Morning Light – June 24th, 2015
Today: [2 Samuel Chapter Ten]: Keep Walking in Love. In this chapter David sends a word of comfort to a pagan king who has lost his father. As a result the king rebuffs David’s kindness and a war ensues. There are times that you will make an overture or move in kindness toward others that you will be assaulted as a result. David necessarily deals with the situation even though others around him might have thought he made a great mistake. Moving in love and acting in kindness is never a mistake. In the end though David was rejected and perhaps greatly frustrated yet when the battle was over a great victory had been won. Never be afraid or reticent to keep moving in love and kindness toward those around you.
[2Sa 10:1-19 KJV] 1 And it came to pass after this, that the king of the children of Ammon died, and Hanun his son reigned in his stead. 2 Then said David, I will shew kindness unto Hanun the son of Nahash, as his father shewed kindness unto me. And David sent to comfort him by the hand of his servants for his father. And David’s servants came into the land of the children of Ammon. 3 And the princes of the children of Ammon said unto Hanun their lord, Thinkest thou that David doth honour thy father, that he hath sent comforters unto thee? hath not David [rather] sent his servants unto thee, to search the city, and to spy it out, and to overthrow it? 4 Wherefore Hanun took David’s servants, and shaved off the one half of their beards, and cut off their garments in the middle, [even] to their buttocks, and sent them away. 5 When they told [it] unto David, he sent to meet them, because the men were greatly ashamed: and the king said, Tarry at Jericho until your beards be grown, and [then] return.
In the previous chapter David searches out the surviving son of Saul’s line that he might show kindness to him. Now he hears of the death of a pagan king and desires to show kindness again to a grieving son. He not only has the sentiment of kindness but he wants to do something concrete and therefore sends an entourage to express he condolences to Hanun. These acts of kindness in this chapter and the previous chapter show to us the security that David now feels in his position as king. He doesn’t just think of himself he begins to think of others. He doesn’t just feel magnanimous he determines that he will act. How many times have you had a need and after it is met someone, perhaps a close friend says to you – “well I had it in my heart to do something to help but I just didn’t get it done …” Or perhaps you yourself have seen a need or someone suffering and you were strongly prompted to do something to comfort them but you let the opportunity pass by? Hebrews 3:13-15 talk about the importance of acting to exhort and comfort one another promptly before our hearts are hardened to the act. Luke 17:20,21 tells us that the kingdom of God does not come with observation – but requires action on our part. When John the Baptist in Luke 3:11 was asked when the kingdom would come his answer was “do you have two coats – give to him that has none …” In other words the kingdom and living for God is about prompt action in become a resource of love, kindness and concrete beneficence to others. What you will do – do promptly.
Now when David was kind to Mephibosheth in the previous chapter it was received with humility and thankfulness. When he shows like kindness to the king of Ammon he is rebuffed and his emissaries are abused and humiliated. David is not responsible for how others respond to his kindness – he is only responsible for his own obedience. You cannot set your expectations on always being appreciated. The king of Ammon is not a kinsmen to David but he is kind to Hanun without partiality – he was moving toward him in love regardless of what Hanun’s response might be.
6 And when the children of Ammon saw that they stank before David, the children of Ammon sent and hired the Syrians of Bethrehob, and the Syrians of Zoba, twenty thousand footmen, and of king Maacah a thousand men, and of Ishtob twelve thousand men. 7 And when David heard of [it], he sent Joab, and all the host of the mighty men. 8 And the children of Ammon came out, and put the battle in array at the entering in of the gate: and the Syrians of Zoba, and of Rehob, and Ishtob, and Maacah, [were] by themselves in the field. 9 When Joab saw that the front of the battle was against him before and behind, he chose of all the choice [men] of Israel, and put [them] in array against the Syrians: 10 And the rest of the people he delivered into the hand of Abishai his brother, that he might put [them] in array against the children of Ammon. 11 And he said, If the Syrians be too strong for me, then thou shalt help me: but if the children of Ammon be too strong for thee, then I will come and help thee. 12 Be of good courage, and let us play the men for our people, and for the cities of our God: and the LORD do that which seemeth him good.
