In yesterdays post we got a feel for how real this civil war was. It wasn’t going anywhere and lives we constantly being lost because of it. Our application from today’s reading in 2 Samuel 3 tells us “This war occurred because Israel and Judah had lost sight of God’s vision and purpose: to settle the land, drive out the Canaanites, and to obey God’s law” and instead of working together to reach these goals, they waged war against each other. To no surprise a fight breaks out between Abner, the commander on the side against David, and Ish-Bosheth, who is Saul’s son that Abner helped make king over the rest of Israel, outside of David’s tribe of Judah. Ish-Bosheth accuses Abner of sleeping with one of his dad’s (King Saul) concubines, Rizpah, a mistress of Saul’s. At this time this was actually considered an act of treason and showed someone trying to claim the throne. Based on what I looked into, we don’t really know if this accusation is true, but our application does say “because Ish-Bosheth was a weak ruler, Abner was running the country; thus he may have felt justified in sleeping with Saul’s concubine. Ish-Bosheth, however, saw that Abner’s power was becoming too great.” After being accused Abner gets mad and basically tells Ish-Bosheth that he’s going to hand over his kingdom to David. Abner sends messengers to David to make an agreement with him. David agrees, but he asks first for his wife Michal back. (Do you remember her? She was Saul’s daughter who was given to David in marriage, she helped David flee when Saul was trying to kill David, but in one of Saul’s fits against David, he gave Michal over to a different man to marry) “Perhaps, David still loved her…more likely, he thought that marriage to Saul’s daughter would strengthen his claim to rule all Israel and demonstrate that he had no animosity toward Saul’s house.” (application) Next, we see Abner speak today’s scripture, but we need to see the full picture before digging in. At this point David and Abner got together, talked it out and they were good. David even prepared a feast for him and his men. They made an agreement and Abner “went in peace” to go gather the rest of Israel to share that David would now rule over them. Well, more drama ensues. Joab, the commander of David’s army, gets mad at David for even talking to Abner and says that Abner is only going to deceive him. Well, Joab takes it into his own hands, sends men after Abner, and once Abner gets there, Joab murders him. (If you remember Abner killed Joab’s brother, in self defense, this seemed to be Joab getting his revenge) David obviously was mad because now that agreement was gone, but also that his own commander did the crime. David goes on to make sure it is known that he didn’t do it, that Joab did, and even though David didn’t agree with it, he didn’t punish Joab for it either, other than making him mourn over the life of Abner.
The reason today’s scripture stuck out to me is because Abner is actually speaking this scripture to the elders of Israel. And our application tells us that getting the support of the elders meant that he was serious about it. With this scripture, “there was a strong possibility of overcoming tribal jealousy and uniting the kingdom” (application) What I felt moved by in this is that others can help us hear from the Lord. I believe others stories and testimonies can speak directly to us. Have you ever sat through a sermon and left thinking, WOW! That felt like God was speaking directly to me! When we have a problem or decision to make, we absolutely first take it to God, then we can ask for support from our God given community and try to seek out the counsel of those we know are in right relationship with the Lord.
Have you experienced a time when you sought out counsel from someone after praying about something and felt their words were something you needed to hear? Do you have a problem or decision that you feel you need to share to get further counsel? Take it to the Lord and ask him to show you someone who would be a good source of encouragement and then be bold enough to simply reach out.
Heavenly Father, this story is a lot, we see the way you were working to create peace and then flesh took over and great sin occurred. We know our flesh cries out for things like anger and revenge, help us to leave feelings of flesh in your hands. Lord, we thank you for giving us the desire for community. In this time, it is hard to keep, help those who feel they have no community right now, to meet them and show them that it may look different, but there are people around each of us that you have placed in our lives as ones we can turn to, to talk through and seek counsel from. We pray you place upon our hearts those we can trust to turn to for Godly help, not worldly help, and give us the courage to seek them out. We know you created us to live in community, after creating Adam, you knew he needed another person, because all the animals weren’t the right companion for him, in this weird time in our society, we pray you show us our community, that we can feel the comfort of companionship. In your loving name we pray, AMEN!