Exerting Authority

Absalom had a perverted way of showing he had power in Jerusalem

2 Samuel 16.15-17.16

Reference: v. 22 So they pitched a tent for Absalom on the roof, and he lay with his father's concubines in the sight of all Israel.

Explore: OK, so I agree with you, this is a very random and unusual verse for me to select! But I was so disturbed by this verse that I had to admit that it was the one verse that stuck out to me the most.
Here we have Absalom who has forced himself upon the throne of David and in an act to show his power he sleeps with the ten concubines that David had left behind.
There are so many issues wrapped up in this one verse. But the one that stood out for me was his abuse of power. To begin with we see that he is a complete hypocrite. Three chapters earlier Absalom kills Amnon for raping his sister. Now we see him laying with all of David's concubines. And he did all this in such a public way to show off his power and authority. He certainly was not acting like someone who deserved to sit on the God-anointed throne.

Application: Power can be a dangerous thing. When we are in lowly positions we ofetn look on people with power and authority with rose coloured glasses; they get the good car park, they get to choose the best shifts at work, they get the better office… And yet when you are in a position of power you know that it comes with a great deal more responsibility, stress and pressure. Not often do the perks of a higher position outweigh the heftier burden placed on your shoulders.
In this passage we see Absalom take a total disregard for people he has power over. And yet are we always power-perfect? Do we expect others to do the jobs we'd hate to do? Do we have higher expectations on others than we have on ourselves? Do we take for granted the perks that come with the authority and not show understanding to those without? While Absalom showed his disrespect in a horrendously public way, sometimes our little, subtle boast of power can be just as offensive to someone working under you. Jesus had power over the disciples and yet He washed their feet. How will you use your power today?

Prayer: Lord, we all have power in some way, whether over one person or many. Help me to disvoer more ways of washing those people's feet. Amen.

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This article was written by Linda Bailey

Linda started theological studies in 1999 in Australia. After working for ten years in various church ministries, she now works as the breakfast producer at 89.9 LightFM - the Christian radio station in Melbourne, Australia. She writes blogs every day about passages she is currently reading in the Bible. Follow her on Google Plus +Linda Bailey or Facebook by clicking the like button on the right of this page.

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