2 Samuel 15, Warning Signs That You Are Scheming
1. You Are Orchestrating Attention (v1)
2. You Are Undermining Other People (v2-4)
3. You Are Pretending To Care For People (v3-6)
4. You Are Faking Devotion To God (v7-9)
5. You Are Using Secrecy And Deception (v10-13)
2 Samuel 15, Warning Signs That You Are Scheming
2 Samuel 15, Warning Signs That You Are Scheming
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Well here in second Samuel Chapter 15 we're jumping into this account where there is this issue between Absolom and David Absalom, the son of David.
There's a bit of a history there that leads up to this, as Absalom's sister was treated Reprehensive Lee by one of his brothers.
And then Absalom kills his brother.
He goes into exile for a while.
Joab works out a plan to convince David to bring Absalom back, and he's back and not really, still on good terms with the king.
But now in Chapter 15 we see him begin to execute a plan to take over the Kingdom.
And as he executes this plan, it's something he was very, very patient in waiting for.
He was the first born of David and so he was first in line to be king.
But he wasn't patient enough to wait for David to be off the scene.
And instead he decides to make this happen at a quicker pace on his own terms.
And so, Absalom, you could say, is scheming and executing a scheme here.
In second Samuel chapter 15.
Now as we consider this chapter this passage, I've titled the Message Warning Signs.
That you are scheming.
Warning signs that you are scheming now, we could look at this at a couple ways. Of course, we could look at this passage and really spend some time considering how to protect ourselves from the schemes of others or how to recognize and watch out for, because the reality is there's not just one Absalom in history, but there's been many absalom's in history, many times where.
People have sought to take charge, take authority, take advantage of a situation to work something out for themselves and.
Of course, like the innocent that are mentioned here in the passage that they went along with Absalom, they didn't know anything about the scheme that they were just kind of caught up in it.
They were invited by him.
They went on with him unknowingly and so they become part of his plan and his scheme upon in his plan.
And so we could spend some time considering how to protect ourselves from that.
But this evening instead, what really is?
Pressed upon my heart is for us to consider.
Our own hearts.
For us to reflect on where we're at and what's happening within us, and those schemes that we might be plotting, planning and seeking to bring about in our lives.
Now, of course, we're probably not scheming to take over the country like Absalom was.
I don't know.
Maybe you are maybe someone online you know is.
Watching this and.
Scheming for that, and perhaps that's the case, but we can scheme for all kinds of things that are not God.
's will and not God's plan for us and it's appropriate for us to really allow God to show us that the reality is that Absalom, you know this kind of behavior is put potential impossible for any of us and we need to continue.
To surrender our hearts and submit our hearts unto the Lord.
And so I want to.
Consider some warning signs. Looking at Absalom's example to to recognize when we are scheming. Now, before we get into the actual passage, I want to take a moment and recommend this book.
It's called a tale of three kings by Jean Edwards, and it is a kind of a retelling of these accounts in first and 2nd.
You know first with the relationship between Saul and David and then the relationship between David and Absalom, and looking at both relationships and and how they interact and how many times were solves, and many times were David's, and sometimes were absalom's, and and how we respond to and relate to different scenarios in our lives. It's a book.
That's been used by the Lord to encourage me many times throughout my walk with the Lord, and so a tale of three kings.
I would encourage you to pick it up.
Walk through it a little bit.
Allow the Lord to just do some ministering to you about your relationships with authorities with those that you have authority over and there's a lot of great truth illustrated.
In that way.
But as we consider Chapter 15 again, I would ask you.
I often ask you this.
How do you see yourself as you read through this passage like where?
Where are you in this passage?
Many times we were identifying with one of the the the persons involved, right?
And so we probably would not identify immediately with Absalom, right?
And immediately in this passage, we think we're David.
Maybe we think we're one of the innocent, just caught up in this scheme or whatever, but but typically we kind of think of ourselves as the hero and the reality.
Though that we need to consider is that we have absalom's in the church.
We have souls in the church. We have David's in the church. We all think we're Davids, but some of us are solves and some of us are absalom's and and the reality is that we probably are not.
Great at recognizing when we're not the David.
's in the.
Church right that when we're not the David of our family or.
Of our church.
Or of our community when we're not the the hero or the one who's in the right place with the Lord we we may not be equipped and very great at recognizing that Pastor David Guzik puts it this way.
Divisive people almost never see themselves as divisive. They see themselves as crusaders for God's righteous cause and often believe or hope God's hand is upon them.
It happens a lot, there's divisions.
Within families there's divisions within church there's divisions between people and a lot of this comes back to schemes and plots and plans and attempts to accomplish things that are not God purposes.
But it's often done by people who are not aware.
