Morning Light – June 15th, 2015
MLx250Today: [2 Samuel Chapter Three]: Maintaining Your Testimony in a Holy War. After Saul’s death the war between David’s house and Saul’s house continues. The two opposing generals, Joab and Abner work at odds with one another and have personal agendas that David could easily become distracted by. In your life you will have people like Joab and Abner who could derail your focus on “seeking first the kingdom”. This chapter will help you understand how to stay your course and maintain your testimony in the midst of the holy wars that afflict the people of God from time to time.

[2Sa 3:1-39 KJV] 1 Now there was long war between the house of Saul and the house of David: but David waxed stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul waxed weaker and weaker. 2 And unto David were sons born in Hebron: and his firstborn was Amnon, of Ahinoam the Jezreelitess; 3 And his second, Chileab, of Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite; and the third, Absalom the son of Maacah the daughter of Talmai king of Geshur; 4 And the fourth, Adonijah the son of Haggith; and the fifth, Shephatiah the son of Abital; 5 And the sixth, Ithream, by Eglah David’s wife. These were born to David in Hebron. 6 And it came to pass, while there was war between the house of Saul and the house of David, that Abner made himself strong for the house of Saul. 7 And Saul had a concubine, whose name [was] Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah: and [Ishbosheth] said to Abner, Wherefore hast thou gone in unto my father’s concubine? 8 Then was Abner very wroth for the words of Ishbosheth, and said, [Am] I a dog’s head, which against Judah do shew kindness this day unto the house of Saul thy father, to his brethren, and to his friends, and have not delivered thee into the hand of David, that thou chargest me to day with a fault concerning this woman? 9 So do God to Abner, and more also, except, as the LORD hath sworn to David, even so I do to him; 10 To translate the kingdom from the house of Saul, and to set up the throne of David over Israel and over Judah, from Dan even to Beersheba. 11 And he could not answer Abner a word again, because he feared him.

The war between the house of Saul and the house of David continues. Saul’s only surviving son Ishbosheth is installed on the throne with the backing of Saul’s general Abner. Abner is a godly man second only to David for his integrity and heart before God. For all his qualities Abner is a man without revelatory imagination. When his master Saul dies the only scenario for going forward he can see it to place Ishbosheth on the throne. Ishbosheth’s name means “man of shame”. In giving this name it was intended by his parents to be interpreted as “man of humility” but because of Ishbosheth’s lineage and his own flawed character he is a man of shame. Being such notice that it is in his nature to project his own flaws upon others. He accuses Abner of a sexual liason with his deceased father’s concubine. He is a man of shame and his nature is to bring every one around him to shame. According to the law of sowing and reaping you can only reproduce after your own kind. If you are unchecked in your character you will reproduce and gather around you people who will display themselves to be likewise.

Ishbosheth is preoccupied with his father’s concubine. Pro. 27:19 says “as face answers to face in a glass so the heart of man answers to the heart of man…” With that in mind what was in Ishbosheth’s heart concerning his father’s concubine? When someone accuses you wrongly it doesn’t establish your guilt it reveals what is in their own heart. When you see something in someone else other than what God sees in them when He looks at them you are exposing what it is in your own heart. You are either guilty of the same or you have a bitter root judgment arising from your own hurts and woundings from the past. We must judge righteous judgments by looking at on another through the light that God looked at those around us when He sent them a savior.

12 And Abner sent messengers to David on his behalf, saying, Whose [is] the land? saying [also], Make thy league with me, and, behold, my hand [shall be] with thee, to bring about all Israel unto thee. 13 And he said, Well; I will make a league with thee: but one thing I require of thee, that is, Thou shalt not see my face, except thou first bring Michal Saul’s daughter, when thou comest to see my face. 14 And David sent messengers to Ishbosheth Saul’s son, saying, Deliver [me] my wife Michal, which I espoused to me for an hundred foreskins of the Philistines. 15 And Ishbosheth sent, and took her from [her] husband, [even] from Phaltiel the son of Laish. 16 And her husband went with her along weeping behind her to Bahurim. Then said Abner unto him, Go, return. And he returned. 17 And Abner had communication with the elders of Israel, saying, Ye sought for David in times past [to be] king over you: 18 Now then do [it]: for the LORD hath spoken of David, saying, By the hand of my servant David I will save my people Israel out of the hand of the Philistines, and out of the hand of all their enemies. 19 And Abner also spake in the ears of Benjamin: and Abner went also to speak in the ears of David in Hebron all that seemed good to Israel, and that seemed good to the whole house of Benjamin. 20 So Abner came to David to Hebron, and twenty men with him. And David made Abner and the men that [were] with him a feast. 21 And Abner said unto David, I will arise and go, and will gather all Israel unto my lord the king, that they may make a league with thee, and that thou mayest reign over all that thine heart desireth. And David sent Abner away; and he went in peace. 22 And, behold, the servants of David and Joab came from [pursuing] a troop, and brought in a great spoil with them: but Abner [was] not with David in Hebron; for he had sent him away, and he was gone in peace.

David and Abner begin to communicate with one another after Ishbosheth offends Abner. Abner begins to negotiate with the elders of Israel regarding the recognition of David as God’s rightful king. Now Abner is serving the house of Saul up to this time but notice he rehearses to the elders of Israel that he knows that David is God’s choice. Why then is he serving Saul and why has he now changed his mind? The only thing that happened that we know of is that his pride has been offended regarding Ishbosheth’s accusation against him regarding Saul’s concubine. If Abner knew that David should be king he likewise should have acted to turn the kingdom to him – BUT he would not do so until he had a personal motivation for changing his mind.

