Monday, April 28, 2014

The Dangers of Pride

This week for our Bible time during homeschool we are discussing the story of David and his son, Absalom. This story spoke to me about the actions of Absalom and his problem with being vain. In a sense, I think we can all look at our own pasts and find times where we were vain. As sad as this story is to read, I think we've all been Absalom in some way or another at some point in time.

2 Samuel 14:25 In all Israel there was not a man so highly praised for his handsome appearance as Absalom. From the top of his head to the sole of his foot there was no blemish in him.

As I read the story, I pictured Absalom as the "Gaston" of his day, like the character from Beauty and the Beast. He was handsome and charming, not to mention obsessed with winning the hearts of the people so he could be king. He would wake up early each morning and go to the city gate. While he was there, he acted as politician trying to win favor over the people to create followers.


2 Samuel 15:1-6 In the course of time, Absalom provided himself with a chariot and horses and with fifty men to run ahead of him. He would get up early and stand by the side of the road leading to the city gate. Whenever anyone came with a complaint to be placed before the king for a decision, Absalom would call out to him, "What town are you from?" He would answer, " Your servant is from one of the tribes of Israel." Then Absalom would say to him, "Look, your claims are valid and proper, but there is no representative of the king to hear you." And Absalom would add, "If only I were appointed judge in the land! Then everyone who has a complaint or case could come to me and I would see that he gets justice." Also, whenever anyone approached him to bow down before him, Absalom would reach out his hand, take hold of him and kiss him. Absalom behaved in this way toward all the Israelites who came to the king asking for justice, and so he stole the hearts of the men of Israel.

Pretty soon, Absalom gained enough followers who supported him in wanting to become king. His father, David, heard of this news and was probably shocked that his son was trying to steal his crown away from him. His son's followers had increased in strength and before he knew it, he planned to do anything he could to become king, even at the expense of hurting his own father. His pride got in the way of God's plan for the kingdom as he tried to make his own plan.

What happens when we try to designate our own plans instead of following God's plans? Do we succeed? Do we ever get so caught up in creating followers that we loose sight of what is really important?

So what happens next? David has to flee Jerusalem to keep from being killed.

2 Samuel 15:14 Then David said to all his officials who were with him in Jerusalem, "Come! We must flee, or none of us will escape from Absalom. We must leave immediately, or he will move quickly to overtake us and bring ruin upon us and put the city to the sword."

I can't imagine being a father and having to run away from my own son who is plotting to kill me for his own power. I can't imagine having spent all of these years raising a child only to have them turn against me.

Yet, if we truly searched our hearts, I bet we could think of times where we wanted something so much that we acted in a similar matter. I'm not talking about hurting a family member physically. But I'm talking about a time we wanted to feel important, powerful, or even have people like us that we do it to the expense of hurting others. Let's be truly honest! We've all done it at some point in time. We've all acted with pride or with vanity in our hearts that we've hurt others and ourselves. We put our own wants and needs ahead of God's needs.

Perhaps, you cared so much about what someone thought about you that it became an obsession. Perhaps, you were trying to promote yourself in your career doing things that God wouldn't have wanted you to do. Or maybe, we thought that by doing something, it would allow others to like us more. It's such a sad way to live when we think about it. Yet, we've all done it or might be doing it now.

Continuing to read the story, we learn that David's followers are much stronger than Absalom's followers. David's men marched out to fight and David gives them a command.

2 Samuel 18:5 The king commanded Joab, Abishai and Ittai, "Be gentle with the young man Absalom for my sake." And all the troops heard the king give orders concerning Absalom to each of the commanders.

David knew what had to be done to his own son. He could have taken his rage and had his men treat Absalom unpleasantly. But his command was to "be gentle." In all the times that someone has hurt you with their pride or vanity, how have you responded? Did you respond in being gentle or did you seek the most unpleasant of revenge? Sure, David knew his son would have to die but he still commanded them to "be gentle."

2 Samuel 18:9 Now Absalom happened to meet David's men. He was riding his mule, and as the mule went under the thick branches of a large oak, Absalom's head got caught in the tree. He was left hanging in midair, while the mule he was riding kept on going.

Absalom ended up getting hung in a tree by his own mule as he went to meet David's army of men. Sadly, Absalom died in that tree leaving David to mourn for his son. What a sad story, right? I can't even imagine having to raise a child, watch them become prideful, and then end up dying because of their pride. Wow!

Phillippians 2:3,4 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

In this world, we are encouraged to be narcissists, thinking about what we want, and we are persuaded to feel entitled to everything. How often do we consider others better than ourselves? What can you do today to be less selfish? When we do things for others, our hearts grow in joy. I love that feeling!

As I pondered this story, I sat back to question my own thoughts. As sinners, we can get so carried away with our pride and conceit sometimes. I am so thankful that we have His word to go back to, to read from, and to ask God for forgiveness in our lives. When I read this story to the kids, I realized that I had an area of pride that I needed to work on in my own life. So I am going to spend some time asking God to take that pride away in order to live that joyful life. Be encouraged, my friends! He is there and He is ready to speak to our hearts.


  1. Good stuff! Wondering what you use/how you approach Bible time in your tell... :)

    1. Hi Erika, We use Veritas Press for Bible. What I love about it is that it is in chronological order. You get one new Bible card each week that focuses on that week's story. Then each day, we review the Bible card and read from various other sources to gain more insight into it. At the end of the week, they are tested on the card and there is review from previous weeks on there as well. If you are interested, check it out at We use the History through them too. This year, we spent extra to have Hunter do the online history course. It's pretty cool. Even if you just wanted to do the Bible, you could purchase the Bible cards and the extra sources that go with it (Journey Through The Bible, Child's Story Bible, etc.). Thanks for your comment!