Restoring Tamar Devotion 2: Protected or Imprisoned?

2 Samuel 13:2-4  “Amnon became so obsessed with Tamar that he became ill. She was a virgin, and Amnon thought he could never have her.” 


As we discussed earlier, Amnon’s name implies someone who is faithful to support, confirm, uphold, and nourish.  Dr Dan B. Allendar quotes in his book on sexual abuse, Wounded Heart, “damage will be in direct proportion to the degree that it disrupts the protection and nurturance of the parental bond.” (1)

Even though Amnon did not directly fill the parental role in Tamar’s life, his first-born status in the family did denote him as a faithful defender. His name, synonymous with the attributes of a guardian, fostered feelings of safety. 

To the decree that trust is violated is the degree to which betrayal embeds its malignancy of shame, contempt, hopelessness, abandonment and mistrust. This will affect the ability to receive and express authentic love.

1) Think of your most painful betrayal.  How has that betrayal affected your ability to trust and love others?

Jesus made an interesting decision in John 2:24, “But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men.” (NIV) The King James Version says it like this, “But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he  knew all [men]”

Simply put, these words, entrust and commit, refer to the kind of faith one should have only in God. Jesus knew people intimately. He perceived and understood that mankind is multi-dimensional; that inside all of us is the potential for the hallowed and profane, the celestial and monstrous; benevolence and callousness; gentleness and cruelty.  

We are faced with the reality that the tale of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is less fiction than we’d like to think. 

Jesus knew that He could not entrust his soul completely to anyone except His Heavenly Father. This understanding did not keep him from embracing his friends and companions; from enjoying them and from encouraging them; from believing that the divine will win out, that His followers could become all that He commissioned them to be. 

He didn’t entrust himself to them but He never gave up hope for them.  

There’s only one place for absolute trust. 

2) Please translate John 2:24 in your own words.   

 Thayer’s Lexicon clarifies the use of the word commit, “used especially of the faith by which a man embraces Jesus, i.e. a conviction, full of joyful trust, that Jesus is the Messiah–divinely appointed author of eternal salvation in the kingdom of God, conjoined with obedience to Christ…to have a faith directed  unto, believing or in faith to give one’s self up to Jesus”(2)

3) How have you been affected by allocating to others this complete eternal-soul-type-of-trust of which only the Triune God is worthy?

Explore all the times, the word trust was used in the Bible. If you have a Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, scan all the times the word  ‘trust’ was used. If you do not have access to a concordance, go to the online Strong's Concordance with Hebrew and Greek Lexicon (  Be sure to search using the King James Version. 

4) What did you find?

Read this verse aloud, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.  Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” Proverbs 3: 5 & 6    

5) Where is God’s will found?

When I scanned the hundreds of verses where the word ‘trust’ is used, I was surprised to find that nearly all directs us to trust God!  There were very few references where trusting others is mentioned. The only positive reference that I noticed was Proverbs 31:11, “Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life.”  So cool.  What did you find?

While it is never wise to entrust our souls to anyone but God, if we are going to truly live the kind of abundant life that God intends for us, we will be required to love again. To love is to risk. I am in no way, inferring that the abused should seek to submit to a relationship with her abuser. I am asserting that she must learn to love outward again else she will live her life in desolation, in an on-going reaction to her abuse. If you seek to love, you will be disappointed and hurt.  It will happen. Suffering wrong is intrinsic in love.

6) Please read I Corinthians 13:4, “Love suffers long [and] is kind..” NKJV
What wrong have you suffered in love?

In his book, Wounded Heart, Allender articulates the tyrannical reward of the pledge to never be hurt again, “…a commitment never to be hurt again by the abuser (or anyone else like him) creates a hard, inflexible exterior and, in turn, leads to loneliness that the hardness was developed to avoid.”(3)

To better prepare for disappointment and hurt, both in ourselves and in others, we need to better understand the triune man.   

Created in the image of God, we also, are three-fold.  We are spirit, we have a soul, and we live in a body.  1 Thessalonians 5:23 delineates, “Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again.”  

Our spirit, our innermost part, is the part of us that is most like God.  It’s the part that communes with God and reflects His nature. It’s the part of us that desires fellowship with Him. Our soul is the abiding place of the mind with it’s desires and aversions; the seat of the emotions and will. The body is the shell that houses the spirit and soul. The body will carry out the orders of that part of us which is in control, whether it be our soul or our spirit.  

Watchman Nee taught in the introduction of the first volume of his three volume series, The Spiritual Man, this concept… “Of these three elements the spirit is the noblest for it joins with God. The body is the lowest for it contacts with matter. The soul lying between them joins the two together and also takes their character to be its own. The soul makes it possible for the spirit and the body to communicate and to cooperate. The work of the soul is to keep these two in their proper order so that they may not lose their right relationship—namely, that the lowest, the body, may be subjected to the spirit, and that the highest, the spirit, may govern the body through the soul. Man’s prime factor is definitely the soul. It looks to the spirit to give what the latter has received from the Holy Spirit in order that the soul, after it has been perfected, may transmit what it has obtained to the body; then the body too may share in the perfection of the Holy Spirit and so become a spiritual body.”(4)

In Genesis’ garden, the three parts, were in perfect balance, until Adam and Eve chose to no longer depend upon God. Their spirit died. The soul assumed the role of protector and guide, governed by emotions, self-will and wrong perceptions. Eve’s concepts of thought began to be formed by the five-senses, by experience, and unfortunately, by fear, resulting in a self-centered, self-righteous, and self-aware being. For the first time, humankind covered their own nakedness while exposing another.  Blame was born.

When we receive Christ, He brings our spirit to life.  However, Romans 12:2 implies that the mind must start the process of renewal once we are saved, “Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Our thoughts, concepts and perceptions must be transformed to reflect the truth of God’s Word: that we are loved, that we are forgiven, that we can do all things through Christ Jesus our Lord, that we are more than conquerors; that before God even formed the world, He chose us to be a part of His own family through Jesus, His Son.  

If we ignore this mental transformation, we will find ourselves frustrated  and stalled in our Christian walk, not enjoying the abundant life Jesus promised. 

When we are deeply wounded, we begin to build layers of protection.  Sadly, the layers of protection become our prison.

7) Think of one of your most painful memories.  How has that experience hardened you?     Ask Father God to start the process of dissolving the prison bars that keep everyone out.  Record your prayer of confession here….



Devo 2 resources…

1 (page 53, Allendar is quoting Diane E. H. Russell, The Secret Trauma: Incest in the Lives of Girls and Women, New York: Basic Books, 1986 pages 148-149)

2 Thayers:

3  Dr. Dan B. Allender, Wounded Heart, Colorado Springs: NavPress, 1990, 1995, revised edition 2008, pages 56-57

4 or/also…
  The Spiritual Man, CFP, Vol. 1, Part 1 INTRODUCTION ON SPIRIT, SOUL AND BODY, Ch. 1, by Watchman Nee

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