Summary: This message looks at the lessons we learn from the story of Absalom's death.
Hung Up by the Hair, That's Weird
On Tuesday mornings there is a group of a dozen or so men who have been getting together to study the book of Romans. And early in our study we discovered a weird little part of the letter. Paul is listing the behaviour of people who are in his words "sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness."
Hopefully nobody here is saying, "Hey that's me."
And then later in the passage he lists some of their behaviour, Romans 1:29-30 Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and . . . they disobey their parents.
They disobey their parents?
The story that was read earlier is about a man who disobeyed his parents, in a big way.
His name was Absalom and while the scripture that was read doesn't state it, he was the son of King David. And he decided that he would be a better king than his father and so he led an unsuccessful coup against his Dad. Just as an aside we are told in 2 Samuel 14:25-26 Now Absalom was praised as the most handsome man in all Israel. He was flawless from head to foot. He cut his hair only once a year, and then only because it was so heavy. When he weighed it out, it came to five pounds!
The scripture that was read earlier chronicles the end of Absalom's story.
But let's set the story up. Absalom was David's third son. And there is all kinds of history here. David's life reads like a series from Netflix at times. He had multiple wives and so his children, in a lot of cases, were half siblings, same father different mother.
And that is really where the problems began. Absalom had a sister by the name of Tamar who was raped by their half-brother, Amnon, David's oldest son.
When the King wouldn't do anything about the rape Absalom took matters into his own hands and had his brother murdered. And you thought you had problems with your kids.
Because of that, David and Absalom became estranged and Absalom went to live with his maternal grandfather. Apparently killing your brother to avenge your sister's rape wasn't the done thing.
It was during that time of exile that Absalom decided that he should be king.
After three years of exile, David allowed Absalom to return to Jerusalem and that's when he put his nefarious scheme to work. Let's pick up the story in 2 Samuel 15:1-6 After this, Absalom bought a chariot and horses, and he hired fifty bodyguards to run ahead of him. He got up early every morning and went out to the gate of the city. 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. 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. I wish I were the judge. Then everyone could bring their cases to me for judgment, and I would give them justice!" When people tried to bow before him, Absalom wouldn't let them. Instead, he took them by the hand and embraced them. Absalom did this with everyone who came to the king for judgment, and so he stole the hearts of all the people of Israel.
So, Absalom become populist, loved by everyone who meets him as he builds his base of support.
Eventually Absalom gets tired of playing a slow game and made his move and the political coup become an attempted military overthrow. And while David was willing to put up a defence he told his commanders in 2 Samuel 18:5 And the king gave this command to Joab, Abishai, and Ittai: "For my sake, deal gently with young Absalom." And all the troops heard the king give this order to his commanders.
Which bring us to the story that was read earlier.
This is the fourth week in our "That's Weird" series. So far we've looked at an Axe Head that floated, a donkey who spoke and last week at a fig tree that was cursed because it had no figs. If you missed any of those, the manuscripts and videos are available on our website and Facebook page.
If you are honest there are stories in the bible that make you scratch your head and go huh? And so, we thought we'd jump in and see what we can learn from those stories. Because remember what we are told in 2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.