1. Where do you find it most difficult to wait your turn? (Record answers on the board.)
2. Why are we so impatient?
3. When can impatience be dangerous?
4. Think about a time when your impatience and/or ambition overrode good sense. What were the consequences? (Lead your class to suggest situations where impatience has widespread consequences.)
5. Speaking of ambition, when is it good and true? (Beyond business or politics, we could include reaching people for Jesus, being good parents, becoming the best you can be in your field, championing your child’s accomplishments, exceeding today what you contributed yesterday, setting wise goals, making the most of your time, etc.)
6. When is ambition selfish and hurtful? (When it is all about you and getting more or getting that promotion at all cost! Motive is the difference between good and bad ambition.)
7. What are the dangers of failing to wait and taking on a task before we are really ready?
Today, we will discover how Absalom’s impatience and selfish ambition created problems for David, and the nation of Israel.
Read 2 Samuel 15:1-9.
1. How did Absalom wrestle control away from David?
David had 19 sons who survived infancy and two that died in infancy. Absalom was third behind Amnon and Kileab. Amnon had been murdered, so there was only one other between Absalom and the throne. Patience was all Absalom needed to exercise!
2. How was Absalom’s request to go to Hebron a cunning move on his part? (That was the capital initially and Absalom was born in Hebron. He had connections there.)
Entitlement! Read 2 Samuel 15:10-12
3. What were Absalom’s actions here and how did they appear legitimate?
4. How would you describe Absalom’s character?
5. How were others unwittingly drawn into this conspiracy?
6. Can you recall when you’ve been drawn into a situation which later proved different from what had been presented?
7. What were the results?
8. How can a person’s loyalty get in the way of the truth?
9. What are the dangers of blind trust?
10. How can we stop selfish ambition and self-inflation from growing in us?
11. What questions could help? (How will this affect at least three people besides me and in what way? Where is the least little bit of selfishness in this action? How might I be justifying my self-interest with holy-sounding words? What fear am I easing? Is this truly what is best for all concerned?)
Consider these questions: Is it possible that David had been neglecting some of his duties as king? Had he secluded himself in the palace and was totally ignorant of what was happening?
Fright! Read 2 Samuel 15:13-16
1. What was David afraid of here?
2. Why were his servants so loyal? (Although David was a fearsome warrior he treated his subjects with generosity and dignity.)
3. Was David’s response what you would expect of one described as a man “after God’s own heart”?
4. What seemed to be David’s greatest concern in verse 14? (David seemed to be very concerned about the city of Jerusalem and the inhabitants.)
5. What are some ways we can show loyalty to a friend encountering opposition?
6. How does a person weigh the cost of being loyal against their own sense of security? (Are my actions demonstrating integrity and is it the moral action to take, regardless of the loss I might have to take?)
Flight! Read 2 Samuel 15:24-30
1. Does it seem that David had any selfish ambition here? (Not to me. He did a prudent thing by asking the priest to keep him informed as to what was happening, but yielded himself to the will of God, whether it bring life or death!)
2. Why do you think David sent the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem? (It wasn’t David’s ark; it represented God’s presence among His people, Israel!)
3. What did David’s returning the ark to Jerusalem say about David’s relationship with God?
4. How was this decision practical?
5. How do you respond to the statement, “Faith and grief are not mutually exclusive”? (There are numerous places in the Bible where people were grieving deeply and yet had strong faith.)
6. How did David show both faith and grief?
7. Read Psalm 3. How would you describe the interaction of faith and grief in this Psalm?
8. How can we grieve betrayal in life and still maintain trust in God?
9. Where is the balance between “common sense” and faith? (We must admit that sometimes they seem to be in opposition. We must bathe our decisions in prayer seeking God’s guidance and have the courage to follow Him!)
Summarize and Challenge!
In the PSG Brett Selby makes the following statement on page 74: “Unfortunately the work of evil sometimes intimidates the people of God. The diversion of their focus from the power of God to the schemes of man brings fearfulness and anxiety.”
1. How is this truth demonstrated in today’s study?
· Selfish ambition leads to self-inflation of our abilities and entitlements.
· Opposition becomes an opportunity for true friends to demonstrate their loyalty.
· Believers must weigh the risks in the face of threats, trusting God for deliverance.
2. Evaluate for a moment your life goals. What adjustments do you need to make to ensure all your goals are God-honoring?
3. Can you name any sin that does not have its root in selfishness? (When we’re on the throne, we create destruction—no matter how we try to excuse it. When we move off the throne to truly show care for others, we give life—and find it.)
We experience the most fulfilling life when we spend our life for God and others! In giving we receive!
Close in prayer, asking God to help all of us to remain focused on God’s will and not be distracted by the devil’s schemes. Thank God for His protection when we’re surrounded and besieged by dangerous and evil situations.
19. Eliphelet Plus two unnamed who died in infancy.