2 Samuel 15:1-17:14 (The Message, NLT, Life Application Study Bible)
Carmen Tall, Governing Board
Portrait of a Leader
“As time went on, Absalom took to riding in a horse-drawn chariot, with fifty men running in front of him.” (Message Bible, 2Sam 15:1) What a contrast to Jesus, who rode a donkey.Absalom wanted to be noticed and wanted power. Scripture tells us that for four years he took up his post by the city gate. He made everyone feel important. “Absalom stole the hearts of all the people of Israel.” (New Living, 2 Sam 15:6). They came to love him and he gained their loyalty. But Absalom had plans; loyalty to him was going to be at the expense of his father, David.Absalom was planning to steal the kingdom from his father. At the outset, he seemed successful, as David and his loyal followers left quickly without a fight. “Hurry, he’s about to pull the city down around our ears and slaughter us all.” (Message, v. 15: 14). And if Absalom’s betrayal wasn’t enough, David’s personal advisor,
Ahithophel, “joined the conspirators with Absalom.” (Message, v.15:31) As they left, insults and rocks were thrown at David and his company. Can you imagine the scene?Most of us are familiar with stories of King David– remember David and Goliath — conqueror, strong leader and warrior? Why is our hero running away from his home?At first this scene appears uncharacteristic of David. Wouldn’t it be easier to immediately fight back and crush Absalom and his rebellion?Scripture notes tells us that King David still cared for his son and did not want to hurt him; if there was a battle, the City of Jerusalem would be destroyed. If David responded through anger and chose to fight, he would win, but at what cost? Instead, amidst name calling and rock throwing, he leaves.I think it was at this moment that the leadership qualities and wisdom of King
David were at their best. King David knew he had to leave to protect his kingdom and his son. Instead of reacting in anger, he responded with compassion and wisdom, and was grounded in strength and love. At the same time, he took steps to protect himself, and his remaining followers.Father, help me resist when resistance is called forHelp me fight when a battle needs to be wonHelp me to lend compassion, when I’d rather hurt backHelp me respond to conflict with strength, wisdom and compassionHelp me see what you see, LordAnd give me strength and wisdomBecause I simply won’t make it on my own.