Manipulation Won’t End Well


2Sam. 15:1   After this Absalom got himself a chariot and horses, and fifty men to run ahead of him. 2 Absalom used to rise early and stand beside the road into the gate; and when anyone brought a suit before the king for judgment, Absalom would call out and say, “From what city are you?” When the person said, “Your servant is of such and such a tribe in Israel,” 3 Absalom would say, “See, your claims are good and right; but there is no one deputed by the king to hear you.” 4 Absalom said moreover, “If only I were judge in the land! Then all who had a suit or cause might come to me, and I would give them justice.” 5 Whenever people came near to do obeisance to him, he would put out his hand and take hold of them, and kiss them. 6 Thus Absalom did to every Israelite who came to the king for judgment; so Absalom stole the hearts of the people of Israel.


The sad truth of this story is that Absalom was an unusual young man, gifted with many skills and abilities. He seems to have been a natural leader who could have done much for God’s people. He probably could have served the community well as King, had he been of a different mind and character. Unfortunately, his character got the best of him and instead of waiting upon God and serving his father well, he decided to manipulate the situation to his benefit. It becomes obvious that his concerns are not for the people of the kingdom, but simply for himself. 

Nothing substantial is gained by manipulation. There may be momentary success but in the long run, things will fall apart and the truth revealed. Absalmon’s manipulation eventually led to his destruction. 


Absalom probably talked himself into believing that what he was doing was for the good of the entire community. I’m sure that he had convinced himself that he would be a better leader than his father, and this may have been true, but good leadership is not just about results, but about character. The leader should be the one who demonstrates good character to the people, modeling a way of life. 

There will come moments when we are tempted to manipulate a particular situation for our benefit. While there may be an immediate positive response, it won’t go over well in the long run. Jesus never saw fit to manipulate and he refused to submit to the manipulated temptations from the evil one. He stood for what was right, even when there were consequences to face. 

We have to learn that we won’t always get our way. Sometimes we just have to live with that. God doesn’t need our manipulation of situations or circumstances. Learning to live in a place of rest and trust in God is how we grow spiritually. Manipulation will close the door on our spiritual development. 


Lord, may each day be one of continual and ongoing trust in you. Amen. 


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