Tag Archives: Absalom

Contested Leadership

2 Samuel 19-1 Kings 2; in these chapters we find that there is a sub-topic that is often overlooked. I kept pondering the relationship with Israel and Judah. Judah remained with King David through all conflicts; yet Israel was quick to embrace the instigator of the conflict. The relationship between the Northern kingdom and Southern kingdom was an on-going battle. The battle rages through the time of King Saul until the “cleansing” of ancestors by King Solomon in 1 Kings 2.

David was anointed king by Samuel after the debacles of Saul, and the Spirit of God withdrew from him. David was hunted and haunted by Saul until his death. Even then Judah embraced David, but Israel delayed their support. The first time authority is challenged it is by Ish-Bosheth, Saul’s son. This results in a civil war between the people of God. Prior to that David was made king over Judah.[ 2 Samuel 2] If we look at this time in Israel’s history, we notice the evidence of a “divided kingdom.” Why is a very good question. With King David on the throne, there is a united kingdom, but that wasn’t for seven years. One could ask why this problem of two kingdoms within the same people? We cold look at major and minor nations – population wise. Could it be more spiritual than that, I would think so. Judah will remain somewhat faithful to Yahweh, whereas Israel quickly embraces Baal gods.

There is much that flows under the bridge of David’s life when we get to Ammon, Tamar and Absalom event. David did a great ministry by reaching out to Mephibosheth, but then he sins a great sin with Bathsheba. Great victories are often followed by lapses into sin. David is never the same man after the Bathsheba incident. The next conflict or challenge to Kingship comes from Absalom, David’s son. Of course there were 5 years of parental neglect on David’s part. But Absalom begins to usurp kingly authority by sitting at the Gate and issuing judgments for the people. Absalom does this unchecked for 40 yrs. [2 Sam 15:6-7] What does David do, he flees. Through Joab, the general of the armies, Absalom is killed, and David assumes kingship again.

Then Sheba a worthless man, a Benjamite leads a revolt against David. Again Joab puts down the revolt by killing Sheba. King David lives out the remaining days is sickness/cold. On his death-bed we have a challenge for the throne from another son, Adonijah. Through the work of Nathan and Bathsheba, Solomon is enthroned. It isn’t until there is a “family heir cleansing” by Solomon, do we finally get peace. Oh, before the revolt is put down, Israel embraces Adonijah as king.

You are probably wondering where is this all going. Well, I find there is a correlation between the Church and the Pastor [appointed leadership], where the choice of God and the leadership of pastors are very often challenged. In the absence of leadership, leadership comes forth. In King David’s case, he did not aggressively put down the challenges to the throne which was appointed to him by God. Too often pastors will not confront the perpetrators in a revolt for leadership. The Pastor is not a hired gun, but an appointed shepherd by the LORD Jesus to care for the Church/flock/sheep. Too many times the Church body will follow those in their midst that have NO RIGHT to the Throne. Pastors/leaders must be bold in their leadership. Admonish and correct for the sake and health of the Body. In many of the challenges to leadership we find that David had to deal with Joab, and Abithar the priest. Two worlds, the flesh and the spirit at odds, yet will come together if they think they can overthrow the rule of the righteous. This happened with Pilate and King Herod in the death of Jesus.

In the family of God there are many conflicts and challenges to the authority of leadership. Today in the Church we struggle to accomplish the work of God because the “family” is in conflict on who should lead.

I find it extremely interesting that after the reign of Solomon, that Israel under Jeroboam departs quickly from Judah and Benjamin. The Lost Ten tribes of Israel become entrenched in idolatry – Jeroboam gave the people what they wanted – they wanted a leader that would give them what THEY wanted, not what Jehovah wanted.

Acts 13:36, After David serve the Lord God in His generation, he slept with his fathers and under went decay.

David is renowned for loving God, not perfect, but repentant. Pastors – lead, and stand against the wiles of the devil; do not give up your leadership without a hold fight!

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Family Coup

2 Samuel 14-18 must be one of the saddest sections of the bible. We pick up after Ammon has committed incest with his half-sister Tamar, and Absalom has killed him. Absalom flees for 3 years in fear. Finally after the prompting of Joab, King David allows Absalom to return, but doesn’t see him for 2 years! So much is revealed in these chapters. Why did David not go and reconcile with Absalom? David was a great warrior, and a great king, and he has the promised covenant with the LORD for a perpetual throne, which Jesus our Savior will sit. But David was a terrible father figure. After the adulteress event with Bathsheba, David is never the same; whether out of fear or guilt – David doesn’t display the courage and power he once had.

With King David displaying a “hands off approach” towards Absalom; Absalom takes things into his own hands. in 2 Samuel 15:7, it says “after 40 years” – this is near the end of King David’s reign. Absalom is usurping authority from David by engaging with the people before they have audience with the King. I cannot help but think that David knew this was going on; but he let it go on. Eventually, Absalom gets enough power and people on his side – what does David do, but flee the city and leaves it to Absalom. David leaves 10 concubines behind, and sure enough – in a display of assuming the throne power, Absalom has relations with them in public eyes. David never corrected or dealt with the events of his children. Absalom is the 3rd child of David by way of Maacah, the Daughter of the King of Geshur – which happens to be the place where Absalom ran after he killed Ammon.

One by the name of Ahitphoel, becomes the counselor of Absalom – by now the strength of Absalom is well-known, and all of Israel – except those faithful to King David have followed Absalom – in fact in 2 Samuel 16: 16, under disguise Hushai declares Long Live the King, Long live Absalom!

How bad did it get? David is beaten down, he even allows a man names Shimei to curse him and throw stones at him, David’s response “perhaps God is telling him to cures me, why would I go against what God has said.” So sad – I think the sin of Bathsheba, and the unchecked sin of Ammon and Absalom has caused David to become a “non-entity” – powerless because of sin that has occurred in his life. Sin will paralyze us if we let it. We must have faith and confidence that when we confess our sins and repent from them [turn away] that God will hear the fervent prayer of His children and will forgive our sins. 1 John 1:9 rings true. Even when we are not faithful – God will always be faithful. Jesus died and rose again for our justification. We are not just exonerated from the penalty of our sins, but we have been washed, cleansed from all unrighteousness in Christ. David was enslaved to his past. That is guilt – God doesn’t deal with us according to our guilt but according to the perfect sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ. We are freed from the tyranny of Satan the accuser, who has been defeated. David was not living in the victory, but in the defeat of sin!

The family coup extended into the whole nation and tribes of Israel. Finally, there is a war, but on that day 20,000 people died. Odious – the bible says that Absalom had become repulsive to David – while that may be true to some extent, I also find that David for whatever reason, couldn’t bring himself to deal with Absalom. He even asks that Joab, Abishai and Ittai deal gently with Absalom. Joab hears that Absalom is stuck in the fork of a tree where his hair got caught. Joab then thrust three spears through Absalom. I know Joab thought he was doing right to Absalom, but he rejected the wishes of David. Absalom is dead, Ammon is dead, and Tamar is scarred. I wonder how different it would have been if David the father would have been the parent they needed both in loving and correcting them?

King David was a great man of God, a great King, but he failed as a father. This just reinforces that no matter what else is going on – family must come first!

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