“And Absalom happened to meet the servants of David. Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great oak, and his head caught fast in the oak, and he was suspended between heaven and earth, while the mule that was under him went on.” (ESV – Read the chapter)
What an ignominious end for a man of such potential. Absalom had the leadership gifts that could have made him a great king. He was able to inspire and motivate large groups of people and to unite them under a single banner. He became convinced that he would make a better king than his father had been and rebelled against him in order to claim the throne for himself. Had he been patient he would likely have received the crown anyway, but he wasn’t and so he didn’t.
Instead, he wound up swinging from some trees, held fast by his great hair. Earlier in Absalom’s story we are told about his hair. It was long and thick and rich. He would cut it once a year and what was cut off weighed in at 5 lbs! His mane defined him. It was a symbol of his prowess and power. None of that mattered, though, when he was trying to ride away from David’s men and it got all tangled in the branches of a tree. In America’s Funniest Home Video fashion his donkey rode off without him, leaving him dangling there in the air.
It would have been comedy if it weren’t such a tragedy. Absalom’s pride became the thing that wound up costing him his life. In the same way, we must always be on guard against the sneaky encroachment of pride in our lives. It can slip in when we hardly notice, take root, and slowly begin sucking all the life out of us.
Our pride and confidence should be in the Lord. We need to let who He is and what He’s done be the thing that most clearly defines us. If we root any of that in ourselves, we will quickly find ourselves building a structure without a sufficient foundation. When life gets hard, the walls will come a tumblin’ down. Choose humility, that’s the path that will always lead to life.