“So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.” 2 Samuel 15:6
When a wrong doctrine comes into the church, there must be a swift defense against it. Leaders of the church cannot wait and hope their people are equipped enough to not fall for Satan’s tricks. You always hope they are, but never sleep when the lion is prowling. David’s sin in 2 Samuel 15 was that he did nothing while his son stood outside the gates of the city campaigning to be the king of Israel. His objective was to steal the kingdom from his father. David should have stopped it. He didn’t.
So, Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel. His campaign worked. Why? It can’t be due to the truth of Absalom’s claim that David wouldn’t hear hear cases. We know from 2 Samuel 14 that he heard the case of the woman of Tekoa. It also wasn’t because David wasn’t a good king. We have enough in the Bible to tell us that God approved his kingship. If the man after God’s own heart wasn’t a good king then who was? No, David was a fine king.
Then how were their hearts stolen? Absalom was lying and he knew it. Surely there were others who knew it too. David certainly knew it. So, how could a liar steal their hearts? Because David was unwilling to do the hard thing and oppose his son. He didn’t see the lie as a big deal. Perhaps he thought it would pass. He was not aware enough of the way in which our pride can dilute our doctrine. Absalom played to the selfishness of the men of Israel. They wanted a king who would hear their case and take it seriously. David, according to Absalom, was unwilling to do that. If he was king, he would hear every case. He made friends. He made them feel important.
Absalom stole their hearts with his lies and four years later stole the kingdom from his father. It took time but Absalom got the only thing he really wanted – the kingship over Israel. His lies worked. He stole their hearts. But it could have been prevented. If David had acted against it, if he had put it down, if he had interceded on his own behalf, the kingdom may not have been lost.
Church leaders must be aware that there is always a man at the gate, telling lies to any who will listen, shouting in their ear that they too should be heard. But a hearing for every matter isn’t really what a church, nor a kingdom needs. It needs blessing from God. That only comes through the gospel. The gospel comes to the people through right doctrine. Right doctrine comes from the Bible. And the teaching of it all comes from the men established to lead the church by the Lord above.
If you are a leader of a church, God has placed you there. You have a strong duty to keep first things first. Do not lose the hearts of the people. It takes one lie. Keep the truth paramount. Keep Jesus the focus. Press hard on the gas pedal of the gospel. Propel your people into deeper truth, for it is there that we, with a single-mindedness on Christ, will see God. Then our matters do not matter so much, because we have a great King who will do something about them. He will hear them. Let us go to him, not a weak imitation.