And behold, the Cushite came, and the Cushite said, "Good news for my lord the king! For the Lord has delivered you this day from the hand of all who rose up against you." The king said to the Cushite, "Is it well with the young man Absalom?" And the Cushite answered, "May the enemies of my lord the king and all who rise up against you for evil be like that young man."
And the king was deeply moved and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. And as he went, he said, "O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!"
2 Samuel 18:31-33
The "favorites" lists come out about this time every year. There's Elijah and Isaiah. Eli and Levi make the lists, and so do James and Jude. Aaron and Thomas, Ezra and Benjamin are in the top fifty for 2019. And of course, we all know Marks and Lukes and Matthews and Davids. I have recently even met a young man named Moses. Bible-based baby names, even these days, grace boy bassinets far and wide.
But not a single list offers the name Absalom. Maybe there are a few out there, but far fewer than there should be. You see, all of us reflect the man Absalom. All of us are rebel sons who lead an insurrection in our own souls.
We are Absalom in our discontent. Dissatisfied with God's provisions, we scheme for more. We lust for those things forbidden. Our heart rebels. Yet God's Word teaches us,
But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. (1 Timothy 6:6-9)
We are Absalom in our anger. Somehow, in the siren song of the insurrection, we hear that we've been cheated. And we fume. Seething anger characterizes our outlook on all we see, particularly when we look upon our heavenly father. "He could've made a change.", we think. "He could've altered the outcome, or changed the wind, or given me what I demand." Like Absalom, our anger drives us to be slanderous and sinister.
We are Absalom in our fear. We live our lives in the shadow-stained half-light of the fear of man, the fear of the future, the fear of the past. So we reject the very one who promises joy, and proclaims peace. But then our rebellion does nothing to lighten the load of terror.
Indeed, we all are Absalom, armed and dangerous, and headed for destruction.
But unlike Absalom, we have a Father who intervenes before the battle is lost. For we are adopted sons of the Most High God. And God, in His mercy, sent His only begotten son to take the punishment for the rebels. His son was suspended on the tree of shame, and bore the thrust of the enemy's spear. The perfect son, who knew no sin, accomplished the work to bring peace into the chaos of rebellion. In Christ, our battle is over, the victory is won.
So we, Absaloms all, may put down our treasonous weapons of discontent, and anger, and fear. And we can, with God's blessing and empowerment, be found in league with the perfectly loyal Son of God.