Now in all Israel there was no one so much to be praised for his handsome appearance as Absalom. From the sole of his foot to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him. And when he cut the hair of his head (for at the end of every year he used to cut it; when it was heavy on him, he cut it), he weighed the hair of his head, two hundred shekels by the king’s weight. II Samuel 14:25-26 ESV
After this Absalom got himself a chariot and horses, and fifty men to run before him. 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,” Absalom would say to him, “See, your claims are good and right, but there is no man designated by the king to hear you.” 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.” 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. Thus Absalom did to all of Israel who came to the king for judgment. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel. II Samuel 15:1-6 ESV
As for me, I said, “O Lord, be gracious to me;
heal me, for I have sinned against you!”
My enemies say of me in malice,
“When will he die, and his name perish?”
And when one comes to see me, he utters empty words,
while his heart gathers iniquity;
when he goes out, he tells it abroad.
All who hate me whisper together about me;
they imagine the worst for me.
They say, “A deadly thing is poured out on him;
he will not rise again from where he lies.”
Even my close friend in whom I trusted,
who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.
But you, O Lord, be gracious to me,
and raise me up, that I may repay them! Psalm 41:4-10 ESV
King Arthur ruled over England during a wonderful time, when good triumphed over evil and might was used to make things right. The best and most powerful knights in the world came to serve him and to sit at his famous round table. His people lived in peace without fear, and the fields produced good crops so there was plenty to eat. But after many years Arthur’s glorious reign came to an end. His son, Mordred, was a traitor. Mordred tried to take the kingdom from his father. He caused all kinds of trouble, and turned people against Arthur. There was a final battle where Arthur and Mordred were both killed, and England entered a time of darkness.
This is only a story. But it’s similar to the true story of David and his son Absalom. God had warned David that there were going to be consequences for his terrible sin. The son he had with Bathsheba died, and now another son of David’s was trying to take the kingdom away from him. Absalom was a very handsome man, and he was friendly to the people. They started to love him and to think about what a good king he would be. He also found ways to speak against his father. He made people think that David didn’t have time to help them with their problems, but that if he were the king, he would always take time for them and help them. It wouldn’t be long before there was a battle between the father and the son. David’s glorious rule became a troubled rule, and his hold on his kingdom became shaky.
Jesus also faced a battle for his kingdom. We are all traitors against our king. We don’t want to let God rule our hearts and lives, but we’d rather do things our own way. Our sin of rebellion against God ruined his wonderful creation of love and beauty, but Jesus came to win the kingdom back and bring us back to his side. The battle with the forces of darkness cost Jesus his life, but he rose again from the death and won the victory. Now we know the wonderful rule of God through Jesus, and we will live and serve in God’s kingdom forever.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus to win us back when we rebelled against you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.