devos from the hill

A Tale of Three Kings – Chapter 21

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The Mars Hill staff is in a series of devotionals drawn from the book, A Tale of Three Kings by Gene Edwards. We share highlights from the book each week, but we invite you to get a copy and read along with us. The drama is a multi-act play telling the stories of three kings. It is a portrait of submission and authority within the Kingdom of God; offering hope and healing to the spiritually wounded.

Chapter Twenty-One

When you read the Google definition for “ambition,” it sounds reasonable and positive…

“Ambition – strong desire to do or to achieve something, typically requiring determination and hard work.” – Google Definition

synonyms: aspiration, intention, goal, aim, objective, object, purpose, intent, plan, desire, wish, design, target, dream

These are words we are encouraged to nurture and execute within ourselves, daily, in order to make our mark on the world and find purpose and meaning for our lives. So, in our study of Saul, David, and Absalom, who would you say had the greatest ambition for being king?

Last week we observed that Absalom’s discontent eventually led him into full rebellion against God and king. Sandwiched in between the discontent and the rebellion was the earnest desire to right wrongs and set people straight for how things should be done! In order to accomplish this, Absalom felt that he needed to be in charge; he needed the power, the platform, and the resources to make this happen. And the way to achieve this was to become the man in charge with full support of the people. What I have just described is the very definition of ambition.

Absalom’s dream sounded good at the onset; however, there were some key issues that our book points out as detrimental to his plan:

  • Such dreams rest totally on the premise that the people will follow the new leader and that all will see as he sees.
  • There is also the assumption that the people will continue to follow for a long time.

Our author points out that people will follow a leader for a short time. Generally, people do what they please. They never support anyone’s agenda for very long, even if they are following God.

Absalom has but one response in order to see his dreams accomplished: dictatorship. Rebels who ascend to the throne by rebellion have no patience with other rebels and their rebellions. He will then have to rule with an iron hand and eliminate all opposition. Becoming a tyrant was not his original intent. Where did Absalom go wrong? Was there fault in his dream? What does the Bible have to say about ambition?

As you work through these questions you may want to consider the following scriptures and to dig even deeper, read through this short article and verses in this link: What does the Bible have to say about ambition?

“Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands…” – 1 Thessalonians 4:11

“Therefore, we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him” – 2 Corinthians 5:9

“If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ” – Galatians 1:10

“But above all pursue his kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” – Matthew 6:33

By Comparison, Some Things the World says about Ambition:

“We can each define ambition and progress for ourselves. The goal is to work toward a world where expectations are not set by the stereotypes that hold us back, but by our personal passion, talents and interests.” –  Sheryl Sandberg, CEO of Facebook

A man’s worth is no greater than his ambitions.  – Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor

“Ambition describes those that achieve success based on their inner desire to do so and their belief in themselves.” –

“Ambition is not a requirement for success for many people. Many unambitious people would describe success as accepting what life has to offer and making the most of it. However, ambition is a necessity for those who want to achieve a specific goal, such as becoming a CEO, actor, or billionaire.” –

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