Joab was told, “The king is weeping and mourning for Absalom.” And for the whole army the victory that day was turned into mourning, because on that day the troops heard it said, “The king is grieving for his son.” The men stole into the city that day as men steal in who are ashamed when they flee from battle. The king covered his face and cried aloud, “O my son Absalom! O Absalom, my son, my son!” (2 Samuel 19:1-4)
Every time there’s a victory, there is also a defeat. The death of David’s son, Absalom, wasn’t all roses. In fact, what should have been a moment of rejoicing was really a moment of sadness for the kingdom of Israel in general and for King David in particular.
Though the war created by Absalom’s insurrection was over (mostly), the victory wasn’t without its casualties. Isn’t that always the case?
Sometimes victory doesn’t seem quite as sweet because we understand just how much it costs us.
In the case of David, a moment of rejoicing was turned into a moment of deep sorrow because, though he kept his kingship, he lost his son and was faced with more consequences from his sin with Bathsheba.
Though Absalom was wrong in his attempted overthrow of the kingdom, the loss to David wasn’t any less, as he walked away that day without one of his sons. As I write this, I am cognizant that tomorrow is Veteran’s Day, and there are many men and women who understand the loss that David experienced. Even when the battle results in victory, there are still children without fathers, wives without husbands, and parents who lost their children. Victory is often costly, and we can’t forget that.
To those who have served our country faithfully and sacrificially: Thank you!
Lord, any time there is a war, we experience the pain of loss. Please help us to remember that even victory is costly. Thank you for the men and women who have sacrificed themselves and their families for the freedoms we experience in this country. May Your hand of protection watch over those who are actively serving now. Keep their loved ones safe, and let them know Your presence and our gratitude.