I often love engaging with people about different scenarios in life. It’s great to hear them grapple with why people do certain things and why other people react the way they do. The grapple is interesting and the way it informs how we behave in life today can be invaluable.
This means it is unwise to approach major episodes like this in the life of David without similarly grappling with the motives behind actions and reactions. This is a doozy of an episode too, as David suffers a major setback at the hands of the son he had restored to his house.
From a purely power driven approach, Absalom’s strategy is masterful. Pressing the flesh has never been done as successfully as it is with Absalom, taking the time to engender the good will of others by appealing to their cause and offering a viable alternative to the status quo. Patiently gaining their favour and support over the course of years until he’s able to manipulate his own taking of power is an audacious display of ambition and initiative. The key masterstroke is gaining the allegiance of Ahithophel. You know you are succeeding when the best advisor in the Kingdom chooses to come alongside you as opposed to the old King.
David’s response to this uprising is the real interesting issue. Hearing the news he goes on the run again. It’s like Saul all over again, but on this occasion, he finds himself a fugitive from what was actually his, he has been usurped. He doesn’t stay and fight, he runs and weeps. Is his link to his son such that he cannot bring himself to hurt him? How has he been so ignorant of the machinations of his son until this time? Why has he not done more to retain his position? Why has he seemingly given up so easily?
Some aspects of these issues would be addressed as the episode unfolds further, meanwhile at this stage, it is a situation of Israel again divided. Two Kings – one marching on in ascendancy, the other fleeing in despondency. All because of bitterness and ambition overcoming respect after reconciliation. What can we learn from this in our relationship with others? How can we ensure our hearts are not consumed with bitterness or ambition? How can we be wary of the machinations of others?
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden