.
  2. If family relationships have been difficult for you, remember that God is gracious and merciful and is eager to offer a fresh start.

God grant us all a taste of your kingdom through our strangely flawed yet favored families.


The king gave orders to Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, "Deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom." And all the people heard when the king gave orders to all the commanders concerning Absalom.

So the army went out into the field against Israel; and the battle was fought in the forest of Ephraim. The men of Israel were defeated there by the servants of David, and the slaughter there was great on that day, twenty thousand men. The battle spread over the face of all the country; and the forest claimed more victims that day than the sword.

Absalom happened to meet the servants of David. Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great oak. His head caught fast in the oak, and he was left hanging between heaven and earth, while the mule that was under him went on. And ten young men, Joab’s armour-bearers, surrounded Absalom and struck him, and killed him.

Then the Cushite came; and the Cushite said, "Good tidings for my lord the king! For the Lord has vindicated you this day, delivering you from the power of all who rose up against you." The king said to the Cushite, "Is it well with the young man Absalom?" The Cushite answered, "May the enemies of my lord the king, and all who rise up to do you harm, be like that young man."

The king was deeply moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept; and as he went, he said, "O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would that I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!"

2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33

QUESTION FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: In what ways have you been blessed by your family experiences?

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I long for all families to carry the scent and the echo of heaven. Turn the hearts of husbands, wives, and children to you. Amen.