After the mistreatment of David’s emissaries to Hanun a battle is prepared and Joab the general of David’s host realizes that they will be fighting on two fronts. He instructs his brother Abishai that if the battle goes sore against him that he will help him and vice versa. Your life is not just about the battles that you fight for yourself. There are people you will meet who will commit great acts of bravery, risk and boldness in their own behalf but they won’t walk across the street to help someone else unless there is something in it for them. Be willing to give away from yourself. As a young pastor I received a salary and an income and instead of tithing into my own ministry I felt the need to give away from myself and that which would benefit me. I’ve seen ministers who preach and provoke other to give and give sacrificially into what they are doing but they ignore others around them whose needs are perhaps greater than their own. Be willing to give and to risk and to support those around you whether you stand to benefit or now. Paul spoke of this to the Corinthians when he said:
[1Co 10:24 KJV] 24 Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s [wealth].
As Joab and Abishai stood by one another in battle we should be willing to stand by and support others in their battles. It may not always be our experience but we must resist the temptation to become jaded and just write off the collaboration of faith that the bible so often encourages us to look for and participate in.
13 And Joab drew nigh, and the people that [were] with him, unto the battle against the Syrians: and they fled before him. 14 And when the children of Ammon saw that the Syrians were fled, then fled they also before Abishai, and entered into the city. So Joab returned from the children of Ammon, and came to Jerusalem. 15 And when the Syrians saw that they were smitten before Israel, they gathered themselves together. 16 And Hadarezer sent, and brought out the Syrians that [were] beyond the river: and they came to Helam; and Shobach the captain of the host of Hadarezer [went] before them. 17 And when it was told David, he gathered all Israel together, and passed over Jordan, and came to Helam. And the Syrians set themselves in array against David, and fought with him. 18 And the Syrians fled before Israel; and David slew [the men of] seven hundred chariots of the Syrians, and forty thousand horsemen, and smote Shobach the captain of their host, who died there. 19 And when all the kings [that were] servants to Hadarezer saw that they were smitten before Israel, they made peace with Israel, and served them. So the Syrians feared to help the children of Ammon any more.
This whole incident with Hanun the Ammonite was a distasteful one. David no doubt felt frustrated and humiliated with himself. If he had not shown kindness to Hanun this would not have happened. There may have been members of David’s court who questioned his wisdom in offering comfort to a pagan king and former enemy. There are theologians and bible teachers who have suggested that David communicated with Hanun out of a false piety because pride was growing in his heart over the expansiveness of his kingdom. That certainly may have been the case but there is no indication of it in the passage. The important thing is not to be distracted by overanalyzing choices you make that don’t work out.
There are always people around you who will say “if you had done thus and so – it may have worked out differently…” This is not a true counselor. One of the problems with counselors is the tainted advice they give when you move in greater love or faith than they have. They will come back at you with jaded criticism drawn out of their own pride because they think to themselves that they wouldn’t have done what you have done and therefore you had to be wrong. There are times to limit our counselors, go low and just wait on God in the situation. In this case the outcome of this chaotic and difficult circumstance tells us that God was working in the situation all along. The Ammonites realize that they cannot defeat David and his armies so they call on the Syrians to help them. The Syrians are defeated and as a result David’s border is established all the way to the river Euphrates just as God promised to Abraham centuries before. Was it a mistake for David to send comfort to Hanun? Perhaps – but the outcome was that God made this seeming mistake to prosper and work out in the end to his glory and to David’s benefit. Do not be a careful failure. Failure to act has consequences many times more dire than the outcome of an action that doesn’t seem to bring the intended result. Do not be a careful failure. Be willing to risk. Be willing to stand by others even when they may have acted without full wisdom. Trust that God will come into the situation even when a mistake has been made and get glory for Himself and to bless all those who were not sitting in the seat of the mocker but moving forward in love and faith and in fidelity under fire.
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