TITLE: Treachery, Conspiracy and Consequences 20th April 2017
By Dave Walker
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Tall and lithe, with a shock of brown hair that tumbled down to his shoulders, and engaging eyes that invited contact, his looks were the perfect foil for his easy charm. Everything about him spoke of leadership, a man concerned for one's wellbeing, and with the insight to see a remedy for every problem.
But what they could not see would have made them shudder. Hidden inside his outward demeanour smouldered a heart dark with hatred. Every time he looked at his sister, moving like a wraith, silent and crushed through his house, a demon sunk its talons into his heart and bitterness rose like gall to blacken his soul. Even after he'd killed him, he hated his half-brother. He'd waited two years for revenge, yet when it came, it was not sweet. Not even death could repair the damage the rape had inflicted on his sister.
Adding fuel to the fire, his father, weakly refusing to take any action after the rape, had banished him from his presence after he'd murdered his half-brother. The hatred in his heart -- no longer able to settle on his dead sibling -- turned on his father. He'd undermined his father at every turn, letting his revenge play out slowly. With charm oozing from every pore of his supple body and striking looks, he'd greeted the visitors to Jerusalem on the road to the gate. "Hello, good friend. Where are you from, and why are you coming to Jerusalem?"
When he'd heard the reason for their visit: "Oh, what a valid complaint. Such a pity there's no representative at the palace to hear it. Now, if <i>I</i> were king......" It's easy to create discontent if you're subtle about it.
After four years of deceit and conspiracy, it was time to make his move.
"Absalom is king!" The cry rang out from a thousand voices in Hebron, and was echoed through the towns of Israel.
King David could have fought -- There were tens of thousands still loyal to him -- but how could he fight his own son? Is that what God wanted of His chosen race -- father pitted against his son whom he still loved, despite his betrayal?
David chose to flee, yet he knew if he was pursued, he'd have to fight. The showdown came the very next day as Absalom's men came pouring into the valley and into the forest of Ephraim. The wood echoed with the clash of steel, the cries of those in battle and the groans of the dying. The scent of the trees was replaced by the smell of blood as it flowed freely from twenty thousand mortally wounded.
Absalom was in the thick of it. Suddenly, as he rode through the forest, he was accosted by a group of David's men. Turning abruptly he sent his mule charging through the forest -- and straight into a freak accident. With his mule in full gallop, he ducked beneath a large oak tree -- but not low enough. At precisely the place where he ducked, the branch forked. His mule went charging on, but Absalom hung dangling from the tree, his head stuck in the fork. From there, he was easy picking for David's men.
Was it an accident? In human terms, accidents do happen, yet Proverbs 24:21, 22 states: <i>"Fear the Lord and the king, my son and do not join with the rebellious, for those will bring sudden destruction upon them and who knows what calamities they can bring."</i> It seems Absalom's behaviour determined his fate according to God's law. Did God use an 'accident' to ensure that David remained on the throne and to see that Absalom got his just desserts? Does that mean that accidents do not just 'happen'? How right the Word of God is when it says we perceive things as in a poor reflection. Yet in our limited understanding of these things, we can be sure of this: If we trust in the Lord of all wisdom and compassion with all our hearts, and lean not on our own understanding, whatever befalls us will never be just an accident.
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