For the past 3000 years kings and kingdoms, businessmen and community leaders, rabbis and clergy from all denominations since the beginning of the Church age have studied Absalom and his rebellion. This account is a mere reflection of what happened to God during the great rebellion in heaven wherein Lucifer, once the great commander of the angels, proclaimed himself equal with God and led one third of the heavenly hosts to side with him and divide themselves from the loyalty and fellowship they had before enjoyed with God and break relationship with Him.
For 2000 years now we have seen this scenario repeated over and over in the Church beginning with divisions caused by someone in secondary leadership who is not satisfied with their pay or their position falling prey to the devil and his temptations to follow his example. No amount of righteous claim can justify the divisions caused by these demonically inspired actions. Nonetheless they happen and when they happen they cause irreparable damage to relationships and each rebellion breaks a father’s heart just as it originally broke the heart of God. Even after thousands and thousands of years … it’s still not over yet! Let’s pick up on the account with Absalom living in Jerusalem under the goodness and mercy of his father David while plotting and planning his rebellion:
2 Samuel 14
33 So … when King David had called for Absalom, he came to the king and bowed himself on his face to the ground before the king. Then the king kissed Absalom.
Submission is a matter of the heart … (Proverbs 26:25 –> 7 abominations)
2 Samuel 15
1 ¶ After this it happened that Absalom provided himself with chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him.
2 Now Absalom would rise early and stand beside the way to the gate. So it was, whenever anyone who had a lawsuit came to the king for a decision, that Absalom would call to him and say, "What city are you from?" And he would say, "Your servant is from such and such a tribe of Israel."
3 Then Absalom would say to him, "Look, your case is good and right; but there is no deputy of the king to hear you."
4 Moreover Absalom would say, "Oh, that I were made judge in the land, and everyone who has any suit or cause would come to me; then I would give him justice."
5 And so it was, whenever anyone came near to bow down to him, that he would put out his hand and take him and kiss him.
6 In this manner Absalom acted toward all Israel who came to the king for judgment. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.
(Whether Absalom formed this design merely in the height of his ambition and fondness to rule, or whether there was not in it also malice against his father and revenge for his banishment and confinement, though this punishment was so much less than he deserved, does not appear. But, generally, that which aims at the crown aims at the head that wears it. – MHC on verse 7)
2 Samuel 15
7 ¶ Now it came to pass after forty years that Absalom said to the king, "Please, let me go to Hebron and pay the vow which I made to the LORD.
8 "For your servant took a vow while I dwelt at Geshur in Syria, saying, ’If the LORD indeed brings me back to Jerusalem, then I will serve the LORD.’"
9 And the king said to him, "Go in peace." So he arose and went to Hebron.
Here religion is made a cloak to rebellion… “A vow” – Who can complain about a son’s devotion to God? Most, if not all rebellions in kingdom matters, even in the kingdom of God and the Church, hide behind a cloak of religion saying, “God told me …”; “I believe it is God’s will to …”; or “the Bible says …” --- these claims are designed to deceive by claiming pure motive and making it appear that anyone who would oppose the rebellion is opposing God’s will. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
There were two groups of people Absalom needed to make his campaign a success:
1. Those who knew what they were doing
2. Those who didn’t
10 Then Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, "As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then you shall say, ’Absalom reigns in Hebron!’"
11 And with Absalom went two hundred men invited from Jerusalem, and they went along innocently and did not know anything.
Absalom wanted and needed a good start. A good start legitimizes the leader and polarizes the players and mesmerizes the spectators. The hope is to divide loyalties and gain support, or at least move as many people as possible into a neutral position to gain time and weaken opposition.
The Bible is an accurate excerpt of the many situations we each face in life, its circles and its cycles which all fall prey to follow. The Bible is truth in account and paints a clear portrait of characters in scene after scene living out their lives either pleasing or displeasing to God. Although the names of the characters may change from generation to generation the truth never does. For this reason God’s Word is timeless and speaks to guide, guard and govern each life in every generation and will ultimately judge souls in the end. For this reason we should strive to place ourselves, first as we are and next as we should be, as a single character in each of the stories of the Bible. If we play the right and righteous parts, praise be to God, if not beware … the devil lies at our door and his desire is to use us to cause trouble in God’s Kingdom.
We all hold a place in the great story God is telling, which part will you play? The Good News is that you can recast yourself and begin a new storyline in your life.
One of Absalom’s challenges in life was that he was born to privilege as both the son of a king and the grandson of a king - this gave him options. Options can present problems for those who tend to want a life of ease. When a person has no options they are often more satisfied but choices have a way of fostering discontentment. David struggled with these same issues over and again, as did Jesus when tempted by satan in the wilderness. The devil is good at presenting options which seem to be shortcuts or sure ways to get what we want. Beware of options!