Of their condition and that they believe themselves to be on a righteous cause.
All the while scheming, behaving, planning, plotting like absolute Pastor Warren Wisby just describes faith as living without scheming, and I think that's a great way for us to think about it.
Faith is living without scheming, without us trying to force our way and to force our plans to make things happen that we want to happen, but.
Really allowing God and trusting God to work out the things that he want.
To work out we can scheme about anything that is not part of God's plan for us. We can scheme about our family.
We can scheme about a spouse.
We can scheme about being popular or having a certain career or going to a certain college or having a certain position or status.
We can scheme about all kinds of things.
In our lives and we need to be watching out.
All of us.
Have the capacity.
And so we need to know the warning signs and so we'll look at 5 warning signs from absalom's example here.
The first warning sign that we'll see found in verse one.
You are orchestrating attention.
Here's a way to recognize here's something just let it be a red flag in your mind in your.
Hearts, when you realize that you are orchestrating attention for yourself.
Verse one tells us after this it happened that Absalom provided himself with Chariots and horses.
And 50 men to run before him.
So this is immediately following the reconciliation between Absalom and David in Chapter 14, and so after things are kind of settled a little bit, and Absalom, it now has a little bit of a freedom to be out in public and out in the open.
Now he decides, you know what I really need.
Is I need?
A chariot, and it's interesting.
To consider right, why?
Why did he?
Need a chair?
Yeah, was it for transportation?
Obviously no, like he didn't have to go far.
He lived in the city he was executing this plot within the city until he finally went to Hebron, but but it wasn't that he had, you know, just such a great need for transportation.
You know, I'm just traveling 3 hours a day and so a chariot would be.
So helpful to.
To get me to where I need to.
Go, did he need a chariot for speed?
Of course, that's no as well right that?
He was in the city.
He was the Prince.
He had everything that he needed.
He wasn't in the the midst of, uh, an urgent situation where he needed to to get from place to place to place really fast.
The chariot was not for speed.
It wasn't really for transportation.
Did he need it for battle?
No, the children of Israel were not in the midst of battle at this time.
He wasn't leading soldiers or riding in, you know, to battle against the enemy.
It was not for battle, not for speed, not for transportation.
Did he need?
It for show?
Well, yes, that's what the chariot is.
It happened, Absalom provided himself with Chariots and horses, and 50 men to run before.
This was meant to be.
It was set up to be an impressive display, so that everywhere Absalom went he had a chariot.
He had horses and he had 50 men.
He had his bodyguards.
You might call them or his entourage.
You know he had this impressive showing 50 men in the military.
Would make him a captain, so perhaps you know there's some elements of that he wants to be seen as invisible as a captain, and it's a big show that he's putting on.
In bringing about for himself at Chariot, horses and all of these men to run before him, so that everywhere he goes, there's a big to do.
There's a, uh, a lot of commotion, a lot of attention.
That is brought to him.
Right, it would be similar.
Perhaps if I hired a bodyguard, you know what?
If I had Josh singing out right here next to me just sitting behind me through the whole service and the sunglasses on?
And every day you know, and and I just kind of put on.
Now listen if I was.
Under a threat, it might be appropriate for me to hire A bodyguard, right?
But when I'm not under a threat just because I want to look like, hey, I'm really I'm so important.
People want to Take Me Out.
I was teaching at another church one time and one of the ushers came up to me right before service, and said Pastor.
I want you.
I just want you to know.
We got you.
Like OK, he's like no no, I'm serious like anybody tries to hurt you.
We got you and I'm like.
OK, he's like no, no.
I'm serious like they pull out a knife.
They pull out a gun.
We got you we're gonna take care we'll take the bullet for you.
And I was like does.
This happen like.
What is what?
Am I trying to prepare for in the midst of this, he kind of freaked me out a little bit, but you know, hey, if there was a situation where there was a need that be different but.
Great opportunity for us to imagine ways.
To make a scene to get attention.
But I would suggest there's a warning there when I'm when I'm orchestrating waves.
When I'm bringing about things so that I'm noticed so that I'm the center of attention so that I I am, you know, making a commotion as I come.
And as I go, then then there's some concerns that are right to be considered.
And right to be.
Brought up Chapter 14 of Second Samuel goes into some detail about how handsome Absalom was.
And as you read through that description, there in Chapter 14, I know, I know, you're probably reading that yesterday and you're thinking, wow, this.
Sounds a lot like.
Jerry, like just so handsome and so much hair right every year he would cut his hair and it would be £5 of hair.
That he would cut off every year. He would grow £5 of hair. Now why do we know how much hair absolom had?
How how do we know how much his hair weed every year?
When he cut.
