Stealing People’s Loyalty for Their King

In 2nd Samuel chapter 15,   we hear of the actions of Absalom toward his father, David. David and Absalom had always had a tumultuous relationship but in this particular story we hear of a unique treachery that son Absalom visited on his father, David.

Absalom would arise early in the morning and station himself along the road leading to Jerusalem’s gate. When travelers came on their way to the city, Absalom would endear himself to them by extending his hand, holding them, and kissing them while he told them that he would render justice on their behalf.

Verse 6 tells us that, “By behaving in this way toward all the Israelites who were on their way to visit the King for a favorable judgement on their behalf, Absalom was stealing away the loyalties of the men of Israel.”

As we read this story we see that Absalom was very cunning in his actions. Who would ever think to do something like that, we ask.

Unfortunately, the answer to that question is, “We would.” Granted, we may not formulate our actions exactly like Absalom did, but we come very close at times. Close enough that the results are essentially the same. Substitute the phrase “Authority Figure” for the word “King” and we see that by our actions we steal the loyalty of others for our authority figure, aka, our boss or our supervisor.

Let’s look at ways that action can play out. When others mention how they think highly of our boss we might agree at first but quickly point out some of the boss’s short comings. We might second guess some of his decisions. Perhaps, we point out how one of his decisions was not well thought out and how we would have better handled the situation. We could slowly but surely shift their high opinion of him to ourselves.

Our actions are little more than a violation of the ninth commandment where we are told not to bear false witness against another. That false witness need not be only in a court of law; it can happen in the normal day-to-day relationships we have with others.

Let us not forget and be on guard, there is a little Absalom in the best of us!

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