You will find many people will do this. They will deal with you as Abner dealth with David. They know you are anointed. They know you have been wronged. They know that they are serving a Saul leadership – but they will not support you until they have a personal reason for doing so. They are not motivated until there is something in it for them. I had a man in my ministry years ago that God used me to raise up as a deacon. He became an elder in the church and in time we sponsored him financial and helped him establish his own church nearby. He was on salary with us and while he worked for us in the office I could never get him to come to work on time. I would have to cajole and urge him merely to do his job. I puzzled at this and worked and prayed that his good character would eventual emerge. Surprisingly when he had his OWN church to lead – all of those bad work habits and lethargy suddenly disappeared. He was on time. He worked tirelessly. He gave his life to the work of establishing and ministering in the church that he led with our help. He was only going to sacrifice for that which he personally benefited from. Save yourself from trouble and terminate these relationships early even if it makes you look harsh and unforgiving. These types are very good about making excuses and even blaming you for their own shortcomings. They are only biding their time until their self serving motives line up with opportunity to benefit themselves at your expense.

23 When Joab and all the host that [was] with him were come, they told Joab, saying, Abner the son of Ner came to the king, and he hath sent him away, and he is gone in peace. 24 Then Joab came to the king, and said, What hast thou done? behold, Abner came unto thee; why [is] it [that] thou hast sent him away, and he is quite gone? 25 Thou knowest Abner the son of Ner, that he came to deceive thee, and to know thy going out and thy coming in, and to know all that thou doest. 26 And when Joab was come out from David, he sent messengers after Abner, which brought him again from the well of Sirah: but David knew [it] not. 27 And when Abner was returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside in the gate to speak with him quietly, and smote him there under the fifth [rib], that he died, for the blood of Asahel his brother. 28 And afterward when David heard [it], he said, I and my kingdom [are] guiltless before the LORD for ever from the blood of Abner the son of Ner: 29 Let it rest on the head of Joab, and on all his father’s house; and let there not fail from the house of Joab one that hath an issue, or that is a leper, or that leaneth on a staff, or that falleth on the sword, or that lacketh bread. 30 So Joab and Abishai his brother slew Abner, because he had slain their brother Asahel at Gibeon in the battle. 31 And David said to Joab, and to all the people that [were] with him, Rend your clothes, and gird you with sackcloth, and mourn before Abner. And king David [himself] followed the bier. 32 And they buried Abner in Hebron: and the king lifted up his voice, and wept at the grave of Abner; and all the people wept. 33 And the king lamented over Abner, and said, Died Abner as a fool dieth? 34 Thy hands [were] not bound, nor thy feet put into fetters: as a man falleth before wicked men, [so] fellest thou. And all the people wept again over him. 35 And when all the people came to cause David to eat meat while it was yet day, David sware, saying, So do God to me, and more also, if I taste bread, or ought else, till the sun be down. 36 And all the people took notice [of it], and it pleased them: as whatsoever the king did pleased all the people. 37 For all the people and all Israel understood that day that it was not of the king to slay Abner the son of Ner. 38 And the king said unto his servants, Know ye not that there is a prince and a great man fallen this day in Israel? 39 And I [am] this day weak, though anointed king; and these men the sons of Zeruiah [be] too hard for me: the LORD shall reward the doer of evil according to his wickedness.

Joab is David’s general and counterpart to Abner. If Abner had listened to the word of the Lord over David he would have served instead of Joab but he was in the end self serving. Joab accuses Abner of deceiving David but in reality Joab is pointing out in Abner what is in his own life. Joab was a deceiver himself and a thorn in David’s side for decades during David’s rule. Joab kills Abner in revenge for Abner accidently killing Joab’s younger brother in a prior incident. Beware “the informer”. The person that comes to you on a consistent basis to point out the flaws in others. We had a man serving our ministry who like Joab was very powerful ally. He stood up for us and supported us at times when we most needed a friend. He shed tears with us and was very understanding and kind. However in his interactions with us he was continually informing us of the flaws and shortcomings of others. He even considered this his main purpose in our lives – to uncover the failures of those around us under the pretense of “protecting us”. We knew something was not right but like Joab this man served his purpose in our ministry. When he was at our back we had an extra pair of eyes on every situation. The problem with this was that the things he “exposed” in others covered a very dark secret in his own life. He constantly drew our attention to the faults of others to hide the darkness in his own life which ultimately was exposed. Beware the person in your life who is quick and constant in their criticism of others. They are hiding a darkness in their lives that will stain your testimony if you don’t use discernment and listen to God where these situations are concerned.

In spite of serving in the midst of the Joabs and Abners around him David maintains the quality of his testimony. He mourns for Abner even though Abner’s death strengthens David’s bid for the throne. David will not take unfair advantage even of those who ultimately cast their loyalties with his adversaries or sadly their own self interest. David’s heart is focused on one thing – seeking first the kingdom. Remember that Jesus is the “son of David”. When he tells us to seek first the kingdom in Matt. 6:33 we can take David as the example as to how to proceed. There is a throne out there waiting for you in life. There is a situation ahead of you where everything you say and do will become as effective as if God Himself said it or did it. Keep seeking the kingdom no matter what and do not allow yourself to be snared by the narcissistic, self serving people that may be around you.

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