WISDOM IN MAKING AMENDS
Lord, give me wisdom in dealing with bruised relationships within my purview.
Read 2 SAMUEL 19:8b–18a
8 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.
David Returns to Jerusalem
9 Throughout the tribes of Israel, all the people were arguing among themselves, 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 to escape from Absalom; 10 and Absalom, whom we anointed to rule over us, has died in battle. So why do you say nothing about bringing the king back?”
11 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? 12 You are my relatives, my own flesh and blood. So why should you be the last to bring back the king?’ 13 And say to Amasa, ‘Are you not my own flesh and blood? May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if you are not the commander of my army for life in place of Joab.’”
14 He won over the hearts of the men of Judah so that they were all of one mind. They sent word to the king, “Return, you and all your men.” 15 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. 16 Shimei son of Gera, the Benjamite from Bahurim, hurried down with the men of Judah to meet King David. 17 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. 18 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
New International Version (NIV)
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“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault” (Jas. 1:5).
After God has recalled David to his service, the full restoration of his position as king may begin. Spiritual renewal must come before occupational renewal. When David first ascended to the throne, it took seven years to unite all Israel (2 Sam. 5:5), but the process is much shorter this time. The northern tribes of Israel recognize his former achievements (9), though some dissent augurs forthcoming trouble (2 Sam. 20:2). David’s own tribe requires more convincing, perhaps because they have seen more closely how much their king has slipped. Those closest to us are often the ones most affected by our unfaithfulness; restoring their trust may involve more patience and work. David knows that he cannot restart things successfully without Judah’s backing, just as those in ministry today know of the need for support among those closest to them—especially when trust has been eroded.
David shows himself generous in making amends. Appointing Amasa, the former commander of Absalom’s Judahite army (2 Sam. 17:25; cf. 1 Kings 2:32), suggests that he holds no grudge against those who rebelled against him, and the move wins over his tribe. It also demotes Joab, who is none too happy about it. We might wonder why David does not punish him more severely (for Absalom’s death), but this would have been problematic for several reasons. First, Joab’s men have been involved, sharing some responsibility (2 Sam. 18:15). Second, others in the army may have felt similarly that the rebel had to die for peace to last, so that punishing those responsible would have been counterproductive. Third, David himself is to some degree responsible in the first place. Sidelining Joab indicates the king’s displeasure without alienating David’s own followers.
Sometimes making amends and sorting out accountability can be a messy business because conflict is hardly ever one-sided. It takes wisdom and generosity for an equitable reconciliation to occur.
What bruised relationships have you had to patch up as best you can? How much prayer was involved in how you proceeded?
Lord, teach us wise judgments as we proceed to mend our torn relationships.