It second Samuel 1426, when he cut the hair of his head at the end of every year, he cut it because it was.
Heavy on him when he cut it, he weighed.
The hair of his head at 200 shekels, according to the king.
Standard, why do we know how much absolom her weighed?
Because Absolom made it to do about it and wait it every year.
You could maybe think about it this way.
He set up a an event every year.
Everybody you know was on pins and needles waiting for you know his next tweet to go out to.
Say how much his hair weighed this year, you know, and and it was something that that he brought about.
Calling attention to himself so that all of Israel would be impressed with and astonish.
With him and how handsome he was and.
How much hair?
He had he set up a celebration every year so that everyone would stop and take notice of him.
Does that apply to birthdays?
I don't know, but you could think about it.
Pray about it when you're orchestrating attention.
It's not a guarantee that you're.
A scheming I guess, but it is something that causes you to say, Lord, where's my?
When I'm working out some kind of situation I I remember when I was young.
And always you know wanted to be part of the cool kids never really part of the cool kids, but always in many occasions trying to orchestrate attention and I I've shared this story many times, but it's worth sharing again.
I guess maybe not worth sharing.
Again, but you're gonna hear it anyways, so the.
The old church we were at.
I was like you know kid 13.
14 years old, whatever and and I would like position myself in the playground.
Where it was, insight of the window of the trailer where the cool youth kids would hang out and I would position myself there and I would do my gymnastics there in view, hoping that one of them would see me and say, whoa, there's a really cool guy doing back handsprings over there.
We should go bring him into our group and you know make him a cool kid too.
I would spend a lot of time there in this place orchestrating, like making sure I'm in the right.
I'd go look through the window when they weren't there and like OK, yeah, so I could just within this space here if I'm in I'm in view if I stay within this boundaries.
And orchestrating attention in that way. I never worked. It wasn't quite as successful as Absalom was, but that's probably a good thing and probably was God's protection in my life. But we can do that.
We can try to set up these things where we are getting attention where we're getting noticed and we need to let that be a warning and a red flag.
In our hearts.
Well, moving on to verses 2 through four, we get the second warning sign and that is that you are undermining other people and this one is pretty clear and obvious that there's an issue right versus 2 through 4 says this.
Now Absalom would rise early and stand beside the way to the gate.
So it was whenever anyone who had a lawsuit came to the king for a decision that Absalom would call to him and say what?
City, are you from?
And he would say, your servant is from such and such a tribe of Israel.
Then Absalom would say to him look your case is good and right.
But there is no deputy of the king to hear.
Moreover, Absalom would say, oh, that I were made a judge in the land, and everyone who had any suit or cause would.
Come to me.
And then I would give him justice.
Oh, if only if only I had the opportunity.
To set this right, I would set it right.
Absalom here is on a deliberate campaign to undermine his father David, and so it tells us he would rise early and stand beside the way to the gate.
Now in those days the city gates were where business was conducted and also where cases and court decisions were made for their structure.
In those days there would be local judges for the different cities and there would be cases and things decided all over.
Israel, in their appropriate cities and regions, but but when there was an impasse or a decision that could not be made, that was too difficult, or when perhaps there was, you know, like an issue with the decision.
And appeals courts and that kind of thing that then that case could be taken to the Kings gate and decided there at the Kings courts there in the capital of the nation.
And so that's where the business was conducted.
That's where the decisions were made.
That's where the court system was was happening.
But notice what it says there at the beginning of verse 2.
Absalom would rise early and stand beside the way.
To the gate.
So Absalom wasn't going to the gate, he was standing beside the way to the gate.
And So what he would do is he would intercept people that were coming with difficult cases.
They were coming to be heard.
They were coming to resolve this situation and and you could imagine you know any number of scenarios where people.
Are dealing with very difficult things in their life, and they're going through stressful things and hard things.
And maybe they got a decision that was unfair and unrighteous or unjust and and so they're they're trying to go and and get it made right.
But before they could get to the gate, essentially absolute would intercept them.
Tell them yeah, there's nobody there at the gate.
I was just there, you know.
A few minutes ago and so you might as well just turn back and go home and and taking away from them.
For one thing, their opportunity to have their case settled.
But along with that he would.
Use this opportunity to cut away the authority and the loyalty that the people had to David.
He would build a connection with them.
Hey, what city are you from?
Oh man, I have an aunt.
That lives there too.
Yeah Oh yeah, we.
Used to go.
There for the summers and Oh yeah, there's this leak over here.
We had you.
Know and and kind of build a.
Little bit of a bridge build a little bit of a connection and and he would essentially seduce these people to trust him.
So that he would say aw man, yeah you have a you have a good cake.
Wow, yeah that was so unfair.
What happened to you?
