Use the word “FAMILY” as an acrostic. Have members identify words or phrases starting with each letter that describes God’s ideal for the family. (Examples: F—fidelity, faithfulness, forgiveness; A—acceptance, assurance; M—motivating, molding, mercy; I—inspiring, integrity, in harmony; L—love, loyalty, lasting; Y—you before me, young and old cared for.)
(Draw a jagged line across the entire FAMILY acrostic as you state. God established the family for loving relationships; sin destroys relationships and families. That truth is sadly evident in David’s life!
1. How much influence does family have on our spiritual lives?
2. How can one’s spiritual life impact his or her family? (Just because the parents are strong Christians who are very involved in church and makes sure their children are exposed to church activities all the way through high school doesn’t mean the children will turn out to be strong Christians! Each individual must make their own choice. But at least the children were exposed to God’s Word and Christian principles!)
God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. God established the family for loving relationships; sin destroys them. Another way to say it is: Sin is the “Round Up” that keeps loving relationships in a family from blooming!
(Summarize 2 Samuel 13:1-14.)
Shattered! Read 2 Samuel 13:15-20
1. Who in this saga was affected by the sins of David and Amnon? (The whole family! Sin is like a cancer eating away until it destroys all who are influenced by it.)
2. How would you describe Amnon’s response after he took what he wanted? (What Amnon actually felt was lust not love and he nursed it until it became an act of sin instead of just thoughts.)
Sin always leads to grief because it fails to satisfy and deliver on the promises it makes! This may be the most graphic example!
3. After the rape, which was traumatic and sinful enough, how did Amnon shatter Tamar even further?
Even though David probably would not have agreed for Amnon to marry his half sister, he could have at least sought to do so. His dismissal of Tamar meant her unmarried status would be permanent. How he referred to Tamar indicated his mockery and disrespect, meaning Amnon saw her as an object. He shattered Tamar’s purity, sense of safety, and dreams of having her own family!
Nothing shatters a person’s sense of identity and self-worth like that of being treated like an object. In loving relationships, people are treated as created in God’s image, and as persons, not things.
4. How would you describe Tamar’s response? (The typical responses of assault victims are feelings of desolation, anger, fear and anxiety, shame, guilt, and isolation.)
5. How might Absalom’s response have shattered Tamar as well?
6. What actions could be taken to assist victims of abuse or other crimes to begin the recovery process? (Being there; listening; assuring them of your love, support, and unconditional acceptance; assuring them they are not to blame and have great worth; offering them the hope of restoration in Jesus; and offering practical help—making their homes more secure or going places with them, especially at night.)
7. How do some excuse living together without being married? They may say: “A piece of paper can’t make a relationship.” Marriage is the foundation, but love must be built upon that foundation. We must marry people who’ve shown they will build love. To simply live together is saying “when I get tired of this relationship I’ll just move on.”)
Tamar wasn’t the only one shattered by Amnon’s sin; its devastating effects were far-reaching!
(Summarize 2 Samuel 13:21-30. Absalom kills Amnon.)
Devastated! Read 2 Samuel 13:31-36
1. What words of Nathan do you think came flooding back into David’s mind as he heard this news?
2. Jonadab, the cousin who helped Amnon plot the rape of Tamar, resurfaced. What did he do this time?
3. Why did Jonadab give each report to the king? (People are motivated by a variety of reasons other than obedience to God.)
Amnon fed his lust, which led to his sin of rape. Absalom waited two long years before he acted on behalf of his sister. Absalom’s behavior may not have been rooted in revenge as much as wanting to help his sister.
4. How did Absalom feeding his revenge lead to murder?
5. What makes revenge such a powerful emotion?
6. Why do you suppose the Bible listed many grieving over Amnon’s death but records little agony over the rape of Tamar?
7. What situations have you witnessed in which a response to a sinful act brought greater evil and sin?
Separated! Read 2 Samuel 13:37-39
1. David lost two sons: Amnon who died and Absalom who fled. What might have caused David to reach out to Absalom? (David had finally accepted the fact that Amnon was dead and it was time to move on. He also mourned for Absalom.)
2. Does sin always lead to separation and broken relationships?
3. What practical actions stop the cycle of revenge? (Revenge can lead to repeated sin, greater sin, and persistent conflict!)
4. How would you have advised David to act amidst his family members’ cruelties? (Managing misbehavior of adult family members is tricky. Such situations are wrought with emotions and accusations.)
David most likely felt a certain amount of guilt for what was happening in his family. As time passed it seemed David’s influence in the kingdom and his family grew weaker! David’s seemingly loss of influence may be because knowledge of his own sin became common knowledge and people lost respect for him.
Summarize and Challenge!
Lust, plotting rape, the act of rape, and refusing to punish rape are serous sins. Left untreated sin is like a cancer eating away, coming back in a different form but still just as devastating!
1. How can believers effectively address the issue of sin? (As believers we have a responsibility to restore people who have been hurt by sin and to protect them from further wrong.)
2. In families, what role should parents take when sin threatens family relationships? (Bathe the situation in prayer. In love, confront the issue with the family members involved.)
When family relationships are strained, first ask yourself how you have acted selfishly. Develop patterns of showing true interest, accountability, and forgiveness!
3. How can we be a positive influence for change regarding the issue of sexual violence in our world?
Pray, asking God to give us peace and healing in our broken relationships!