In the Bible, when you think of King David, you usually think of him as a great leader, poet, and warrior. You usually don’t think of him as a great parent. That’s because, from everything we know of him, he wasn’t.

David was, by all accounts, an absentee dad. Between being on the run from Saul, waging wars, and ruling the nation of Israel he wasn’t there much for his family.

You could say that some of that was forced on David due to forces that were beyond his control (i.e. Saul trying to kill him out of political jealousy). Or that he had a demanding job. No doubt both of these things are true.

2 Samuel 13-18 recounts the height of dysfunction in David’s family. One of David’s sons forces himself on his half-sister. When David finds out he does nothing about it. Later, one of David’s other sons, Absalom, kills his brother and begins a plot to overthrow David. This results in a civil war that takes many years and many lives.

You’re family might be pretty messed up, but it’s probably not THAT messed up.

No parent wants to be a bad parent. We all want to love and be loved by our kids, to have a great relationship with them, and to be a force for good in their lives. Somewhere along the way David traded his relationship with his family for power, position, and pleasure. And it cost him that, and much more.

In spite of David’s shortcomings there are two important truths about parenting that his life can teach us. Find out what they are at

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