I can't believe that that that would go on that that judge said that in that little city that you're from or I can't believe that that that's allowed to have been.
You know, going on for so long.
Oh man, you have such a good case.
It, yeah, you're right you.
You deserve justice and.
What an unfortunate thing it is that there's no.
No person to hear your case up there.
I mean, ah, what a bummer.
'cause 'cause you really?
You know you need to be made right for that situation and and what happened there.
Oh man, what a bummer.
It is that David doesn't have someone there to hear your case and to make things right for you.
It was a sneaky, underhanded, wicked way.
To steal away the love and the loyalty for David.
That the people had.
Pastor David Guzik says it this way. Absalom's clever approach made him able to subvert and divide David Kingdom without saying any specific thing that could condemn him.
Absalom could do this.
Do all this and say I'm helping David to deal with all this discontentment while Absalom was in fact promoting discontent.
It was a vealed attack.
So that it would be very hard to charge.
Him, you know, for.
Any technical assault, any direct assault, but instead it was.
Again, sneaky, it was underhanded.
And so he would come again at this in a way that was undermining David cutting away the authority that he had in the eyes of the people.
Setting him up for what he's gonna bring about later on in turning the hearts of the people against him.
Again, he says in verse three your case is.
Good and right?
But there is no deputy of the king.
To hear you.
His technique is so refined, so good.
He is so good at this.
He actually convinces pretty much all Bible commentators to believe him.
Also, it's interesting as you read through these teachings about this chap.
Maybe they have it.
But I don't know it's a question in.
My head because time after time after time they say oh man Absalom is pointing out this weakness in David's administration and showing you know that he really wasn't being a good king and and taking advantage of him. Perhaps at a time of illness. And there's all these explanations and and.
It's all kind of based on many times the assumption that.
What Absalom is saying is true that but there is nobody there at the gate to hear the case.
But I would present it for consideration against that second Samuel.
Chapter 8 David reigned over all Israel, and David administered judgment and justice to all his people.
Like we're specifically told.
That judgment and justice was administered.
To all the people.
Now it is possible that this was an area of weakness at this time in David's life. It's possible that that it's all true, but at the same time I would suggest, hey, let's not just believe absolom at his word. This is a true.
Record of what?
Without declaring that it is the truth of the situation and let's, let's be careful that we don't just believe this and believe this accusation to be true so.
I think safer to believe that David administered justice, but he was again intercepting on the way to the gate.
Keeping the people from going to the gate.
And in this way, disconnecting them in their love and loyalty to David.
Now, of course, Absalom is not just undermining David, but he's presenting himself as the solution.
In verse four, he says.
Oh, that I were made judge in the land.
Man, if only I had authority.
Now notice he's not saying if I were made king that would be too direct of a declaration, his motivations and intentions would be really revealed in clear there, right?
But oh, if only I had.
A little bit of.
Authority to be a judge then then I could make your case.
Right and I could be so helpful and and so he's bringing in these people so that they will be devoted to him and believe that he cares for them greatly.
And so it's a warning sign it.
Causes us to consider.
Is there some undermining of other people going on in our lives now?
This can be a little bit tricky.
Because of course.
In our society we kind of celebrate our right to disagree our right to free speech.
And and there's there's some merits, and some good things.
That are part of that.
At the same time, I think we need to be really careful, especially as we're dealing with those that God has placed in positions of authority or allowed to be in positions of authority that.
That there is a carefulness that we are not undermining and kind of going around behind the the back way to try to undermine or thwart the authority of someone that God.
Has placed there.
Many years ago.
I remember being called.
I got a phone call and the person on the phone was describing this situation to me.
And this was back while Pastor Thomas still here and I was serving in different capacities.
But this situation is described to me.
And then they're saying, don't you think this is so wrong?
And don't you think you know we should do?
Something about it and.
It was from my perspective, out of the blue and I was like perplexed and confused.
Not really understanding like like what do I have to do with this?
The the situation in this scenario wasn't anything that I really needed to know about or be part of, but but here it is being presented and I'm being asked to make a decision, make a determination about it.
Make a judgment.
And as I begin to ask and like what like what, why, why are you talking to me about this?
What what do?
I have to do with this and oh because it's so wrong.
Don't you think?
And just continuing to kind of go back and forth like that for a little bit trying to understand like what what's really happening here and why do I have to make a decision about this at all?
Well then finally it came out.
Well, I told this to Pastor Tom, but you know he said this and this and I don't agree with him and don't she think that he's wrong in this and and so there is this setup that.
If I you know if the lid didn't protect me is maybe a better way to put it if I had just responded with whatever I thought and said whatever I thought I, I could have been contributing to the undermining of that.
