Thursday – October 10, 2019 – When Ambition is not Held in Check


2 Samuel 18:33 (NIV) The king was shaken. He went up to the room over the gateway and wept. As he went, he said: “O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you—O Absalom, my son, my son!”


Absalom’s vanity and high opinion of himself led to calamity. He would only listen to people who would advance his agenda. Clearly, he was an ambitious person with a compelling presence. He was a narcissist par excellence. He continued to push forward with his aberrant desires. He bided his time when it served his purpose, or he would thrust onward when he thought it was to his advantage.


He had no desire to seek God or His ways. He only wanted what he wanted. He had no honor toward his father and only held him in disdain. He violated warnings in Scripture time and again. He committed adultery repeatedly, in front of an audience. His magnetic personality caused him to win over people who had been trusted allies of his father. Ahithophel was brought to him and immediately switched sides. He offered the advice that most likely would have won the battle for Absalom. He chose not to take it, because of the intervention of God. The ill-advised counsel (from Absalom’s point of view) of Hushai was taken instead. He waited for reinforcements to come, allowing his weary father to rest, replenish his strength and strategize. In the end, even what seemed prudent led to his downfall and death. That is what will happen when God fights against you.


I’m sure that if David had it to do over again, he would have done things differently. He would have been involved in his upbringing. He would have spent time with him. I would think that he wanted to, but probably felt he didn’t have the time. I can hear him and a multitude of other people in history saying this; “If only I had spent my time differently, more wisely.”


The story of David and Absalom and the dysfunction they represent between generations may seem to be extreme examples and they may be. However, they do speak to an underlying reality. When you overstep your rights and usurp authority that does not belong to you, or when you are in authority and capitulate your responsibility, you may die or wish you were dead. Relationships are far too precious than that.


Prayer: Lord, help me to realize that because I still have time, I can make some different choices. Help me make the right ones. Reorder my priorities. Help me find the best in my father and my sons.