Editor’s Note: AMI Quiet Times from May 11-17 are written by pastor David Kwon of Journey Community Church.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
2 Samuel 15:1-12
After this Absalom got himself a chariot and horses, and fifty men to run before him.  And Absalom used to rise early and stand beside the way of the gate. And when any man had a dispute to come before the king for judgment, Absalom would call to him and say, “From what city are you?” And when he said, “Your servant is of such and such a tribe in Israel,”  Absalom would say to him, “See, your claims are good and right, but there is no man designated by the king to hear you.”  Then Absalom would say, “Oh that I were judge in the land! Then every man with a dispute or cause might come to me, and I would give him justice.”  And whenever a man came near to pay homage to him, he would put out his hand and take hold of him and kiss him.  Thus Absalom did to all of Israel who came to the king for judgment. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel. And at the end of four years Absalom said to the king, “Please let me go and pay my vow, which I have vowed to the LORD, in Hebron.  For your servant vowed a vow while I lived at Geshur in Aram, saying, ‘If the LORD will indeed bring me back to Jerusalem, then I will offer worship to the LORD.’”  The king said to him, “Go in peace.” So he arose and went to Hebron.  But Absalom sent secret messengers throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, “As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then say, ‘Absalom is king at Hebron!’”  With Absalom went two hundred men from Jerusalem who were invited guests, and they went in their innocence and knew nothing.  And while Absalom was offering the sacrifices, he sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counselor, from his city Giloh. And the conspiracy grew strong, and the people with Absalom kept increasing.
During 1942, the Red Cross sent packages for prisoners held in German concentration camps. At one point, the International Red Cross asked for an accounting, and it turned out that at Buchenwald alone, some seven carloads of supplies (about 21,000 packages) were unaccounted for. Some of the prisoners who survived to see the collapse of the Third Reich were highly amused watching the SS (German) officers feverishly clearing empty Red Cross cartons from their offices in April 1945. The packages had been taken by another group of solders that were not originally intended for them—they took what did not belong to them.
In today’s passage, we see Absalom is seizing what does not belong to him – the kingdom. Instead of using force, Absalom uses his charisma and charm to win the people. He provides himself with chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him (v.1). Now Absalom would rise early and stand beside the way to the gate. Anyone who had a dispute and came to the king for a decision, Absalom would inquire about the person’s hometown and would say to him, “Look, your case is good and right; but there is no deputy of the king to hear you.” He was showing empathy to win the people’s hearts and it was working! Whenever anyone came near to bow down to him, he would put out his hand and take him and kiss him. In this manner Absalom acted like the king toward all of Israel. He would continue his rebellious plot by sending out secret messengers who would hail him as king as soon as the trumpet sounded (v.10). Absalom’s following would increase as his evil plot of rebellion would continue to unfold (v.12).
What can we learn from today’s devotion? We need to live a life of integrity that honors the Lord. The definition of the word integrity is “honesty, transparency, and being the same in one situation as another.” It means that you are not deceitful in any area of your life, which was not the case for Absalom. Integrity is the foundation for any Christian whether they are a leader, parent, student, employee, etc. We grow in our integrity by growing in character through His Word, prayer, and being part of community. Ask the Lord to search your heart this morning and reveal any areas that need to be surrendered to Him.
Lord, I want to continue to grow in my character and integrity. Help me to continually be a person who is the same in any situation. Reveal any areas of deceitfulness in my heart, which would lead me to repentance and change. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Ezekiel 16
Lunch Break Study
Read James 1:22-25
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.  For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror.  For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.  But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
Questions to Consider
- What does James emphasize when it comes to the Word?
- What is the result of being a doer of the Word?
- James uses a brilliant illustration of a mirror showing what it is like when we are not doers of the Word. What areas in our life are we just being listeners and not doers?
- James points out that it is not enough simply to know Scripture or godly teaching; knowledge alone is useless. What’s worse is when a person thinks that knowing the Bible makes one godly—he is self-deceived.
- The contrast here between the hearer and the doer is that the doer remembers the “law of liberty” and obeys the Word, which results in freedom and blessing.
- Personal Response
Living a life of holiness is a process of surrender and repentance. As we focus more on the Lord, it should reveal how depraved our hearts are; but it also becomes more evident how magnificent His grace is towards us. As we close the day, pray for greater integrity and holiness in our lives as the apostle Peter reminds us, “but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct” (1 Peter 1:15).