And this person is kind of enlisting me and now they can go back to Tom and say, well, Jerry said this.
And Jerry thinks this and you know the.
All that junk that would follow after.
That, and that's the thing that happens in our lives.
Now I'm using the example of, you know this happening in the church.
But again, this can happen inside the home and parents undermining each others authority or kids working parents against each other right or or situations like that, where where there is this undermining?
Of of someone who got us placed in a position and and there is this.
Sneaky, underhanded attempt to take away some of their authority to take away the right position that they have and then eventually to you know, present themselves as the solution to that.
And we need to be careful of that.
We need to be careful.
About undermining other people.
We all have opinions about all kinds of things, and it's not necessarily wrong to share those opinions, but we also need to be careful that we're not doing so in a way that is undermining someone else that is taken away from what God is given to them.
In children ministry.
Perhaps there's a teacher who goes around telling other teachers?
I don't know why they chose this curriculum.
You know, I I would have done this and I would have done that and and it can happen in the children ministry.
It can happen in the youth ministry. It can happen in the Women's Ministry. It can happen to the church as a whole.
There's you know so many accounts continually of of churches that are divided and split by this kind of.
Undermining this competition.
This seeking for position or authority.
I mean just last week Noah, this guy in the.
Sound Booth right back there he.
Told me straight to my face.
That I could really benefit from singing lessons.
I mean, Can you believe the audacity?
Of that guy.
Well, listen at least he told that to my.
Face instead, instead of telling all of you guys and trying to take my position away from me right, undermining my authority.
He said it right to me that's the right way to handle it.
That's Matthew 18.
That's the right way to deal.
If this really is an issue, absolutely go to David and discuss it.
Go to David and seek to deal with it.
And if David is not responsive to it, then you know there's a whole separate process.
There's a whole separate thing to work through, but but this crafty, sneaky, underhanded way of trying to address.
The situation is not of the Lord.
Well, moving on to verses 336 we get point #3 and that is you are pretending to care for people. Here's some warning signs that you are scheming when you're pretending.
To care for people or to care about people.
Verse 3 again says Absalom would say to him look your case is good and right, but there is no deputy.
Of the king to hear you.
Moreover, Absalom would say, oh, that I were made judge in the land, and everyone who has any suit or cause would come to me.
Then I would give him justice.
And so it was.
Whenever anyone came near to bow down to him that he would put out his hand and take him and kiss him.
In this manner, Absalom acted toward all Israel who came to the king for judgment.
So Absalom stole the hearts of the.
Men of Israel.
Here we get to see Absolom putting on a great show pretending to care.
For the people, how do we know it's pretend well because of the things he's about to execute in his scheme.
In his plan, he is not interested in God's plan. He's not interested in what God wants. He's not thinking about the the what's best for the people. What's best for the people is for God's anointed.
To be the king over the people.
He doesn't care about that.
He doesn't care what God wants, he doesn't care what's best for them, he is.
Just seeking to get their favor to.
Get them on.
His side, and so he pretends to care.
So he makes up this.
Story about there being no deputy to hear he.
Appeals to them and says man, if only if only I just I would make things right for you.
If only I was given the opportunity, but.
Yeah, I'm just I'm just I'm held back.
You know I'm not allowed to.
Serve in this way and to bring this kind of justice to people around and and when people would bow down to him, right?
He's the Prince.
He's next in line to be king, so there would be this natural and customary ceremony of of bowing down before him, but but he would.
No, no, don't don't bow down to me.
Oh no, no that's I'm just like you, you know.
And he would raise them up and he would kiss them and and treat them like a brother.
Now again we can tell Absalom is not pretending because what he is seeking, what he desires is to be treated like royalty and and as you carry on in the account, you see him in that he wants to be in that position of authority after he's on the throne and he takes the throne from David.
You know, then he's not telling people no.
No, don't bow down before me.
You don't come near and let me hug you, you know we.
We were fellows and and we got to hang out and and you know, we're we're just the the same kind of person like no no.
This is all just a show that he's putting on.
Pretending to care for the people pretending to relate to them so that he can bring about his plans and his purpose, and so it tells us in verse six.
In this way Absalom stole the hearts.
Of the men of Israel.
Kind of brilliant in his politics.
And he stole the hearts of the people.
From the king that the people loved the man after God's own heart, the one that went before them, going out and coming in.
And you know solid Salinas thousands.
But David is 10s of thousands, right?
Was this great love and loyalty to King David.
And attacking that in this sneaky, underhanded.
Pretending to care for the people.
Pastor Warren Risby says, with great skill, the egotistical Prince used every device at his disposal to mesmerize the people and win their support.
David had won the hearts of the people through sacrifice and service, but Absalom did it by manufacturing an image of himself that the people.
