Sooner or later you’ll be tested on what you believe to be right. It’s one thing to say you believe something but when you are blindsided by an attack on what you believe, then you discover just how deep your conviction is. The attack may not be a hostile threat or prolonged humiliating ridicule. It could be sugar-coated, with tons of compliments or generous offers of favours and benefits. The smiling offer, not the threatening frown, is usually the most successful strategy in buying someone.

Rebellious Absalom was causing King David, his father, no small amount of grief. Absalom led a rebellion against his father. King David ordered his army captains to suppress the rebellion but to ‘deal gently’ with his own son. Everyone understood the King’s orders. Despite Absalom’s rebellion, he was still the king’s son and the king had commanded the soldiers to deal gently with his prodigal boy.

It wasn’t an arrow that stopped Absalom. His own source of pride, his long hair, got tangled in the branches of the oak tree. He hadn’t ducked low enough, as he rode his mule through the forest. Swinging from the oak branch, he became totally vulnerable.

One man saw the King’s son predicament. Because of the King’s command, he dared not harm him in any way. When Joab, one of King David’s top men, heard of the tree incident he said to the man:

Joab said to the man who told him, “What, you saw him! Why then did you not strike him there to the ground? I would have been glad to give you ten pieces of silver and a belt.” But the man said to Joab, “Even if I felt in my hand the weight of a thousand pieces of silver, I would not reach out my hand against the king’s son, for in our hearing the king commanded. ‘For my sake protect the young man Absalom.’  2Samuel 18:11-12

Did the man think: “Ten pieces of silver and the honourary belt from King David’s top General? Ummm… tempting indeed. That would be quite an honour. I could become an historic figure and my family sure could use ten pieces of silver.”

No! He didn’t even entertain the thought. His immediate response to the most powerful man in King David’s army was: “Sir, with respect, you could have given me 10,000 pieces of silver but I would not budge. No amount of money in the world would ever cause me to go against the King’s command to ‘deal gently’ with his son.”

Do you entertain temptations and attractive offers? Do you play around with them in your head, intending to ultimately say ‘no’ but, for the moment, you enjoy just imagining the what-ifs?  This man gave a decisive NO. It was his immediate and final response. Why? Because, deep within his heart, the king’s command had gripped his soul and, in no way, did he intend to violate it.

Judas was willing to sell an obedient Son for 30 pieces of silver. But, this man would not go against the King’s word, even for 10,000 pieces of silver, even though Absalom was a rebellious son.

How committed are you to your Christian values and the Word of your King? How much would it take to get you to compromise? Would you compromise for just one evening or weekend? What are you willing to sell and for how much? Are you toying with an idea right now which is the equivalent of flirting with pieces of silver and a belt? How much would it take?

Walk carefully and closely with the Lord today.

Warmly in Christ
Peter Ramsay

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