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A Rebellious Heart

Rebellious (def) - showing a desire to resist authority, control, or convention. What causes a heart to become rebellious? The example of King David and his son Absalom was caused by Absalom's desire for power. 1 Samuel 15:2 When people brought a case to the king for judgment, Absalom would ask where in Israel they were from, and they would tell him their tribe. 3 Then Absalom would say, “You’ve really got a strong case here! It’s too bad the king doesn’t have anyone to hear it. 4 I wish I were the judge. Then everyone could bring their cases to me for judgment, and I would give them justice!” 5 When people tried to bow before him, Absalom wouldn’t let them. Instead, he took them by the hand and kissed them. 6 Absalom did this with everyone who came to the king for judgment, and so he stole the hearts of all the people of Israel.

Absalom was "fluffing the pillows" when he was giving the people just what they wanted and they thought he was great! But was he? Spiritual authority is something we recognize quickly when it is abusive and we put it down when it is used by people with wrong motives. There is another part of authority we tend to miss and that is when authority is not respected and not followed and the end result is everything out of kelter. Absalom had in his heart to take the kingdom from his father, King David, and he used the ploy of giving people their run of the place by being overly friendly and more of a "man of the people" to get what he wanted. Doing this did not make him king though. All it made him was a divisive person trying to use manipulation to get what he wanted.

We have learned from our government over the past few years that a president who gets the people to live with him will sacrifice good judgment for manipulation by giving the masses "free" stuff and acting like he wants their best. But in reality, that person wants the people to fall in love with them so they can do whatever evil they want to do. That person ends up spoiling the people and when it all goes south they just walk away with the spoils.

So Absalom, King David's son, positions himself to take over the kingdom, and here is the end result of this "son." 1 Samuel 15: 3 A messenger soon arrived in Jerusalem to tell David, “All Israel has joined Absalom in a conspiracy against you!” 14 “Then we must flee at once, or it will be too late!” David urged his men. “Hurry! If we get out of the city before Absalom arrives, both we and the city of Jerusalem will be spared from disaster.” 15 “We are with you,” his advisers replied. “Do what you think is best.” Because of Absalom's desire for power, the kingdom was compromised, and had Absalom waited his turn the changeover would have been a wonderful thing. But Absalom's desire for power caused him to sin against the King and against God and even though he got what he wanted, he actually got more than what he wanted.

The whole mess was exploited by advisors to King David and Absalom, each hoping to come into power with the other. Ahithophel went to advise Absalom to give David a step up because his advice was meant to appear to be good for Absalom, but it was flawed. The Hushai advised Absalom and Absalom followed his advice, but Hushai then warns David to escape from where they were because Absalom was coming and that saved King David's life. There was one move after another by Absalom to get the upper hand by killing his father but to no avail. Lives were lost and trust was destroyed by a sinful Absalom and the end result was a weakened kingdom. In the end, King David prevailed, and his love for Absalom caused him to say this as they were drawing the net to defeat Absalom. 1 Samuel 18:5 And the king gave this command to Joab, Abishai, and Ittai: “For my sake, deal gently with young Absalom.”

The power grab of Absalom was done out of his sinful desire to circumvent how things needed to go and his rebellious heart led him to a tragic end, death. 1 Samuel 18:9 During the battle, Absalom happened to come upon some of David’s men. He tried to escape on his mule, but as he rode beneath the thick branches of a great tree, his hair[c] got caught in the tree. His mule kept going and left him dangling in the air. 10 One of David’s men saw what had happened and told Joab, “I saw Absalom dangling from a great tree.”11 “What?” Joab demanded. “You saw him there and didn’t kill him? I would have rewarded you with ten pieces of silver[d] and a hero’s belt!” 12 “I would not kill the king’s son for even a thousand pieces of silver,[e]” the man replied to Joab. “We all heard the king say to you and Abishai and Ittai, ‘For my sake, please spare young Absalom.’ 13 And if I had betrayed the king by killing his son—and the king would certainly find out who did it—you yourself would be the first to abandon me.”14 “Enough of this nonsense,” Joab said. Then he took three daggers and plunged them into Absalom’s heart as he dangled, still alive, in the great tree. 15 Ten of Joab’s young armor bearers then surrounded Absalom and killed him.

The rebellious heart of Absalom stopped beating when three daggers were plunged into it and Absalom was through, without the kingdom, or life, that he desired. All of this could have been avoided had he shown a little patience and a little respect for the authority of his father, King David. This is the result of a rebellious heart!!

Is your heart rebellious? Mine has been sometimes, but our Lord shows us a standard for following the authority He has placed over us and to go around that standard will always end in anarchy and pain. So why take the chance? Instead, follow the authority and follow God instead of trying to BE God. Civil disobedience is still disobedience and is not part of God's plan, and we must adhere to what God wants and not what we want to keep things in order. A servant's heart will realize this truth, but a rebellious heart will miss it. Choose the right thing and choose to follow God and His authority with wisdom.

The Pilgrimage Continues.

David Warren

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