David was a hero, Absalom was only.
And that weird celebrity.
I don't know.
It just kind of strikes a chord in our society today perhaps?
And and is something for us to consider.
Are we pretending to care for people building an image rather than being genuine?
Building an image, being, you know, presenting ourselves in a certain way to be received to be thought of in a certain way, but.
But it's not reflecting.
The actual condition of our heart.
We don't actually care for other people.
Actually, you know, love them or want what's best for them.
A part of the plan, a part of our attempt to get what we want.
We should be concerned when we recognize when we see when we notice that there is a disingenuousness in our relationship to people.
In our conversations with people in our in our talking with people and the way that we interact the way that we really, when we're fake with one another.
It should be cause for concern.
It's a warning flag flag that there's some schemes going on in our hearts, but not just when we're fake to people.
Verse seven and eight gives us point #4 when you're faking devotion to God, it's a warning sign. There's some scheming going on for sure. When you're faking devotion to God. Verse 7 now it came to pass after 40 years.
That Absalom said to the king, please let me go to Hebron and pay the vow.
Which I made to the Lord.
For your servant.
Took a vow while I'd welting gesture in Syria, saying if the Lord indeed brings me back to Jerusalem, then I will serve the Lord.
And the king said to him, go in peace.
So he arose and went.
To hear on.
Now the beginning part of verse 7 is a bit troublesome.
For some it came to pass after 40 years and so there can be some wrestling with absolute did this for 40 years.
Well, there's a little bit of debate and discussion about what is actually being described here, so the.
Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament scriptures.
Records this as four years so that, between verse six and seven there was four years that passed, and so it's possible that there was a typo in the copying of the Hebrew script, and so the the Greek script might be accurate, and it was four years that Absalom did this.
Other opportunities or other suggestions.
Or that it was 40 years after a certain something.
So 40 years, perhaps after David was anointed to be king.
Back in first Samuel 16.
Or it could be that it was after Absalom turned 40.
That's another theory that's presented, and so.
Either way, it's after four years or after 40 years of something, then this is what came to pass.
And So what?
Is it well?
Absalom says to the king.
Please let me go to Hebron, to pay the vow which I made to the Lord.
Now Absalom is referring to this time where he was in exile after he killed his brother Amnon, and he ran away for his life.
He was there in Gescher and so now he comes back and he says.
While I was there I was in exile for those three years and and I made a vow.
Oh God, if you bring me back to Jerusalem, I will serve you, and I will sacrifice you, and I will, you know, do these things.
And so there's this vow that I made.
And so it's time that I'm back, and oh, father, you know our relationship is restored.
I I need to fulfill this vow, I told God I made this promise to God.
That I would serve him in this way.
Now reading through the account, we can see it's a fake valve.
I mean, maybe he made the vow, but he really doesn't care about the vow.
His objective is to get to Hebron.
And Hebron is going to be the place where he pronounces himself to be king and really starts the overthrow of David King.
That we read about for the rest of Chapter 15 now Hebron was where Absalom was born.
And so maybe there's some connection there.
Some strategy for him in that regard.
Some kinship with the people if he brought it was an important and prominent city because you might remember it was the original capital, David Rain from Hebron.
For the first part of his reign over the nation of Judah, and so it was the original capital of David's Kingdom. Absalom was born there.
It was a little bit of a distance away from Jerusalem.
Enough place to really gather together an army and to execute this plot against David and Jerusalem.
So he comes up with this story or he did make the vow, but he's using that as an excuse to get to hear on.
He says your servant took a vow while.
I dwelt at Gescher.
I need to go serve the Lord.
Now, why would a person fake?
God is never fooled, but sometimes we are fooled into thinking that God can be fooled by our fake spirituality.
But the reality is, God is never fold there's there's never a good reason to fek
Devotion to God to fake spirituality, to fake or relationship with God.
We we fake.
Our devotion to God, we fake spiritual things.
For ourselves and for others.
God is never fooled, and so when.
We find that.
We're doing things.
Again in a.
Disingenuous way when when all of a sudden it's brought to your attention?
Let let it be like the red alert from the Holy Spirit when all of a sudden you're in the midst of a prayer and you're thinking why am I even praying this?
I don't care like what.
Why is this happening or or or in the midst of, you know, a time of worship or a midst of seeking to serve the Lord in some capacity.
And when you're.
Putting on a show.
And you're praying out loud, but you're just thinking about.
I wonder what Rick thinking about?
I mean, should I raise my hands a little bit higher?
OK yeah I should raise my hands higher.
Yeah, I think Rick would be more impressed with that.
OK and yes, Jesus, we do pray for you know like when when those kinds of things.
