If I Were _________

from Lynda Lindsey

Then Absalom would say, “Oh that I were judge in the land! Then every man with a dispute or cause might come to me, and I would give him justice.”… Thus Absalom did to all of Israel who came to the king for judgment. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel. II Samuel 15:4-6   ~   The hearts of the men of Israel have gone after Absalom. II Samuel 15:13(b)

For the Lord had ordained to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, so that the Lord might bring harm upon Absalom. II Samuel 17:14(b)      

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. Proverbs 19:21

Absalom had been allowed to return to Jerusalem, yet he still lived as an outcast, banished from the king’s presence. Having had several years to brood and plot, Absalom embarked on an ambitious plan to make himself king. Absalom set himself up as Jerusalem’s unofficial greeter to people already feeling ill-treated by the justice system, then slyly planted the suggestion that they had come in vain to receive due justice. Ahh, but if he were king, he would be on their side. Surely David heard of all these public encounters at the city gates? Either way, it appears he didn’t intervene. 

Plot and counterplot, intrigue and conspiracy, whispers and innuendos stole the hearts of the men of Israel. David, despairing, weeping and mourning, fled Jerusalem lest the city be destroyed. David, betrayed even by his trusted counselor Ahithophel, set up an elaborate information network designed to foil Absalom’s takeover. Was David facing the painful reality that perhaps his own past sin played a role in his present situation, that these happenings were consequences of God’s judgment of his sin? Regardless, David cast himself on God, content to receive either God’s favor or His displeasure.

God did as David asked and turned Ahithophel’s counsel into foolishness. Absalom’s rejection of Ahithophel’s war counsel sealed Absalom’s defeat, for God had ordained that specific event in order to bring about His purpose in Absalom’s life.  Did Absalom receive ill treatment at David’s hand? Indeed! But Absalom, himself a murderer, allowed discontent, disappointment, and jealousy to lead him into deeper sin by playing the dangerous game, “If I were king, _____.” That arrogant thinking steals our hearts and leads us away from God. Guard your heart; don’t think or say, “If I were ________.”