Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Whose Heart Are We After?

This is not a Tale of Two Cities, but a “tale of two hearts.” King David was a “man after God’s own heart,” while his would-be-king son, Absalom, was a “man after man’s own heart.” He was the antithesis of his father. We must look into the mirror of God’s Word and ask ourselves the same question; “after whose heart are we after?”

Looking into the dross that was the heart of Absalom in II Samuel 15:1 – 12, we see a man at his worst. He was a fraud, a liar, a manipulator, a usurper and ultimately a traitor to both his father and to his nation. He was a man obsessed with symbolism and disdainful of substance. In this passage we see not a single positive trait, he was devoid of any spiritual quality. What we do see in Absalom is a man who was pragmatically driven to succeed politically. He was a man who embraced the satanic lie that the “ends justify the means.” He epitomizes today’s existential nonsense that man can “create his own future” by “deconstructing the past.” He wanted to create his own “brave new world,” (to borrow a phrase from Huxley). Absalom aggressively adopted radical “outcome based” thinking in a twisted kind of “continuous improvement” mindset.

Specifically, Absalom rolled out a six-point plan to make himself king of Israel. It was methodically plotted and took a number of years to implement. He either was ignorant of the fact that “it is not in man to direct his own steps,” or he imagined himself being exempt from it due to his political genius, his personal popularity and his manipulative prowess. This was his plan:

1. He procured a chariot and runners to advertise his presence in Jerusalem. [15:1]

2. He established himself as a judge of the people by “rising up early to stand before the way of the gate.” [15:2]

3. He intercepted every complainant before he could reach the king for judgment. [15:2]

4. He agreed with and promoted every man’s complaint regardless of rightness, wrongness or merit. [15:2]

5. He publically complained of his father’s “absence” at the gate of judgment. [15:3 – 4]

6. Finally, he blatantly patronized every complainant by “putting out his hand and kissing every man” approaching the gate for judgment. [15:5]

Collectively, these things allowed Absalom to “steal the hearts of the men of Israel.” Once these hearts were stolen, Absalom graduated to using “religion” in order to fool his loving and forgiving father and ultimately to enter into revolt, rebellion and treason against “the Lord’s Anointed.” This was all made possible because Absalom saw himself as a man unshackled by the “faith of his father.” He saw himself as a man of “spontaneous action,” unlike his father, a man “trapped” by his convictions. He thought he could “free himself” from the chains of “morality.” By so doing he would “deconstruct the old” and “construct the new” on the ruins of his fathers’ kingdom – dancing, as it were, on his fathers would be grave.

Absalom, however, neglected to consider God in all of this. He, first and foremost, neglected to repent of his past sins – especially the murder of his brother Amnon. He neglected to pray for God’s Will and Direction. He neglected to seek counsel of any prophet or the Priests of God. He neglected to research the Word of God for wisdom. His neglect closed his soul, his mind, his ears and his eyes to the consequences of his pragmatic plans, best laid as they were. He would soon die in dishonor and shame.

We end as we began – are we “men after God’s own heart,” or “men after man’s own heart?” “Whose heart are we after?” How we answer that question will bring either reward or disaster when life’s door closes!

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