Hey listen, we're all people here.
We know what it's like there's a million things happening in your head even in the midst of worship.
And prayer and and devotion.
To the Lord and serving the Lord.
We know it's not difficult to fake devotion to God.
To be serving God for a show nobody around, I don't pick up that piece of trash, but people around.
I go look.
How servants I am, you know, picking up the trash in.
The parking lot that.
Faking devotion to God seeking service to God is a warning sign.
They're scheming in my heart.
There's plans and plots that that are not of God.
In verse 9, David answers and says go in peace.
I think that's interesting to consider because.
We can be very vulnerable to these kinds of.
Because there's many occasions where we we really want it to be true.
I mean, David.
For him to hear his son say, oh, I made a vow to the Lord, I just want to serve the Lord.
Perhaps there was all kinds of warning flags in David's mind, and in his heart, right? Perhaps there was.
Some advisers around him.
Saying, you know, I don't think your son is like looking out for your best interest.
I think you need to be watching out, but you know here comes Absalom and says I want to serve the Lord.
Please let me go serve the Lord and and David's like. Yeah, that's what I want to hear. I want you to be right. I want you to be pursued. Oh, that's so great.
Sometimes we can be extra vulnerable because we want it to be true.
So bad and so on the other side, you know that's something that we can watch out for and we need to be careful because people around us can be vulnerable to that.
And it's not hard for us to fake it and to convince them and for them.
To be excited about it.
People fake repentance.
People fake revival people fake worship people fake prayer.
People fake love.
All kinds of different aspects of devotion to God and and all of those people fake people, fake people fake.
You know, substitute our own names.
Because there are times in our lives where we fake all of it also, but let it be a red flag.
Let it be a warning sign for us.
There's scheming going on. Well, finally, verses 10 through 13 gives us point #5 and that is you're using secrecy and deception.
Clear warning sign that you're scheming when you're having to keep.
Secrets and using deception to accomplish your plans and purposes.
Unless it's a surprise party for Elsa, then it's OK to be secret and deceptive, but aside from that, secrecy and deception are clear.
Warning signs something bad is going on.
Verse 10 and 11, then Absalom sent spies throughout.
All the tribes of Israel saying as soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then you shall say Absalom rains in Hebron.
And with Absalom went 200 men invited from Jerusalem, and they went along innocently, and did not know anything.
Absolute as he goes to Hebron, he sends out spies.
Why are they called spies?
They're not people going into a foreign land to try to scout out and get the report and bring it back.
Right now they're spies because they're going out secretly, they're.
Mixing in with the crowd in all these different places, they're they're being planted in different places strategically.
So that they could make the announcement across the whole nation at the same time, Absalom Reigns in Hebron.
And so it's a secret plan. The spies are sent out with this secret message, the secret agenda they're planted strategically throughout the nation to be able to accomplish this announcement. But at the same time, there's deception, right? There's these 200 men invited from Gerus.
Now it would be one thing for Absalom to go and to fake his devotion to God all by himself.
It would still be wrong.
But it would just be him by himself, right?
But no, instead he invites these men from Jerusalem.
He tricks them, he deceives them.
Hey guys, I want to go worship the Lord and I I want to invite you.
Would you come with me and let's have a worship service and a sacrifice and a devotion to God and so.
So all of these people say, yeah, that sounds pretty good worshipping God sacrificing that usually means there's a feast involved too, so we're gonna have some good food.
Yeah, let's do it and so they go along now you could see an absolute perspective like he's pulling away 200 key individuals from David's Kingdom from David's.
You know, realm of influence as he does this, and so he gets them out of Jerusalem and and you can see him building his.
Support building his army.
To take down the Kingdom of David.
Verse 12 then Absalom sent for Ahithophel, the Ghillie Knight, David Counselor.
From the city.
While he offered sacrifices and the conspiracy grew strong for the people with Absalom continually increased in number.
Kind of the final straw.
And it was a really solid straw that was added to the bunch was a hit that fell.
He was David counselor.
Someone who is close to David, part of the Court of David.
Trusted by David.
Trusted by the nation.
Absalom gets a hit that fell on his side and there's.
Lots of discussion about why Ahithophel would participate in this. It all kind of relates to the issue with David and Bathsheba from a few chapters earlier and a hit FL was related to Bathsheba and so very possibly there's some bitterness over David's treatment of Bathsheba and her husband and.
All of the things that went on with that ahithophel turned against David and joined up with Absalom. This one hurt David greatly. There's a couple songs that David wrote about this Psalm. 41, Psalm 55.
And you can kind of see David's heart in the matter, but as a hit that fell comes it brings great credibility to the whole thing, and so the numbers increase continually. It tells us there in verse 12.
