After this Absalom got himself a chariot and horses, and fifty men to run before him. And Absalom used to rise early and stand beside the way of the gate. And when any man had a dispute to come before the king for judgment, Absalom would call to him and say, “From what city are you?” And when he said, “Your servant is of such and such a tribe in Israel,” Absalom would say to him, “See, your claims are good and right, but there is no man designated by the king to hear you.” Then Absalom would say, “Oh that I were judge in the land! Then every man with a dispute or cause might come to me, and I would give him justice.” And whenever a man came near to pay homage to him, he would put out his hand and take hold of him and kiss him. Thus Absalom did to all of Israel who came to the king for judgment. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel. 2 Samuel 15:1-6.
Joab’s scheme to bring Absalom back to Jerusalem and reunite him with his father is not going the way he expected. Absalom is back, but he’s being ignored. He decides to fix that and begins to actively campaign to be king. It’s it an elected position, but Absalom must sense that there is some current of discontent in the kingdom. So he begins to endear himself to the people who have grievances.
Using what would become a template for campaigns far in the future, Absalom wins the hearts malcontents everywhere by doing no more than “feeling their pain.” Nowhere does it say he actually solved anyone’s problems. But he is very successful nonetheless, and he collects enough supporters to create a powerful conspiracy to have himself crowned in Hebron.
Since the way ex-kings in the ancient world were usually dealt with was with the sword of the new king, David flees Jerusalem. His unpopularity had to be noticable enough, even to him, that he did not call the army to resist the rebellion. He had his loyalists, including the Levites with the Ark of God, but he sends them back.
David’s unwillingness to fight for his crown is noteworthy. He didn’t fight to get it. Yet he’d fight the Philistines or the Amalekites at the drop of a hat. He saw his authority, the crown, as something borrowed from God, whereas defeating Israel’s enemies was a standing order from God. He may have thought this was how God was making a change in leadership, and he was wary of resisting it.
Today the church in America has largely forgotten it’s mission of evangelizing the lost. Rather than seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, we seek a secure republic that will protect our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We want to win the election more than we want to win the lost. Then we wonder why we are so vastly outnumbered.