Alan Taylor on Authority & the Absalom spirit

Notes by Anthony for Grow Groups based on Alan Taylor’s Evening talk :


God has given us an impossible task – and authority to do it.
Eph 2:10

Nobody has ever grown in God without living under authority – which is the way to have authority.

Pray for our nation and its young people especially with regard to disorder on the streets.

There are things God has put inside you that won’t be unlocked unless you learn to live under authority

Literally the word authority means ‘that which settles a matter.’
These days we google things to settle matters, it’s become an authority!

What’s the final authority for Christians?

Also the word means – the word of the Author

God is the Author- do we give him authority? In what ways might we demonstrate that?

God draws us to himself as a loving Father, into the story he has written for you.

Authority = being under the Author.

One Bible character who lived contrary to being under authority = Absalom.

Find where he appears in the Bible. (Leaders help the group look eg. in a concordance or online at biblegateway).

Absalom was King David’s son. Well, one of them.
He had a sister called Tamar, who was raped & then abandoned by Ammon, another half brother.

There was a family cover up of this horrific incident David does nothing – so eventually Ammon broods before he takes revenge and kills his brother, and was himself exiled for that.


Eventually Absalom gets back in David’s court and has some freedom, he has as a charismatic personality and draws many people to himself- over 4 years – secretly undermining his father – then he calls together a following and announces himself as King!

Absalom was a handsome man with long hair, but that becomes his downfall when his army is routed and he gets caught in a tree.

Q: how are pride & rebellion linked?

It all started with Heart Failure.
Absalom was offended, rebelled against his leader/father because he was not doing what he wanted.

Q. The leader (his father) was wrong. What should absalom have done instead? What’s the right way to help fallible leaders who get it wrong, to put it right?

The prophet Malachi prophesies a day when fathers hearts get turned to their children. The government have been urging parents in the London riots to call their children home but others comment that many don’t know who their fathers are! Pray for the fatherlessness crisis in our land.

I am the law.
Absalom then became judge, jury & executioner.

He said ‘I am the law.’
He decided to take the law into his own hands. He knew what should be done and did it himself rather than operate under the established authority.

Q. Can you think of / share a time when you did this? What was the result?

Jesus gives us the gift of his Holy Spirit and a community to be part of and accountable with. We are not just meant to live how we please.Jesus was punished for our rebellion. Will we now live under his kind authority? Or face the wrath of God.

Q. Can you think of an area in your life where you are struggling against authority because ‘it’s a stupid idea/ leader/ rule anyway.’?
Read what 1 Sam 15:23 says about that rebellious ‘I know best’ spirit.

Absalom would not admit he’d got it wrong. He’d dig his heels in instead. Then he got into rebellion, ingratiating himself, not openly criticising – but that always has an eroding effect, because it comes from a negative heart.

Q. Are you good at saying sorry?

Alan talked about his own generation saying that young people don’t like to get under submission – perhaps to what others older in faith are envisioning.

God gives us authority – I think I’m going to talk about that a little next week- but if you rebel against authority and try to write for yourself a better story than the Author of life, you can find you are unknowingly fighting against God. Thats scary!

What’s even scarier?
The people follow him!
There are wolves in sheep’s clothing in churches too. We have to watch out for them.

Pray for the Elders, staff & all in any kind of leadership at Ivy MCR that we will all honour one another in how we speak, think and act toward one another, remembering that living under God’s authority welcomes him – and his power- into your life.