Lessons from a Mentor’s Downfall #1

While Absalom was offering sacrifices, he also sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counselor, to come from Giloh, his hometown. And so the conspiracy gained strength… ~ II Samuel 15:12

READING: II Samuel 15:10-13

The little-known story of Ahithophel, King David’s highly regarded counselor, vividly illustrates three insidious temptations that may particularly ensnare gifted mentors:

1) to foolishly squander our God-given wisdom in support of an unworthy cause;

2) to underestimate the degree to which those we counsel could undermine our integrity; and

3) to evaluate our worth and success by whether or not people take our advice. Let’s examine the first of these temptations.

David’s rebellious son, Absalom, led a massive revolt that rocked the nation of Israel. Absalom almost succeeded, in part because he persuaded David’s personal counselor to defect to his side.

It was a major tactical and psychological triumph for Absalom because Ahithophel’s advice was widely revered “like that of one who inquires of God” (II Sam. 16:23).

What lured Ahithophel away from serving David, the Lord’s anointed? Why did such a smart man do such a dumb thing? Was he just naïve? Was he bored? Did he feel unappreciated?

A mentor’s wisdom is a sacred trust. It was a grievous sin for Ahithophel to bestow that precious gift on Absalom’s poisonous rebellion.

Ahithophel’s story is a cautionary tale for knowledgeable mentors in the church planting community to exercise discernment by vetting the many eager church planters who vie for our long-term help.

Some church plants are nothing but divisive church splits, unworthy of our hard-won sage advice. Some church planters are rebels at heart, modern day Absaloms.

Expertise in church planting is a precious commodity. It should be used to support legitimate church planting efforts that glorify God.

Father, Help me not to be wise in my own eyes. Amen.

Dionne Carpenter


Recent Posts

Our Mission:
Equipping leaders to plant five million dynamic churches to reach the world for Christ.