Thursday, May 07, 2015
The Vision (5.7.15): So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel
Note: Here are some notes from the four practical applications drawn at the close of last Sunday morning’s message, from 2 Samuel 15:
“…so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel” (2 Samuel 15:6).
“….behold, here am I, let him do to me as seemeth good unto him” (2 Samuel 15:26).
Here are four applications:
1. There is a warning here in the depiction of Absalom against those who undermine rightful authority and sow discord among God’s people.
I know a pastor who underwent a terrible trial in ministry in a church because of a man who came in and insinuated himself into the congregation and subtly worked to undermine his leadership and authority. A friend said to him, “Someone has sat in the gate and stolen the hearts of the people.”
Recalls John’s warning against Diotrephes in 3 John:
3 John 1:9 I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. 10 Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church. 11 Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.
We might even extrapolate out to the widest of horizons and say that the world is an Absalom that tries to steal our hearts away from Christ.
2. It is a reminder that trials also bring about clarity of loyalty and unity.
Trials uncover the “Ahithophels” (David’s counselor who turned against him) but also the “Ittai the Gittite” (the foreigner who stood by David).
And they remind us of our greatest friend, the Lord Jesus Christ, to whom we owe the greatest loyalty above all:
Proverbs 18:24 A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
3. We can learn from David’s resignation to the will of God (vv. 25-26).
Can we say, as David did: “behold, here am I, let him do to me as seemeth good to him”? That is a statement of faith. Can we say that in the sick room, in time of crisis and conflict, in the heat of battle, on the cusp of failure or victory?
4. But we also learn that resignation to God’s will does not mean retreating into passivity.
David’s resignation to God’s will did not mean that he gave up working, for he knew that the Lord uses means.
Dale Ralph Davis observes that David’s activity was “not a bit inconsistent” with his words in vv. 25-26. He continues:
It only demonstrates that complete submission to God’s sovereignty still permits you to use your head, to work actively. But without the idolatry. You do it without the feverish anxiety of having to play God. It may sound strange, but people who hold the faith of verses 25-26 find liberty and relief and energy in it, especially in the darkest hours. There are people who know what I mean (2 Samuel: Out of Every Adversity, p. 159).
Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle