When The Spirit of Absalom Gains Control

A messenger came and told David, ‘’The hearts of the people of Israel are with Absalom.’’ Then David said to all his officials who were with him in Jerusalem, ‘’Come!
We must flee, or none of us will escape from Absalom. We must leave immediately, or he will move quickly to overtake us and bring ruin on us and put the city to the sword.’’
. . . The king set out, with his entire household following him; but he left ten concubines to take care of the palace . . . The whole countryside wept aloud as all the people passed by.   
. . . Zadok was there, too, and all the Levites who were with him were carrying the ark of the covenant of God. They set down the ark of God, and Abiathar offered sacrifices until all the people had finished leaving the city.
Then the king said to Zadok, ‘’Take the ark of God back into the city. If I find favor in the LORD’s eyes, He will bring me back and let me see it and His dwelling place again.
But if He says, ‘I am not pleased with you,’ then I am ready; let Him do to me whatever seems good to Him.’’
The king also said to Zadok the priest, ‘’Do you understand? Go back to the city with my blessing.  . . . So Zadok and Abiathar took the ark of God back to Jerusalem and stayed there. But David continued up the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went; his head was covered and he was barefoot. All the people with him covered their heads too and were weeping as they went up.
2 Samuel 15:13-30
When the spirit of Absalom takes control, order is dethroned and chaos reigns. David had allowed Absalom to publicly undermine his authority and now he and his whole household had to run for their lives. David  had come to the full realization of the deadly implication of the actions of Absalom. Here was the renowned king walking barefoot and weeping with his entire household as he went into exile to escape the sword of his own son who had turned against him. The whole country was in turmoil because of one man. Jerusalem was facing a possible bloodbath. The spirit of Absalom is utterly destructive.

It is interesting that David made a very quick decision to leave the city with his entire household rather than stay and fight. He could easily have engaged Absalom in battle but he chose to spare Jerusalem from a bloodbath. When faced with an Absalom attack, our priority should be the well-being of the organization rather than self-preservation. Think first of the family, business, nation or church before you act. Don’t preserve yourself at the hefty cost of the group.

There is also something rather arresting about David: He was concerned about his relationship with God amidst all the turmoil and uncertainty he faced. God was his utmost priority.
First: He did not selfishly take the ark of God with him out of Jerusalem. He wanted it sent back to the city to ensure its safety and proper care. His own future was uncertain but he wanted the future of the ark to be certain. Even when we are in danger, our thoughts should all be about God. The Kingdom’s interests should be our paramount concern. It’s not about us.

Second: David knew that God was in total control of his life and destiny. He trusted his future completely into the hands of God: ‘’If I find favor in the LORD’s eyes, He will bring me back and let me see it and His dwelling place again. But if He says, ‘I am not pleased with you,’ then I am ready; let Him do with me whatever pleases Him.’’  David was truly a man after God’s own heart. In pain or joy, or on the throne or on the run, he placed his full trust in God. We can learn so much from David’s relationship with God. We must always look up to the Lord.

Prayer: Father, amidst whatever turmoil, uncertainty or betrayal I encounter, let me never lose my trust in you. Even when I am encircled by Absaloms, let me always put your Kingdom agenda first and let me look up in faith to you. Amen.