Political Expediency vs. Principled Ethics
(2 Samuel 14:1-12)
1.The appearance for the world vs. our appearance before God
1 After this Absalom got himself a chariot and horses, and fifty men to run before him. 2 Samuel 15:1 (ESV)
Principle #1: Flashy shows of extravagance may impress worldly minded people but they will not honor God. John 5:44
2. The approval of the world vs. the approval of God
2 And Absalom used to rise early and stand beside the way of the gate. And when any man had a dispute to come before the king for judgment, Absalom would call to him and say, “From what city are you?” And when he said, “Your servant is of such and such a tribe in Israel,”
3 Absalom would say to him, “See, your claims are good and right, but there is no man designated by the king to hear you.” 4 Then Absalom would say, “Oh that I were judge in the land! Then every man with a dispute or cause might come to me, and I would give him justice.”
5 And whenever a man came near to pay homage to him, he would put out his hand and take hold of him and kiss him. 6 Thus Absalom did to all of Israel who came to the king for judgment. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel. 2 Samuel 15:2-6 (ESV)
There are two wrongs represented in this text. The first wrong was that of Absalom’s criticizing the leadership in a manner outside of Biblical protocol. The second wrong was a participation of the people in allowing the criticism to occur unchecked.
21 His speech was smooth as butter, yet war was in his heart; his words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords. Psalm 55:21 (ESV)
The Bible teaches us "How to Be Exalted".
1. One does not exalt himself. He let’s God do it. Psalm 75:7
2. Having wisdom will exalt an individual. Proverbs 3:35
3. Godliness will exalt an individual. Psalm 89:15-16
4. Serving others and having a servant’s heart will exalt an individual. Matthew 23:11
5. A humble attitude will exalt an individual.1 Peter 5:6
3. The deceptiveness of the world vs. transparency before God
7 And at the end of four years Absalom said to the king, “Please let me go and pay my vow, which I have vowed to the LORD, in Hebron. 8 For your servant vowed a vow while I lived at Geshur in Aram, saying, ‘If the LORD will indeed bring me back to Jerusalem, then I will offer worship to the LORD.’” 9 The king said to him, “Go in peace.” So he arose and went to Hebron.
10 But Absalom sent secret messengers throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, “As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then say, ‘Absalom is king at Hebron!’” 11 With Absalom went two hundred men from Jerusalem who were invited guests, and they went in their innocence and knew nothing. 12 And while Absalom was offering the sacrifices, he sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counselor, from his city Giloh. And the conspiracy grew strong, and the people with Absalom kept increasing. 2 Samuel 15:7-12 (ESV); 1 Samuel 26:11
In choosing Absalom, these people essentially placed their own personal concerns above the clearly communicated Word of God.