After this, Absalom bought a chariot and horses, and he hired fifty bodyguards to run ahead of him. He got up early every morning and went out to the gate of the city. When people brought a case to the king for judgment, Absalom would ask where in Israel they were from, and they would tell him their tribe. Then Absalom would say, "You've really got a strong case here! It's too bad the king doesn't have anyone to hear it. I wish I were the judge. Then everyone could bring their cases to me for judgment, and I would give them justice!" When people tried to bow before him, Absalom wouldn't let them. Instead, he took them by the hand and kissed them. Absalom did this with everyone who came to the king for judgment, and so he stole the hearts of all the people of Israel. (2 Samuel 15:1-6 NLT)
I've been working with my son to teach him politics and government. This is a part of his home school curriculum. We've been reviewing different styles of government - everything from monarchies and empires to democracies and republics. Every style defines how power is obtained and maintained by those in power. Government is, by definition, determining how people are governed.
Absalom doesn't like how his father, David, is running the nation of Israel. Since he is David's son, he would be in the line of succession for a monarchy. However, Absalom is not David's first choice. He knows that. In addition, Absalom is angry at David for the way he handled the rape of Tamar. Absalom has decided to take matters into his own hands.
After four years, Absalom said to the king, "Let me go to Hebron to offer a sacrifice to the LORD and fulfill a vow I made to Him. For while your servant was at Geshur in Aram, I promised to sacrifice to the LORD in Hebron if he would bring me back to Jerusalem." "All right," the king told him. "Go and fulfill your vow." So Absalom went to Hebron. But while he was there, he sent secret messengers to all the tribes of Israel to stir up a rebellion against the king. "As soon as you hear the ram's horn," his message read, "you are to say, 'Absalom has been crowned king in Hebron.'" He took 200 men from Jerusalem with him as guests, but they knew nothing of his intentions. (2 Samuel 15:7-11 NLT)
Absalom began a conspiracy that was designed to remove David from the throne and place Absalom as the new king. He started by spending four years building a good name with all the people. Now, he is ready to make his move. He goes to Hebron - the first settling place of their ancestor, Abraham, and prepares to declare himself as king. He brings 200 people with him to kick things off. Then reveals his plan.
While Absalom was offering the sacrifices, he sent for Ahithophel, one of David's counselors who lived in Giloh. Soon many others also joined Absalom, and the conspiracy gained momentum. (2 Samuel 15:12 NLT)
Conspiracies are all about overthrowing the existing seat of power so another person can have that power. Conspiracies are about taking control. In God's Kingdom, though, this makes no sense. God is the one in control. No one can overthrow the reign of an all-powerful God. Even angelic beings, more powerful than us, learned this lesson the hard way.
Leadership in God's Kingdom is not about power. It's about following the King who has All Power and encouraging others to do the same. When you lead well and they follow you, they follow your King. They may even get better at leading people to Him than you are. This would something to celebrate, not something to fight against.
Should they conspire against you, they are really conspiring against Him and His Kingdom. Again, the picture is different. You find yourself not fighting against the conspirators, but trying to save them from the wrath of your King. They will not win. The only question is, will they change their minds about the conspiracy before it's too late and judgement day arrives.
I never worry about conspiracies in The Church - not because they don't exist, but because, as a leader, I have nothing to lose. I don't have power to protect or maintain. That's God's position. I simply need to make sure I follow Him with my whole heart, mind, soul, and strength. Then, I can approach conspirators like any other person who is against God - like a human being, made in His Image, who had been deceived and taken captive by His enemies. I work toward bringing them back to Him.