2 Samuel 15:2a, 4-6 [Absalom] would get up early and stand by the side of the road leading to the city gate.  Whenever anyone came with a complaint to be placed before the king [David, his father] for a decision, Absalom would call out to him, … … And Absalom would add, “If only I were appointed judge in the land!  Then everyone who has a complaint or case could come to me and I would see that he receives justice.”   Also, whenever anyone approached him to bow down before him, Absalom would reach out his hand, take hold of him and kiss him.   Absalom behaved in this way towards all the Israelites who came to the king asking for justice, and so he stole the hearts of the men of Israel.
There are many important lessons for us to learn, as Christian parents and educators, from the sad life of Absalom.

It seems that his upbringing by his doting father, David, was not as strict as it should have been, and this contributed to the later problems and failures that characterised his life.  His natural outward beauty and charm (14:25-26) gave him an unhealthy sense of self-confidence and pride that eventually led to his downfall (18:9-10, 14-15).

The way he tried to go about ‘stealing’ the kingship from David, was based on human wisdom and contrasts sharply with David’s leaving the demise of his predecessor, Saul, in the LORD’s sovereign hands, even when he already had the divine imprimatur on his succession.  Sadly, today, we too often see the ‘Absalom’ strategy in operation, not only in the political and commercial spheres (cf China’s operations in the Pacific), but also among Christians.

The LORD richly blessed David’s reign because, as his chosen vessel, he trusted God, put GOD’s glory and honour before his own personal advancement, and submitted to God’s will and ways in humility, righteousness and truth.  The Absaloms of this world might appear to succeed for a season, but as David and Asaph point out in Psalms 37 and 73 respectively, their ‘day in the sun’ is only short-lived.  It is good for us to remember the solemn words spoken by the LORD to the rejected priest, Eli: “Those who honour me I will honour, but those who despise me will be disdained” (1 Samuel 2:30).

Are WE doing all we can to prepare children and young people in our sphere of influence to be responsible adults whose lives are marked by humility, self-sacrifice, openness, honesty and integrity?
– Bruce Christian