Beware of the Flatterer

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.

2 Samuel 15:10-12 (NIV)
Then Absalom sent secret messengers throughout the tribes of Israel to say, “As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpets, then say, ‘Absalom is king in Hebron.’” Two hundred men from Jerusalem had accompanied Absalom. They had been invited as guests and went quite innocently, knowing nothing about the matter. While Absalom was offering sacrifices, he also sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counselor, to come from Giloh, his hometown. And so the conspiracy gained strength, and Absalom’s following kept on increasing.

2 Samuel 15:10-12(MSG)
Then Absalom sent undercover agents to all the tribes of Israel with the message, “When you hear the blast of the ram’s horn trumpet, that’s your signal: Shout, ‘Absalom is king in Hebron!’” Two hundred men went with Absalom from Jerusalem. But they had been called together knowing nothing of the plot and made the trip innocently. While Absalom was offering sacrifices, he managed also to involve Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s advisor, calling him away from his hometown of Giloh. The conspiracy grew powerful and Absalom’s supporters multiplied.
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“But Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, “As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, you shall say, ‘Absalom is king in Hebron.’” Then two hundred men from Jerusalem who were invited [as guests to his sacrificial feast] went with Absalom. They went innocently and knew nothing [about his plan against David]. And Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counselor, from his city Giloh, while he was offering sacrifices. And the conspiracy grew strong, for the people with Absalom increased continually.” -AMPLIFIED

We find Absalom’s plot thickening. At first he resorted to charm and flattery, but now his true intentions are about to be revealed. Absalom is about to try and overthrow his father as king and set himself up as ruler.

We are told that for four long years Absalom went through his charade. (He was certainly dedicated to his deceitful plan.) He beguiled as many people as he could. Scripture tells us exactly how he dealt with those he waylaid as they were on the way to see his father. “When people came to Absalom to show their respects, he would embrace them and kiss them. Absalom did this to everyone who sought justice from the king; and in this way, he made himself the favorite of the people of Israel.” -2 Samuel 15:5-6 (VOICE)

After those four years Absalom felt safe enough to make his move. Once again he did so under the guise of something noble and honorable; when in fact he was being deceitful and lying. Going to his father he asked, “My king, please let me go to Hebron and satisfy the vow I made to the Eternal One. I made a promise when I lived at Geshur in Aram: “If ever the Eternal will bring me back to Jerusalem, then I will go and serve Him [in Hebron.]” -2 Samuel 15:7-8 (VOICE)

Of course David, his father, who had forgiven Absalom of his previous offense by this time, agreed to allow him to go and fulfill his vow. All of this was part of Absalom’s diabolical plan to come to power; to basically wretch it away from his father, who had been nothing but gracious to him. David bid Absalom to go in peace. Go with my blessing. (If only he had known what Absalom had in store for him and Israel.)

Absalom had built up, over those four years, a group of men who were willing to do his bidding. As soon as he left his father’s presence he sent out his messengers, his spies, if you will, throughout Israel. “He had secretly planted messengers in all the tribes of Israel with these instructions: “As soon as you hear the trumpet play, then shout that Absalom has been crowned king in Hebron.”-2 Samuel 15:10 (VOICE)

As if all of this was not bad enough we find him involving people in his plan who had no idea what was going on. “Two hundred men from Jerusalem who were ignorant of Absalom’s plan were his invited guests on the journey.” -2 Samuel 15:11 (VOICE)

While there were others who joined willingly when they realized what was happening. “While Absalom was offering sacrifices to God, he sent for David’s counselor Ahithophel of Giloh. The rebellion grew in power and number…”-2 Samuel 15:12 (VOICE)

Someone had the backbone and the fortitude eventually to go to David and inform him about what was happening. “A messenger came and told David, “The hearts of the people of Israel are with Absalom.” -2 Samuel 15:13 (NIV)

Finally David understood and realized what it was that Absalom was up to. “Then David said to all his officials who were with him in Jerusalem, “Come! We must flee, or none of us will escape from Absalom. We must leave immediately, or he will move quickly to overtake us and bring ruin on us and put the city to the sword.” -2 Samuel 15:14 (NIV)

It is important for us all to be aware that there are those who are out there that come with their own personal agendas. They care nothing for the precedent, standards, or the line of authority. They know what they want and they will do whatever it takes to get it.

Jesus warned his disciples of this. “Listen carefully: I am sending you out like sheep among wolves; so be wise as serpents, and innocent as doves [have no self-serving agenda]. Beware of men [whose nature is to act in opposition to God], for they will hand you over to the courts and flog you in their synagogues; and you will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given you within that [very] hour; for it is not you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”-Matthew 10:16-20 (AMP)

The young Solomon must have been observing what was happening around him and learning. As most children he must have been very impressionable. So when he wrote these words many years later we can assume that he had observed and experienced what he was speaking of. Solomon wrote, “A lying tongue hates those it hurts, and a flattering mouth works ruin.”

Beware of the flattering mouth. Lesson learned.

My prayer:

Lord, give me wisdom in dealing with others. Help me not to fall victim to those with flattering lips. Allow your Holy Spirit to guide me and help me to put my pride aside in order to listen to His wise counsel. I know that it is important for me to be as wise as a serpent and as innocent as a dove. Help me do so, I pray.

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