Bible Reading: 2 Samuel 12:24-25; 13; 14:1-24; 1 Chronicles 3:4-9

David's son, Amnon, fell in love with his half-sister, Tamar, and desired her so much that he became "frustrated to the point of illness" (13:2). He devised a plot to rape her. Though Tamar begged Amnon not to harm her and encouraged him to ask their father for her hand in marriage, Amnon refused to listen. After overpowering her, Amnon was filled with intense hatred for Tamar and threw her out. Tamar's brother, Absalom, urged her not to have Amnon judged publicly. "Absalom never said a word to Amnon, either good or bad; he hated Amnon because he had disgraced his sister Tamar" (13:22). Two years later, Absalom devised a plan to kill Amnon, then fled for his own life and was banished from his home and family for years.

Both of these men lost control and let their emotion overpower them until it become an obsession that clouded their judgment and demanded satisfaction. Their obsession became so strong that they disregarded legal and moral laws and took matters into their own hands, resulting in the destruction of their own lives as well as the lives of others. Amnon, filled with uncontrolled love, allowed his attraction to turn into obsessive lust and was unwilling to wait for gratification, treating the object of his passion with contempt and disrespect. Absalom, filled with uncontrolled hatred, became obsessed with getting revenge. He kept his anger bottled up inside him for two years, letting it fester and grow within, until he personally took vengeance against Amnon.

Lord, guard my heart from becoming obsessed and consumed by my passions and frustrations. Let me test my desires and emotions against your truth, desiring your will more than my own. Don't let me focus so intently on my pain or passion that it becomes all I can see and I lose sight of your way. Help me to realize when my emotions are out of control, displaying a lack of respect for others and a lack of good judgment. May I be controlled and strengthened by your Spirit and filled with your love. Rather than just trying to ignore or suppress my unfulfilled desires and expectations, let me lay them at your feet. Loosen their grip on my mind and show me how to let go. Let me cast them into the river of your love, and watch your waves of mercy ripple out in ever-widening circles of love from the point of my surrender, filling my heart with freedom and peace, and touching the lives of others with forgiveness, acceptance and love. Replace my desires with your desires. Replace my frustration with your peace. Fill the empty places in my soul with your all-consuming love. Let me see others as you see them, loving them unselfishly. Help me to daily recognize and reject inappropriate thoughts, and choose to focus my mind and energy on what pleases you. May I be obsessed only with knowing you more intimately and patterning my passion after your heart.