Sunday, December 13, 2015

2 Samuel 20

Today's reading in our daily plan is 2 Samuel 20. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • Israel was a united kingdom, but one made up of 12 separate tribes. The twelve tribes often struggled to agree and live in harmony. Saul was from the tribe of Benjamin and David from the tribe of Judah. Sheba (verse 1 and following) is probably upset that the throne had changed from the tribe of Benjamin to the tribe of Judah, and thus his rebellion.
  • Joab had been the leader of David's troops, but here David bypasses him choosing first Amasa (verse 4) then Abishai (verse 6) to lead his army.
  • "mighty warriors" (verse 7) - This was a small group of soldiers (many of them non-Israelite) who had been with David for while and whom he repeatedly turned to.
  • Joab kills Amasa (verse 9), who is like a fellow general in the same army and to whom he should have been faithful. This is the second time Joab kills someone so he can rise to the top of the military.
  • It seems that after killing Amasa, Joab takes charge of the army away from Abishai.
  • A woman (verse 16 and following) from the town Abel Beth Maacah courageously speaks to Joab and prevents the destruction of her entire town with her wise words.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)

  • Joab did not care about doing what was right. For him, it was all about the ends (being at the top of his "profession") not the means (how he got there). That's wrong. Reaching a personal goal is infinitely less important than honoring God with our choices and our personal character. And though it seems like Joab is acting as he wants without consequences, we will see later that he will pay for his decisions.
  • One small act of courage by the woman saved a town and its people from destruction. Often we don't do what we know we should because of fear, but what we're afraid of typically does not happen, and we have no idea the impact we can have through doing the right thing.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)

  • Is there anywhere in your life where you need to stop being like Joab? Where are you climbing to the top, or running after a personal goal, but not honoring God and godly values in how you're doing it? What will you do to change that?
  • Is there anywhere in your life where you need to start being like the woman? Where have you let fear stop you from doing the right thing? In what area do you need to pray for the courage to say the hard truth, or stand up for someone who is being bullied, or speak for God? Talk to God and pray for the courage to do it.