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Absalom vs Joseph: Grace vs Impatience

Absalom, the son of David, and Joseph, the son of Isaac, were born in two very different times.

One was the third son of the most famous and most powerful kings of Israel.

The other one was a son of a large family of twelve who ended up a slave in Egypt.

Both ended up in the royalty, but only one stayed.

Let’s see what happened…

Both Absalom and Joseph were known for being handsome. The Bible says of Absalom (2 Samuel 14:25),

And of Joseph (Genesis 39:6, NIV)

Now Joseph was well-built and handsome

Both men were also highly favored by their fathers. In the Old Testament story, Joseph is given a “long coat of many colors” to show his favored status as his Jacob’s favorite son and was delegated the task of watching over his brothers.

Joseph also gained favor in whatever situation he was in, whether that that was prison or slavery.

Now, Absalom….had gained the heart of a whole country (2 Samuel 15:6)

So both men had no problem when it came to getting along with people.

But only one survived to old age.

In looking at the stories of these two men, you see that both experienced hardship and separation from their families. Joseph was sold into slavery after his family tried a prank that went horribly wrong. Absalom’s half brother assaulted Absalom’s sister, which led to Absalom’s murder of that half brother and escape to his grandfather.

Both were put in unfortunate circumstances….

Joseph, however, remained humble about the situation. The Bible doesn’t indicate Joseph’s feelings, but we see there is no indication of anger or revenge.

He remained patient, working diligently where he was.

Absalom, however, came back with a welcome party(2 Samuel 15:1):

This is the difference between Joseph and Absalom. Joseph had learned to be humble, Absalom had learned to hide behind it.

But Joseph wasn’t always this way (Genesis 37:5–8)….

Here, as a youth, Joseph was giving the vision, but he didn’t know how to work with it.

It’s like being given a superpower before you learn how to use it.

Joseph will do this again, to the point that his father questions what’s going on. (Genesis 37:10)

Yet, it is the same power (dream interpretation) that Joseph uses when he’s get older…only he’s in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.

This time, however, he is more discrete. He doesn’t blurt it out. Instead, he is more humble (Genesis 40:8)

Here, Joseph is showing that the interpretations do not belong to him. They work through him on behalf of God. Joseph is also using the interpretation to help others, unlike the first time when his intepretation session got people angry.

Absalom, however, has gifts too. For him to be able to get the hearts and minds of the people, he had to be a skilled communicator.

Yet, he chose to not use this power to help others. He used it to elevate himself. (2 Samuel 15:10–12)

With that, he sealed his fate.

David gets his spirit back by getting the Ark of the Covenant and sends a spy. Being naive, Absalom first questions the spy, then lets him into his secret council. Absalom turns to one of David’s counselors-turned-traitor, Ahithophel, for advice.

He then disregards that advice..and Ahithophel knew it was the end of the road for Absalom (2 Samuel 17:23).

David’s side won.

But Absalom….wasn’t even in the battle. Because of his pride in his long hair, he chose not to cut it…even thought he would be going into battle. His hair was caught in the branches.

Joab, an officer of David, stabbed him with a spear three times. Joab’s servants finished off.

It seemed impatience got the best of Absalom.

For Joseph…

His humility and leadership (which he demonstrated with his father) were in full display…two years after he helped two people with dream interpretation.

One of them remembered Joseph and recommened him to the king of Egypt.

He was brought in.

Not only did Joseph (using his God-given power) interpret the dream. He also offered a plan to save the king’s country from the nightmare portion of the dream.

He was immediately promoted (Genesis 41: 37–40)

And those brothers of Joseph who put him in that cruel situation….Joseph got to see them bow to him…just like he dreamed.

So what’s my point in this story?

Very simple. Be aware of your gifts. Be patient in when you use them. Be of service when you do.

Without that, you’ll lose the blessing of that gift…and watch it turn into a curse.

Written by

Techie. Writer. Entrepreneur. Investor. Badass College Dropout. Believer. #prayerwarrior #restoretheroar #blacklivesalwaysmattered #getafterit

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