the Spirit of Absalom

Ok I admit the title of this story sounds a little like a Harry Potter tale…can you even imagine this in lights:  “Harry Potter and the Spirit of Absalom”  Makes me laugh.  Actually this story comes from the Old Testament portion of the scriptures:  2 Samuel 15.  The backdrop of this story, which you can read towards the beginning of 2 Samuel is that David (chosen by God) is crowned King of Israel.  David had made some good decisions and some really bad decisions, one of them being that he was angry and distant from his son, Absalom.  Take a look at this portion of the story, then I’ll share why this came up in my life recently…

2 Samuel 15

1-2As time went on, Absalom took to riding in a horse-drawn chariot, with fifty men running in front of him. Early each morning he would take up his post beside the road at the city gate. When anyone showed up with a case to bring to the king for a decision, Absalom would call him over and say, “Where do you hail from?”

And the answer would come, “Your servant is from one of the tribes of Israel.”

3-6 Then Absalom would say, “Look, you’ve got a strong case; but the king isn’t going to listen to you.” Then he’d say, “Why doesn’t someone make me a judge for this country? Anybody with a case could bring it to me and I’d settle things fair and square.” Whenever someone would treat him with special honor, he’d shrug it off and treat him like an equal, making him feel important. Absalom did this to everyone who came to do business with the king and stole the hearts of everyone in Israel.

7-8 After four years of this, Absalom spoke to the king, “Let me go to Hebron to pay a vow that I made to God. Your servant made a vow when I was living in Geshur in Aram saying, ‘If God will bring me back to Jerusalem, I’ll serve him with my life.'”

9 The king said, “Go with my blessing.” And he got up and set off for Hebron.

10-12 Then Absalom sent undercover agents to all the tribes of Israel with the message, “When you hear the blast of the ram’s horn trumpet, that’s your signal: Shout, ‘Absalom is king in Hebron!'” Two hundred men went with Absalom from Jerusalem. But they had been called together knowing nothing of the plot and made the trip innocently. While Absalom was offering sacrifices, he managed also to involve Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s advisor, calling him away from his hometown of Giloh. The conspiracy grew powerful and Absalom’s supporters multiplied.

13 Someone came to David with the report, “The whole country has taken up with Absalom!”

14 “Up and out of here!” called David to all his servants who were with him in Jerusalem. “We’ve got to run for our lives or none of us will escape Absalom! Hurry, he’s about to pull the city down around our ears and slaughter us all!”

Rachael’s response:

So here we have King David, who trusted his son Absalom.  Even though they weren’t on speaking terms, King David gave Absalom the duty as gatekeeper/welcome wagon to Jerusalem’s city gates.  Absalom, for whatever reason, used his position to gain support from all the business leaders in that day.  Anytime someone needed a problem solved, Absalom was there to solve it.  The people began to really respect him and grew to follow him.  Also, notice how Absalom deflects any sort of praise.  He is a man’s man.  One “for” the people.  Verse 6 says, “He stole the hearts of the people”.  So, he does this for 4 years…he works the crowd for 4 years before he makes his move.

So, Absalom asks his dad, “Can I go to Hebron?” He adds,  “We gonna worship…”  Can you just imagine him asking for the keys to the nice chariot?  Of course David says, “Yes”.  His relationship with his son is already on thin ice.  Of course he can go “worship”.  In fact, David’s response is hey son, while you’re there, sacrifice one for me too.  David has no idea what was about to hit him.

So this group of influential, wealthy men make the journey from Jerusalem to Hebron with Absalom and as verse 11 states, many of these guys don’t even know what Absalom has planned.  Shortly after arriving in Hebron, Absalom secures one of David’s trusted advisers….the plot thickens…the strength of the rebellion grows and Absalom’s plot soon unfolds.  The betrayal of his father, King David.  David and his household have to run for their lives.  Absalom is soon behind them.

How does it end?? Read the rest of 2 Samuel.  It is a great story.  David never loses his compassion for Absalom.

So, this story came up a couple of weeks ago.  One of my dental patients told me this story while I was trying to take xrays on him.  Needless to say, I had to go back and read it for myself because I couldn’t understand everything he was saying.  He was making the point about the three groups of people: 1.leadership 2.dissenters 3.followers

Fascinating stuff….and a little scary. I can’t even imagine my son wanting to take my life.  But,  I think I can understand all three point of views here.  Bottom line was that God was for David. My patient talked about men (or women) having the “spirit of Absalom” in their hearts.  I was like, “say what?”.  He challenged me to go back and read the story and to be careful who I become, who I trust, and who I follow, and most importantly where I give my worship.  Then he followed up by talking about God’s sovereignty in all things.  His last statement was about God having “greater glory” in every situation that He allows.  Even the Absalom situations.

I had just met this precious man of God.  I love when God rebukes and sharpens us by using people we don’t even know.  And for this man to come into my dental chair and tell this story. Wow.  God is so powerful is all I got to say.

Now, I praise God for His sovereignty in every good thing and difficult thing inside of my day.  I haven’t done that in years.  (that’s the un-scary part)

So….Happy Halla-ween.  Go back and read the story. 2 Samuel.


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