II Samuel 15:4 “Absalom said moreover, Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man which hath any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice!”
While it had been some forty-seven years in the making, Absalom deemed it time to rob his father of the kingdom. By means of a national revolt, Absalom beguiled the hearts of enough men to drive his father from the throne in Jerusalem. Ultimately Absalom’s plans would not only prove to be futile, but fatal; “And he took three darts in his hand, and thrust them through the heart of Absalom, while he was yet alive in the midst of the oak” (II Samuel 18:14). While the person Absalom may have died at the hands of Joab, the principle lives on unto the day! Just as Israel had to deal with a person, the body of Christ must continue to tolerate the multiple practices of those that would be a spiritual Absalom. While there are no doubt many more, I want to examine three things with respect to a spiritual Absalom.
(I) The Calling of a Spiritual Absalom – II Samuel 15:4
Absalom had set up shop down by the entrance to the city. When the children of God entered for the purpose of seeking an audience with King David, Absalom would call out to them. He would then proceed to minimize the sovereign and maximize self. Please get this spiritual truth; Absalom sought to call God’s people away from Sovereign Authority, to accept secondary authority. Some may say, “I don’t know what the big deal is; somebody’s got to be king and it might as well be Absalom.” The only problem is that King David did not occupy the seat of authority by means of his own choosing, but by sovereign appointment. When Samuel confronted Saul about his sin; Samuel said, “But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the Lord hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the Lord hath commanded him to be captain over his people” (I Samuel 13:14). Ultimately, Absalom did not lead a revolt against the earthly throne of his father, but the eternal throne of Jehovah!
We would be wise to turn a deaf ear to all that seek to call us away from any seat of authority that finds its origin in God in an attempt to seek a secondary authority created by man. Such Sovereign seats of authority that I speak of are: the authority of Scripture, the authority of the pastor, the authority of the man of the home, the authority of the parent, the authority of the church; just to name a few. There’s a God-given chain of command in the church, in the home, in society and we are doomed for a futile and fatal end when we willingly accept and substitute secondary authority in place of sovereign authority! Has a spiritual Absalom caught your attention?
(II) The Character of a Spiritual Absalom – II Samuel 15:5
When one approached the gate to the city, our first impression of Absalom is one that appears tranquil, soothing, and easy to embrace. Here is the perfect person to be king in my life. The people saw what Absalom wanted them to see; he projected a false persona! On the surface Absalom projected love but committed murder; “Now Absalom had commanded his servants, saying, Mark ye now when Amnon’s heart is merry with wine, and when I say unto you, Smite Amnon; then kill him, fear not: have not I commanded you? be courageous and be valiant” (II Samuel 13:28). On the surface Absalom projected humility but was consumed with pride; “But in all Israel there was none to be so much praised as Absalom for his beauty: from the sole of his foot even to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him. And it came to pass after this, that Absalom prepared him chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him” (II Samuel 14:25&15:1). On the surface Absalom projected unity but was controlled by an unforgiving spirit; “Absalom hated Amnon, because he had forced his sister Tamar. And it came to pass after two full years” (II Samuel 13:22-23). It took two full years, but Absalom got his revenge when he ordered his brother to be put to death.
The spiritual Absalom will do his best to project love and humility for the purpose of unity, but deep down its all hypocrisy! The true character of a person, program, or institution that will woo you away from the seat of divine authority does not have a love for the brethren! They care nothing about the welfare of others, but rather are consumed with the elevation of self and are more than willing to destroy unity among the brethren if it will benefit them personally. You would do well to pause and look beneath the surface; if it looks to good to be true, it just might be!
(III) The Cunning of a Spiritual Absalom – II Samuel 15:7-8
As Absalom pondered his plot to rob his father of the kingdom; he considered the various approaches that could be used to implement the revolution. After considering multiple options, he arrived at one that was sure to go undetected; he would use religion; “And it came to pass after forty years, that Absalom said unto the king, I pray thee, let me go and pay my vow, which I have vowed unto the Lord, in Hebron. For thy servant vowed a vow while I abode at Geshur in Syria, saying, If the Lord shall bring me again indeed to Jerusalem, then I will serve the Lord” (II Samuel 15:7-8). The atrocities that have been accomplished in the name of religion are without number! What could possibly cover up a corrupt heart filled with pride that actively sought means to divide the kingdom so that he might elevate himself to the throne? Just tell everyone that you’re doing it for God! Just tell those gullible souls that are void of spiritual discernment that you are doing God’s will and they will give you the key to their hearts. Those that would cry for the blood of Jesus; calling for His crucifixion would do so in the name of religion.
Before you are taken in by a spiritual Absalom and relinquish the key to your heart, pause and consider their calling, character, and cunning! If you chose to follow that person, program, or principle, will it pull you away from sovereign authority placing you under a secondary authority created by man? If you look beyond the temporal acts of kindness, is there a hidden motivation for power and prominence; a motivation so strong that it is willing to destroy and divide anything in its path to achieve its selfish desires? Are you being duped by religious jargon? Sometimes we want to believe in a spiritual Absalom so badly that we are blinded to the truth!
“There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Proverbs 16:25
Beware of a Spiritual Absalom!