Pray for an open heart and mind as you read God’s Word, even if it is puzzling or makes you uncomfortable.
Read 2 SAMUEL 19:1-18
 Joab was told, “The king is weeping and mourning for Absalom.”  And for the whole army the victory that day was turned into mourning, because on that day the troops heard it said, “The king is grieving for his son.”  The men stole into the city that day as men steal in who are ashamed when they flee from battle.  The king covered his face and cried aloud, “O my son Absalom! O Absalom, my son, my son!”  Then Joab went into the house to the king and said, “Today you have humiliated all your men, who have just saved your life and the lives of your sons and daughters and the lives of your wives and concubines.  You love those who hate you and hate those who love you. You have made it clear today that the commanders and their men mean nothing to you. I see that you would be pleased if Absalom were alive today and all of us were dead.  Now go out and encourage your men. I swear by the LORD that if you don’t go out, not a man will be left with you by nightfall. This will be worse for you than all the calamities that have come upon you from your youth till now.”  So the king got up and took his seat in the gateway. When the men were told, “The king is sitting in the gateway,” they all came before him. Meanwhile, the Israelites had fled to their homes.  Throughout the tribes of Israel, the people were all arguing with each other, saying, “The king delivered us from the hand of our enemies; he is the one who rescued us from the hand of the Philistines. But now he has fled the country because of Absalom;  and Absalom, whom we anointed to rule over us, has died in battle. So why do you say nothing about bringing the king back?”  King David sent this message to Zadok and Abiathar, the priests: “Ask the elders of Judah, ‘Why should you be the last to bring the king back to his palace, since what is being said throughout Israel has reached the king at his quarters?  You are my brothers, my own flesh and blood. So why should you be the last to bring back the king?’  And say to Amasa, ‘Are you not my own flesh and blood? May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if from now on you are not the commander of my army in place of Joab.'”  He won over the hearts of all the men of Judah as though they were one man. They sent word to the king, “Return, you and all your men.”  Then the king returned and went as far as the Jordan. Now the men of Judah had come to Gilgal to go out and meet the king and bring him across the Jordan.  Shimei son of Gera, the Benjamite from Bahurim, hurried down with the men of Judah to meet King David.  With him were a thousand Benjamites, along with Ziba, the steward of Saul’s household, and his fifteen sons and twenty servants. They rushed to the Jordan, where the king was.  They crossed at the ford to take the king’s household over and to do whatever he wished. When Shimei son of Gera crossed the Jordan, he fell prostrate before the king Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhy did Joab have to reprove the King?
What does it really mean to be brave? The story everyone knows about David is his battle against Goliath, where, unarmed apart from his sling, he faced a daunting opponent. Certainly that demanded courage. But at other times David’s courage is shown in far less spectacular ways, and this is one of them. Joab’s speech, which comes down to telling David to snap out of it (5-7), is not generally a good model for speaking to a bereaved person! But in this case his analysis is spot on.
David is turning his back on those who need him and those who have risked their lives for him. He indulges his own grief for a son who had, after all, wanted him dead and had already killed his own brother (ch. 13). Criticizing a king is a risky thing to do, but Joab, like Nathan before him, (ch. 12), finds that David is open to listen. David takes up his role again with determination and wisdom, and shows himself the great king he is as he starts to repair the war damage. We note, though, that he takes the opportunity to replace Joab (13). Speaking out may have a price.
Is there any area of your life where you need courage to act as you should? Ask God for insight and courage.
Lord, help me to see clearly and act bravely whenever You lead me. I want to have the courage I need to be faithful.
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