So much so that verse 13 says a messenger came to David, saying the hearts of the men of Israel.
Are with Absalom.
The hearts of the men of Israel, it's happened.
It was building, building, building, building.
It reached the tipping point.
More of Israel is with Absalom than with David, and now Absalom is ready for his attack.
He's going to go on in the next few verses to come against David.
David is going to flee out of Jerusalem.
Spend some time in the wilderness, or read about that as we continue on in the the Bible in three years, but.
Using secrecy and deception, Absalom is able to bring about this revolt this overthrow.
Of David's Kingdom.
This is not unique to.
Nations to politics.
The Kings of Israel.
This is something that we face.
In life that there is often schemes and plots and plans that require secrecy and deception to bring them about.
The apostle Paul, when he was warning the Church of elders.
I'm sorry the Church of the elders of the Church of Ephesians is what I was trying to say there and acts.
He warns them about this kind of thing happening in acts Chapter 20 as he's heading to Jerusalem.
He's expecting to not see them again.
He gives them this strong warning.
I know after this he says that after my departure, savage wolves will come in among you and not spare the flock.
Also, from among yourselves, men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.
Therefore watch and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone.
Night and day.
Talking about the church as a flock, he says there's going to be savage wolves.
That will come in, but then also there will be those that come from among you.
There will be those.
Who rise up from among you?
And they're they're part of you, but they're going to speak perverse things.
There's going to be this attack from within.
Secrecy, deception, manipulation and notice.
The objective to draw away the disciples after themselves.
Now, that's not what they're going to announce, right?
They're not going to say everybody.
I want to just gather everybody to me and take everybody away from Peter like that's not what's going to happen, right?
Like it's going to be disguised as something else, pretending to be something else.
Some other issue, perhaps, or some other promise, some.
It's not really genuine, but it's just going to be used to accomplish the purpose of bringing people after themselves.
That's the reality, Paul says.
Listen, I warned you night and day for for years in tears.
Because reality is from among you.
This is going to take place.
And and I would say again, let that cause us to consider.
If there's going to be scheming division.
In our home.
We must not just always assume that it's other people bringing that about.
If we're going to be thinking about schemes or plots or plans being executed within the church or within a Ministry of the Church or within.
Society we must not automatically assume that it's all those other you know people.
They're always the problem.
The reality is that.
Many times those who are executing schemes.
Are not really aware.
They're not conscious of the schemes that they're bringing about.
And there's a justification in their minds and in their hearts that has them fooled and deceived.
And and sometimes we might be.
Those people, the ones who are scheming.
But again, as Warren Rowsby says, Faith is living without scheming.
Without trying to force your way or execute your plans.
Listen, if your God is so tiny.
That he cannot put you in that place of authority, that you supposedly belong in.
Then you need a new God, like if.
I know we wrestle with this.
I know we wrestle with these kinds of things over the years, but if your God is so tiny that he can't bring about what is good and right in your eyes without your scheming and and help in these sinful things.
Then you're not worshipping the true and living God.
You are mixed up in your understanding of God.
That's not walking by faith.
Faith is living without scheming.
So watch out for these warning signs.
Let God switch your heart.
Are you orchestrating attention toward yourself, undermining other people?
Suddenly you know not direct attacks, but but just enough to kind of cut them down a little bit, pretending to care for people they can devotion to God, or using secrecy and deception to bring about your plans.
You got one of these.
Hey, maybe there's a reasonable explanation.
You got a couple of these going on that man, but the warning flags the alarm sounds could be going off in your head.
Let let the Lord show us when we're scheming.
When we're plotting and planning and not trusting him to work out his purposes and plans, not walking in obedience to him.
But instead seeking to accomplish our will instead of his let's pray, Lord, we pray that you would help us.
Lord, we know your word tells us that our heart is deceitful and and we can.
Many times Lord be in full out rebellion against you.
But be also be so oblivious to it.
And so, God, I pray that you would give us a clarity even right now as we pray over this Lord, that you would show us that you would bring out the truth of our hearts and our minds.
Lord, would you bring it to the surface?
Help us Lord to see it clearly that we might surrender it, repent of it and turn it over to you and got any area of our lives that we've been scheming and planning and plotting.
Against your will, what I pray is we surrender that to you Lord, that your will would be done.
Lord, that our lives would truly be to accomplish glory for your name, and so would help us to.
Come into submission.
To your will to your plans to your purposes.
And to be settled and OK.
But if that doesn't include the.
Thing that we want so desperately.
But may we surrender those things to you.
And really give ourselves completely.
In faith and trust, knowing that you want what's best, you know what's best and you will accomplish good.
As we trust you and walk with you, we pray this in Jesus name.