2 Samuel 15
There are so many parallels between this story of Absalom’s conspiracy and modern political strategy. First, Absalom sought to gain popularity among the people of Israel. Driving his chariot with fifty men running before him, a sort of ancient advanced team to gin up excitement about his arrival, made people stop and notice him.
Next he sought out those who were, like him, dissatisfied with the current government’s administration of justice. Absalom had taken justice into his own hands in killing his brother when his father failed to judge or punish Amnon’s rape of Tamar. Absalom waited by the city gate for those coming to seek judgment from the king, and planted the notion that they would not be heard or that justice would be subverted by King David. He suggested that if only he were in power, their needs would be heard and justice would be done.
Finally, he used a false display of religion to pretend he was doing God’s will and used the silence of those on the fence to inflate his perceived support. He invited two hundred to join him under the guise of worship, but they didn’t realize they were being used to suggest a much larger following. Their participation in worship supported the idea that this was a work of God and their silence lent credence to the notion that they supported his overthrow of David’s rule.
Today, politicians on both sides of the aisle lure people to follow them with promises of justice — yet under both Democratic and Republican leadership, injustice continues. Like Absalom, their primary motivation is their own elevation to power, not the cause of those in need. Silence in the face of injustice is still perceived as complicity and support for injustice. Leaders still use religious posturing to draw in those unable or unwilling to see the stark contrast between God’s Word and their own words and actions.
In the United States of America, God has given us a unique and historic privilege of having the power to choose those who lead our country. We’ve largely abdicated that responsibility by failing to hold leaders accountable and by failing to educate ourselves on those we are giving the power to not only rule our nation, but to have immense influence around the world. It is time we stopped being the fifty running ahead singing the praises of a corrupt politician, the two hundred lured into false worship for political gain, or the ones seeking justice and willing to give power to anyone who will speak up for our own selfish interest.
For believers, it is time for us to think and vote in terms of what is best for the nation as a whole, for all those who call America home now. We cannot act only in the interest of those who look like us, worship like us, or came from the same countries of origin as us. Today especially, as we celebrate and remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and his work, it is time to finally realize the promise of our pledge to be “one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.”