A few days ago I was reading in my quiet time about how King David constantly had to deal with fickle “friends.” And I use the term, “friends” in the loosest possible way. Here is the Psalm I was reading:
1 Save me, O God,
for the floodwaters are up to my neck.
2 Deeper and deeper I sink into the mire;
I can’t find a foothold.
I am in deep water,
and the floods overwhelm me.
3 I am exhausted from crying for help;
my throat is parched.
My eyes are swollen with weeping,
waiting for my God to help me.
4 Those who hate me without cause
outnumber the hairs on my head.
Many enemies try to destroy me with lies,
demanding that I give back what I didn’t steal.
5 O God, you know how foolish I am;
my sins cannot be hidden from you.
6 Don’t let those who trust in you be ashamed because of me,
O Sovereign Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
Don’t let me cause them to be humiliated,
O God of Israel.
7 For I endure insults for your sake;
humiliation is written all over my face.
8 Even my own brothers pretend they don’t know me;
they treat me like a stranger.
At first glance it just looks like another cry of David’s for the Lord to deal with his enemies. But look closer.
Who are the enemies?
Closer study reveals that one was a trusted military leader and advisor who decided that David’s rebellious son, Absalom was going to be the winning team and crossed over to the dark side for that reason and that reason alone.
Years of friendship thrown out the window.
The thought of doing what’s right?
Tossed aside like it matters nothing.
And what it would do to David?
Never gave it a moment’s consideration. Absalom had a much higher approval rating at the time, so the decision was easy.
But that is not the worst of it.
Look closer at verse 8.
Even his own brothers?
David’s brothers were jealous and hateful his entire life, but they were something else as well.
They were short-sited.
All they could see was the here and now. When things looked bleak for David they made sure their voices of disapproval were loud and clear.
Too bad that served only to seal their stupidity in stone.
David went on to win that conflict and once again his approval with the people sky-rocked.
And the traitorous official?
Faded off into obscurity never to be heard of again. I guess approval ratings are as fickle as the people who vote in them.
Never put your finger in the wind to gauge which way your character will go. It’s a bad idea. Your approval with man will ebb and flow no matter what. It’s your approval from God that matters most. Audiences fade and swell for each of us throughout our lifetimes—it’s the audience of One the really matters.
Oh, and as far as approval ratings go—I wouldn’t count ‘W’ out just yet.
History may prove you wrong.