15:1 After this Absalom got himself a chariot and horses, and fifty men to run before him. 2 And Absalom used to rise early and stand beside the way of the gate. And when any man had a dispute to come before the king for judgment, Absalom would call to him and say, “From what city are you?” And when he said, “Your servant is of such and such a tribe in Israel,” 3 Absalom would say to him, “See, your claims are good and right, but there is no man designated by the king to hear you.” 4 Then Absalom would say, “Oh that I were judge in the land! Then every man with a dispute or cause might come to me, and I would give him justice.” 5 And whenever a man came near to pay homage to him, he would put out his hand and take hold of him and kiss him. 6 Thus Absalom did to all of Israel who came to the king for judgment. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.
7 And at the end of four years Absalom said to the king, “Please let me go and pay my vow, which I have vowed to the LORD, in Hebron. 8 For your servant vowed a vow while I lived at Geshur in Aram, saying, ‘If the LORD will indeed bring me back to Jerusalem, then I will offer worship to the LORD.’” 9 The king said to him, “Go in peace.” So he arose and went to Hebron. 10 But Absalom sent secret messengers throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, “As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then say, ‘Absalom is king at Hebron!’” 11 With Absalom went two hundred men from Jerusalem who were invited guests, and they went in their innocence and knew nothing. 12 And while Absalom was offering the sacrifices, he sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counselor, from his city Giloh. And the conspiracy grew strong, and the people with Absalom kept increasing.
13 And a messenger came to David, saying, “The hearts of the men of Israel have gone after Absalom.”
6 So the army went out into the field against Israel, and the battle was fought in the forest of Ephraim. 7 And the men of Israel were defeated there by the servants of David, and the loss there was great on that day, twenty thousand men. 8 The battle spread over the face of all the country, and the forest devoured more people that day than the sword.
31 And behold, the Cushite came, and the Cushite said, “Good news for my lord the king! For the LORD has delivered you this day from the hand of all who rose up against you.” 32 The king said to the Cushite, “Is it well with the young man Absalom?” And the Cushite answered, “May the enemies of my lord the king and all who rise up against you for evil be like that young man.” 33 And the king was deeply moved and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. And as he went, he said, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!”
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright (c)2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. http://www.esv.org
The "favorites" lists come out about this time every year. There's Elijah and Isaiah. Eli and Levi make the lists, and so do James and Jude. Aaron and Thomas, Ezra and Benjamin are in the top fifty for 2019. And of course, we all know Marks and Lukes and Matthews and Davids. I have recently even met a young man named Moses. Bible-based baby names, even these days, grace boy bassinets far and wide.
But not a single list offers the name Absalom. Maybe there are a few out there, but far fewer than there should be. You see, all of us reflect the man Absalom. All of us are rebel sons who lead an insurrection in our own souls.
We are Absalom in our discontent. Dissatisfied with God's provisions, we scheme for more. We lust for those things forbidden. Our heart rebels. Yet God's Word teaches us,
But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. (1 Timothy 6:6-9)
We are Absalom in our anger. Somehow, in the siren song of the insurrection, we hear that we've been cheated. And we fume. Seething anger characterizes our outlook on all we see, particularly when we look upon our heavenly father. "He could've made a change.", we think. "He could've altered the outcome, or changed the wind, or given me what I demand." Like Absalom, our anger drives us to be slanderous and sinister.
We are Absalom in our fear. We live our lives in the shadow-stained half-light of the fear of man, the fear of the future, the fear of the past. So we reject the very one who promises joy, and proclaims peace. But then our rebellion does nothing to lighten the load of terror.
Indeed, we all are Absalom, armed and dangerous, and headed for destruction.
But unlike Absalom, we have a Father who intervenes before the battle is lost. For we are adopted sons of the Most High God. And God, in His mercy, sent His only begotten son to take the punishment for the rebels. His son was suspended on the tree of shame, and bore the thrust of the enemy's spear. The perfect son, who knew no sin, accomplished the work to bring peace into the chaos of rebellion. In Christ, our battle is over, the victory is won.
So we, Absaloms all, may put down our treasonous weapons of discontent, and anger, and fear. And we can, with God's blessing and empowerment, be found in league with the perfectly loyal Son of God.