September 2, 2011 Devotion Sharing (2 Sam. 15)

Submitted by Patrick L. at Gracepoint Berkeley Church

What about human nature can I learn from Absalom’s success in gaining the hearts of the men of Israel?

I can learn that men’s hearts are easily taken when another affirms their pain.  After trying to make my case to the one who wounded me and finding little success, it would be such a relief and encouragement to hear another affirm that I am right.  It is also a relief to know that I am clearly right just from my own testimony.  In this way, it is dangerous to listen to someone who affirms my grievance.  It would be easy to agree to join with someone if “he understands!”  but I may not be able to grasp how I haven’t considered all issues or seen the problem from my neighbor’s standpoint.

How can I guard myself against this?

I can guard against this by reserving judgment for a disinterested judge.  I can also remember that my anger and frustration are not a basis to see any situation rightly.  In such a state, I can only see the look on my “enemy’s” face or those choice words s/he spoke that hurt me.  I must surrender it all to God and trust that he will bring about justice or non-just result that is best for concerned.

2 Samuel 15:1-12

“Absalom is no sooner restored to his place at court than he aims to be in the throne. He that was unhumbled under his troubles became insufferably proud when they were over; and he cannot be content with the honour of being the king’s son, and the prospect of being his successor, but he must be king now.”[1]

Reflect on Absalom’s unrepentant attitude in the previous chapter.  What might be the connection between his murder of Amnon and his conduct here?

Absalom’s behavior in the previous chapter is appalling.  He is insolent and haughty.  He wants to see the king and doesn’t get his way, so he does whatever it takes to get his way.  He wants it and he has no care of how he gets it – he is that supreme in his mind that he is not bounded by rules.  It doesn’t matter that Joab has devised a way for his return to Israel.  He is one that should not be ignored, that he will burn his benefactor’s fields to get his way.  His words to Joab are indignant.  He is incensed that he cannot get his way.  He is so forceful that Joab and David relent and allow him to come to the king.

So when he considers his new plans, he is all too willing to do what is best for self and to accomplish his plans without boundaries.  There is no other one to consider, not God, not father, only him.  So, he will pursue what he decides to do and with the quickest means possible.  In going about overthrowing David, he doesn’t consider anyone so important.  David is not thought of as his father, but as an obstacle to his plans.  He is so self-centered, he does not care for his father at all.


[1] Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Bible, 2 Samuel 15 at http://www.studylight.org/com/mhc-com/view.cgi?book=2sa&chapter=015

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