READ: 2 Samuel 19:1-8 Read the passage aloud slowly. Absalom had rebelled against his father, David, and took over Israel. As David mourns Absalom, the people who defended him and brought him back with honor are listening.
(1-4) Joab was told that David was weeping and lamenting over Absalom. The day’s victory turned into a day of mourning as word passed through the army, “David is grieving over his son.” The army straggled back to the city that day demoralized, dragging their tails. And the king held his face in his hands and lamented loudly,
O my son Absalom,
Absalom my dear, dear son!
(5-7) But in private Joab rebuked the king: ” Now you’ve done it–knocked the wind out of your loyal servants who have just saved your life, to say nothing of the lives of your sons and daughters, wives and concubines. What is this–loving those who hate you and hating those who love you? Your actions give a clear message: officers and soldiers mean nothing to you. You know that if Absalom were alive right now, we’d all be dead – would that make you happy? Get hold of yourself; get out there and put some heart into your servants! I swear to God that if you don’t go to the they’ll desert; not a soldier will be left here by nightfall. And that will be the worst thing that has happened yet.”
(8) So the king came out and took his place at the city gate. Soon everyone knew: “Oh, look! The king has come out to receive us.” And his whole army came and presented itself to the king. But the Israelites had fled the field of battle and gone home.
THINK: Read the passage aloud slowly again. David did what we often do. He lived in regret. He wanted what he used to have and what he couldn’t now have. As a result, he undervalued and discouraged the people who had stood by him and helped him.
- Who do you identify with more: David or the army?
- Consider their feelings: David living in regret; the army feeling ignored and discarded.
- Consider their next steps: David turning his heart to the people around him who loved him; the army speaking up and stating their needs to a hurting person.
If I am to be honest, I’ve spent a lot of time this past year-and-a-half moping and whining about what I don’t have. I’ve tried not to send the message that I thought I was the only person going through this. I know that I am not. But I am not sure if I have done a good job of making sure the people who love me know that I know what this has cost them. I would say it. But then, I would continue with my complaining and my pity party. People have been kind. Most people close to me cannot imagine what it would be like to be in my shoes. And, to be fair, most of them are going through things I do not want to experience either. But, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that because I am in a somewhat “needy” position, I do not have resources to meet the needs of others. Or, even easier than that, to fall into the trap the Enemy would set that would say that because I am in a needy position, I have the right to wallow in my pity. Or, to check out of life because I didn’t get my way. To pack up my toys and go home until God lets me have my way.
PRAY: Pray for yourself and others, especially that they’ll see and implement any possible next steps (for example, moving out of regret and valuing the people in front of them, or speaking up to someone who is devaluing others).
Dear Heavenly Father, help us to remember that, every day, we need you. You are Sovereign and nothing can thwart Your Will being done in the lives of those who are called by You for Your Purposes. When times get hard, and they most certainly will, help us to rest in the knowledge that all things do work together for the good of those who love You. And help us to be patient and steadfast when what is good for us is not comfortable or when it is downright painful. Show us those people standing with us whom we may have overlooked or slighted by our complaining and whining, and show us ways that we can be a blessing to those who have blessed us in our hard times. Show us the reserves we have stored up, out of which we can bless others. Help us not to be stingy with our gifts (spiritual, physical, emotional, or financial); trusting that you will take care of those who you have called to be generous. And, help us to be good stewards of those gifts: not throwing them around aimlessly, but using them the way you would have us to use them, to bless others and to glorify your name.
In Your Son’s Precious and Holy Name, the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
LIVE: Let your mind rest in glad appreciation for those who stand by you. Ask God for opportunities to bless them. Then in the dailiness of life, look for those opportunities.