2 Samuel 16:16-7:23; Psalms 28, 39, 41-43
Remember David, while ignoring Absalom’s sin, welcomed his murderous son back home with open arms? We’re reading today what occurred as a result. Dad’s acceptance, love, positive parenting resulted in the son’s takeover and attempt to kill his father. Absalom moved into the palace, and had sex with David’s concubines in a very public way.
Now David is running for his life. Running from the son he had neglected to discipline. Absalom showed no fear, no respect, only contempt for his indulgent father.
I believe this is something all parents need to hear. Yes, I know not all indulgent parents are disrespected and held in contempt by their children. But as a middle school counselor, I saw way too many that were. I’m praying for parents today.
There is something else in this story that got my attention. A man named Ahithophel was in Absalom’s inner circle. In fact, he was the one who advised Absalom to have sex with David’s concubines as a show of power. Absalom took that advice. Must have made Ahithophel feel pretty powerful himself.
But not for long. He gives Absalom another bit of advice. This time Absalom goes another route, rejecting Ahithophel’s advice. Ahithophel’s reaction to this rejection is drastic. He goes home, writes his will, and kills himself.
Have you ever had an idea, then come to find out you were the only person that thought it was a good idea? Have you ever wanted your family, or your workplace, or your church to do something, only to have them go another direction? Most of us have been disappointed, frustrated, maybe even angry when things don’t go like we think they should, especially when we know ours was the “right” way.
What do you do? Do you quit, pack up your things and hit the road? Or do you put your efforts into the plan and help it succeed, believing the goal is more important than your ego? “It’s the principle of the thing,” often masks an “I’ll show them,” mentality. Because if they crash and burn, someone might recognize how superior your way would have been. People might think yours was the right plan after all. Told you so!
I’ve heard of people walking away from family over how an inheritance was spent, others who bounce from job to job because they can’t work with “idiots” who don’t listen to their ideas. I’ve heard of people leaving their churches over silly things like carpet selection. “I want green. They chose blue. See ya.”
God is asking me to look at my commitment. Is my service to Him based on feelings, motivated by what I gain? If I always make everything about me, I’ll continue to be disappointed, frustrated, and angry.
If serving God is the most important thing, if my focus is truly on Jesus, what does it matter if Johnny spends his inheritance on fancy cars instead of investing it like I told him to? Isn’t Johnny more important than my advice?
Maybe that project at work really needed that other person’s suggestion, and maybe your support of it will be noticed by your bosses much more than if you’d gotten your way. Or not. But if the project is a success, isn’t that good for the company and your job, too? Why would you want it to fail?
If I am serving God out of a grateful heart for what He has done for me, why should the color of the church carpet be a deal breaker? Is the church serving me or God? Besides, if I’m looking down at the carpet, can I be looking toward heaven, too? Where are my priorities?
Ahithophel quit. His pride prevented him from serving after his suggestion was rejected. Seems he over-reacted. But so have I sometimes. Not, of course, to the extent Ahithophel went. But there have been times I’ve let my pride get in the way of my service. God forgive me.
Let’s keep our eyes on Jesus. Let’s understand that our opinions are opinions that others might not share. But let’s not quit just because we get our feelings hurt. Instead, let’s dive in and work shoulder to shoulder with others who share the same goal – serving God.
Is quitting an option? I hope not.