I know we live in a different time era, but for a moment think back to days of a royal, magnificent palace. I have been outside of such a place in England and was very impressed by what I saw. It made me wish I could venture inside. What grandeur and majesty must be there! Now, can you imagine being the son of a king? What a great and promising future for a young man who is the prince and heir of a great land! So much is in store for him as he watches his father rule his lands and beyond! This young child or young man in his teen years knows that one day he will be elevated to the throne to enjoy wealth, power, luxuries, and all that comes with royalty.
THE ENTRANCE OF THE PRINCE
A prince in Scripture must have had similar ambitions and high hopes. He heard stories of his father’s great victory over a massive giant who was a great champion of the Philistines. He was reminded, no doubt, of songs the ladies of the land used to sing about his dad—even before his father took the throne. As a youth he, no doubt, held his head high as he would hear tales of his father and the great battles that he had fought. But somewhere along the line, a seed of rebellion was planted. It is normal for young boys with decent fathers to speak so highly of them. If they hear a negative word about their father, they are ready to have a fight. Dad, in their mind, is as we call him, “the man.” Yet, as these same boys grow older, this same dad now loses the luster of previous years. Over a very short amount of time, in the heart and mind of the son, the dad’s reputation is not so shiny, his character is not so deep, his strength is not so amazing, and his position of leadership is not so necessary. With this attitude comes rebellion. This seems to take place in the life of a man named Absalom.
THE END OF THE PRINCE
Now, imagine yourself being a soldier in the land of Israel fighting a fierce battle basically over a family feud? You find yourself risking your life for, as we might say in today’s vocabulary, a domestic dispute. Your leader, King David, is being chased away from his palace by his own son, who is seeking to take over his reign. The king has made it very clear to keep this young man alive, regardless of the situation. Picture yourself in battle, sword in hand, running through the woods, and coming upon a man hanging in an oak tree—not playing Tarzan—but caught by his head and his hair. This takes “hanging around” to a new level. Imagine how surprised would you be when you find out that this is the actual man who is rebelling against his father and is the very same man upon whom no harm should come as commanded by the king himself? Knowing this, you run to the leader of the army and relay the information about the prince in the tree. You follow him to the spot where with very little hesitation he casts three darts into the heart of this man. Then, he quickly gives this man a haircut with his sword cutting him down from the tree. This once proud, pompous prince falls from the tree dead and his body is piled over by a large heap of stones. What an end to a once proud prince! Obviously, this is NOT the type of elevation that Absalom sought. The Scriptures teach very plainly that a man’s pride will bring him low (Proverbs 29:23). This man is the perfect illustration of a proud man being brought to a low estate. How does this happen to man with such high hopes of being lifted up as a king yet having his life end under a pile of stones? I believe it can be summed up in one word–REBELLION. Yet, a series of steps leads to
This word, as defined by Webster in his 1828 dictionary is as follows: Rebellion was originally a revolt or open resistance to the government by nations that had been subdued in war. It was a renewed war. *An open and avowed renunciation of the authority of the government to which one owes allegiance; or the taking of arms traitorously to resist the authority of lawful government; revolt. *Open resistance to lawful authority.
THE EXHORTATIONS CONCERNING THIS PRINCE
Mr. Webster adds this to his definition, and I thought it was excellent. “No sooner is the standard of rebellion displayed, than men of desperate principles resort to it.”
1. Root out Rebellion–When the seed of bitterness gets planted, let us quickly root it out and never let it be watered at all.
2. Run from the Rebel–Let us flee from personally raising the banner of rebellion, and then let us also flee from others who hold high that banner. Absalom was able to gather a group of people to follow him and his conspiracy was strong (II Samuel 15:12).
3. Remember the Rebel’s End–While they shoot to go higher, they might get as high as the boughs of an oak tree. Lucifer, the ultimate rebel, went from a high level to a low degree in a short amount of time. He will, praise the Lord, go even lower!!
Evangelist Eric Ramos