II Samuel 15:1-2 says of King David’s devious son that “Absalom used to rise early and stand beside the way to the gate; and when any man had a suit to come to the king for judgment, Absalom would call to him and say, ‘From what city are you?’ And he would say, ‘Your servant is from one of the tribes of Israel.’ Then Absalom would say to him, ‘See, your claims are good and right, but no man listens to you on the part of the king.'” There are a couple of notable things about Absalom’s actions:
— “Absalom used to rise early and stand beside the way to the gate …”. This young man was ambitious and worked hard. That he would “rise early” is a good thing — he just used it for subversive ends!
— It also says that he would “stand beside the way to the gate”. Absalom put himself in a place where he would encounter and influence many people, and as we see later in the chapter, he did just that, and “stole away the hearts of the men of Israel.” (:6).
Jesus said in Luke 16:8 that the sons of this age are often more shrewd than the sons of light. While not imitating their character and goals, we may sometimes learn from the actions of ungodly people. Absalom was a notorious character, yet we may still be challenged by his strategy and his work ethic. He worked very hard, and he purposefully put himself in the position to influence as many people as possible. Many of us as followers of Christ would do well to work as diligently for the Kingdom of God, as Absalom did for his own devious ends!