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Centered Part Six: Subversive Followers

I am a follower

“He was alleged to have committed suicide” is what the news agency was told: but numerous bullet holes wrote a different scenario. He was a terrorist with a straightforward ideology; income always came before personal belief. This mercenary philosophy served him well for many years; yet in the end, his host country murdered him because he could not be trusted. His was a revolutionary life; every act calculated to unsettle, rattle and undermine. A subversive, that’s what he was.

Absalom, the son of King David, was a subversive follower. Absalom had it all; he was handsome, he had natural leadership qualities, and most significantly, he had the trust of the leader, King David. Absalom was equipped to support the king and develop an outstanding nation. With his tools perhaps he could have led some day. Someday wasn’t soon enough for Absalom, and he did what the rebellious-prone do. He began to shift the opinion of the people.

In the course of time, Absalom provided himself with a chariot and horses and with fifty men to run ahead of him. He 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 for a decision, Absalom would call out to him, "What town are you from?" He would answer, "Your servant is from one of the tribes of Israel." Then Absalom would say to him, "Look, your claims are valid and proper, but there is no representative of the king to hear you." 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 gets 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 toward all the Israelites who came to the king asking for justice, and so he stole the hearts of the men of Israel (2 Samuel 15:1-6).

Absalom resembled David in many respects, but he became the antithesis of his father when he undermined the king. His actions divided a country and caused it to lose it its purpose. Good people who desired to do right were misinformed, and lives were lost. Ultimately, what he initiated took on a life of its own; and Absalom became one of the victims: the preordained end of all who rebel.

It is poignant that one so gifted would fail so badly. Far too few gifted individuals have the heart of David,

“Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7b).

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