[BOTTOM LINE: THIS IS AN EXHORTATION TO FIGHT FOR YOUR HEART.]
My pastor said something several years ago that came back to me a few days ago. It kept turning over in my mind and I thought I might need to share it with you.
Their betrayal is not the sin; your unforgiveness is the sin.
~ Pastor Brian R. Nelson, Sr.
I want to address one of the principal spirits of our current time. It is part of the list in 2 Timothy 3 where Apostle Paul describes the behavior of people in the last days.
For men shall be…fierce… (KJV, vv. 2-3)
Here’s what fierce means — (G434) not tame, savage
Here’s how it reads in other versions.
brutal — New King James Version, New International Version, New American Standard Bible
cruel — New Living Translation
Meditation produced a recurring thought, that when scripture attached behavior or manifestation to a period of time (ex. 2 Timothy 3:1, “last days” and “perilous times”), ALL WHO LIVE IN THE TIME are subject to the same behavior. Maybe this was your experience, but I constantly heard this passage preached apart from believers in Jesus Christ. “People will behave like this,” but not the church. It was a warning about “the world.”
I now consider this and a couple other passages warnings for the church — believers in Jesus Christ — not to get caught up because we are vulnerable to the spirits of our time.
Using 2 Timothy 3:2-3 as a backdrop, I offer Amnon as an example of the fierce, brutal, cruel and savage behavior that Paul says manifests among people in perilous times.
FAMILY CONNECTION — Amnon is King David’s son by Ahinoam, the first wife (2 Samuel 3:2). Ammon is the first of King David’s sons born in Hebron. About these sons Bishop Tudor Bismark says we can read the God factor in their names because Hebron is the place of covenant (Fathers and Sons, 2014, p. 60). [Note: We reference David as King because he is a different man in his promise. His years of violent preparation while he waited on the throne showed us a different man in process. Keep that in mind.]
David rebuked and confronted by Nathan the prophet. Image: 4.bp.blogspot.com
BACK STORY — What we learn about Amnon happens on the heels of some serious and important events in King David’s life.
- The house of Saul falls and David shows kindness to Mephibosheth (2 Samuel 9)
- He sins with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11)
- His prophet Nathan rebukes him (2 Samuel 12:1-15)
- God strikes David and Bathsheba’s baby with an illness and he dies (2 Samuel 12:15-23)
- Solomon is born and blessed (2 Samuel 12: 24-25)
- David is victorious in battle at Rabbah (2 Samuel 12:26-31)
CONTEXT — We meet Amnon in 2 Samuel 13, alongside a mention of his half brother Absalom (3rd born son in Hebron) and half sister Tamar (v. 3). This is what we find in verse one.
…Absalom…had a beautiful sister whose name was Tamar, and Amnon the son of David loved her. (NASB)
Amnon made himself sick by his frustrated love for Tamar (v. 2). In other versions of scripture, we find Amnon obsessed (Complete Jewish Bible), troubled (Amplified Bible), and vexed (KJV). Why? Tamar was one of King David’s virgin daughters, and this fact made her unapproachable to Amnon. The bible says he could do nothing to her.
Jonadab, Amnon’s sneaky cousin/friend, proposed a scheme to cure Amnon’s depression (v. 4). Ammon should fake an illness and when his father King David came to check on him, he would ask for Tamar to come and cook for him and feed him (v. 5). It played out just like this, but when Tamar tried to serve him the food Amnon refused to eat (vv. 6-9).
That is when Amnon had the room cleared out, propositioned Tamar for sex, and raped her when she refused (vv. 10-14).
Then Amnon hated her with a very great hatred; for the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her. And Amnon said to her, “Get up, go away!” (NASB, v. 15)
FIERCE AMNON — Right now, let’s fight the temptation to assign Amnon. He is a type of spirit the church faces in this time, among ourselves and outside of our walls.
Amnon is cruel and brutal, overrun with passionate emotion to the point that he destroys what he professes to love. At any time, if he asked his father the king, Amnon could have loved Tamar openly and honorably made her his wife. The king would have given her to him (v. 13).
Amnon is brutal, but not bold. He colludes with Jonadab and finds the plot acceptable to damage Tamar. He has no honest approach, and leaves disaster behind him which provokes Absalom to avenge his sister Tamar and kill Amnon. Tamar’s only recourse, according to that time, was to live out her days in isolation with all her hopes ruined because of Amnon’s violence.
Amnon does not truly love. His savage nature cannot love. He is — this spirit is — FIERCE. Amnon works himself into an illness because he sees he cannot harm Tamar. He pines for her, watches her, wants her, desires her…but it’s not really her he wants. He wants to be the one to conquer her purity and claim the first rights.
Amnon only loves Amnon. He is proud and weak, and wants no responsibility. He just wants to taint what is pure...and his methods are FIERCE.
REVELATION — We, the beloved bride of Christ, are Tamar. We are made righteous through the finished work of Jesus and dressed in our “virgin” garments of white. Regardless of our colorful pasts, our sins, once scarlet, were made white as snow (See Isaiah 1;18). We remain under our King’s protection, and beautifully display His work of purification and sanctification in our lives…as we work out our salvation. .
Amnon wants us jaded and disillusioned, isolated and despondent. Amnon wants our purity. He wants to violate our Godly vows. Amnon has no honor. He was born in the covenant place, but bears no burden to uphold nor protect the covenant. His brutal nature says “VIOLATE!” to get what he wants, and it is his fierce nature that sets events in motion for his death.
In this time, our hope rests in our relationship and fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ. We are not sentenced to a damaged and ruined life after we encounter this Amnon-type spirit! We can resist and refuse isolation. We have Holy Spirit to help us discern the deception and collusion. In Hebron, the covenant place, our God will fight for us. And, HE WILL HELP US FIGHT FOR OUR OWN HEARTS.
WARNING — Be aware, dear ones, that this fierce behavior is part of a list of manifested behaviors during the perilous times of the last days. We who belong to God are vulnerable to them all. Let’s point our finger inward to search our hearts. Let’s more humbly approach our God in prayer, praise, fellowship and worship with the awareness of the prevailing nature of these spirits (behaviors).
Do not be deceived by your supposed strength in God or your experiences with Him. These spirits — for this discussion, the fierce behavior — can overtake us. We must guard our hearts and fight for our hearts. God’s love is in our hearts by His Spirit (Romans 5:5). We have to fight to walk in love because these spirits are bigger than us in this world, but the One in us is greater!
We must remain aware of:
- Ammon’s presence and fierce nature
- Fierce (savage, cruel) behavior as a manifestation of people in our current time of life
- Our potential to be influenced and overtaken by Amnon (and the rest)
- God’s end game for righteous rescue and repentance
PRAYER — Kind Father, You do well to open our eyes to what we face in these days. Thank you for enlightening our understanding about Amnon. As we walk with you, sensitize our hearts to the prevailing spirits of this time. Make us sensitive and aware of the hardening of our hearts, of complaints and bitterness, of unforgiveness and offense, of the regression to brutal behaviors. Show us our inner Amnon and give us what we need to repent — turn our back on Amnon. Help us to properly estimate our weaknesses and proclivities to betray You and the Body of Christ to whom we are fitly joined. Cause us to love in the light and walk in the light as you are in the light. Cut us out of dark works. Thank you for contending for our release, in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Reference: Bismark, T. (2014). Fathers in the house: Why every house needs a father. Sozo Publishing.