Lessons From Absalom’s Waterloo 

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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.’” (2 Samuel 18:32)

Our first reading today contains the tragic end of David’s Son, Absalom. The story of Absalom is documented in the Bible so that we may learn what becomes of those who allow their quest for power go unchecked. It also teaches us that God in his mercy gives a second chance to those who repent and beg for His forgiveness (in this case, David).

Upon returning from a self-imposed exile as a result of killing his brother Amnon, Absalom got a widow to make peace with David and obtain forgiveness by trick. Using highly Machiavellian moves, Absalom assumed the office of Minister of Justice to those who had suits. He would tell them how David could not hear their cases and how he wished David could be replaced with a more competent person.

When Absalom felt he had gathered enough supporters, he decided to declare himself a King. Since he had a lot of fans and loyal friends, Absalom taught he could overthrow David his father by means of war. Absolom made a lot of mistakes. In his quest for power, he refused to listen to sound advice but took wrong counsels which eventually cost him his life.

No matter how good we judge ourselves for leadership, without God’s hand of approval and support, we only come to nothing. No one ever became a successful leader by usurping power! If the throne is not meant for you, the crown will never fit into your head. In your desire for power, remember that the position you seek is not worth the life of one person. Avoid dirty politics. You don’t have to kill to rule.

From another angle, the death of Absolom became David’s second chance. Just as God saved him from Saul, God saved him again from Absolom, his own son who was determined by all means to kill David. David did not even have to engage in physical battle with Absolom. Going by military might or physical strength, Absalom would have defeated David.

David’s victory came as a result of his contrite heart and humble spirit to the extent that even when he was cursed by Shimei, he did not allow Abishai to strike back. We serve a God of second chances. There is more joy in heaven over the sinner who repents than the ninety-nine who have no need of repentance.

Our Gospel passage today contains the healing account of Jarius’ daughter and the woman who had suffered from a haemorrhage for twelve years. This teaches us that ALL POWER BELONGS TO GOD. Who has the final say? No one but God. Not even death is beyond God’s reach. If all power belongs to God, it means that in our quest for power, we cannot afford to push God aside nor go against his commands.

Let us pray: Lord Jesus, free me from self-pride and over-ambition. Amen

Bible Study: 2 Samuel 18:9-19:3, Psalm 86 and Mark 5:21-43).

Fr. Abu

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