While Absalom was offering sacrifices, he also sent for Ahithophelthe Gilonite, David’s counselor, to come from Giloh, his hometown. And so the conspiracy gained strength . . . ~ II Samuel 15:12
READING: II Samuel 15:10-13
The little-known story of Ahithophel, King David’s highly regarded counselor, vividly illustrates three insidious temptations that may particularly ensnare gifted mentors: 1. to foolishly squander our God-given wisdom in support of an unworthy cause; 2. to underestimate the degree to which those we counsel could undermine our integrity; and 3. to evaluate our worth and success by whether or not people take our advice.
Let’s examine the first of these temptations.
David’s rebellious son, Absalom, led a massive revolt that rocked the nation of Israel. Absalom almost succeeded, in part because he persuaded David’s personal counselor to defect to his side. It was a major tactical and psychological triumph for Absalom because Ahithophel’s advice was widely revered “like that of one who inquires of God” (II Sam. 16:23).
What lured Ahithophel away from serving David, the Lord’s anointed? Why did such a smart man do such a dumb thing? Was he just naïve? Was he bored? Did he feel unappreciated? A mentor’s wisdom is a sacred trust. It was a grievous sin for Ahithophel to bestow that precious gift on Absalom’s poisonous rebellion.
Ahithophel’s story is a cautionary tale for knowledgeable mentors in the church planting community to exercise discernment by vetting the many eager church planters who vie for our long-term help. Some church plants are nothing but divisive church splits, unworthy of our hard-won sage advice. Some church planters are rebels at heart, modern day Absaloms.
Expertise in church planting is a precious commodity. It should be used to support legitimate church planting efforts that glorify God.
Father, Help me not to be wise in my own eyes. Amen.
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