2 Samuel 20-21 – There’s a Time for Everything.

According to the 60’s rock group, The Byrds, there is a time and a season for everything. (Actually, that idea comes from Ecclesiastes chapter 3. The Byrds just borrowed it.) Sometimes it’s time to heal, and sometimes it’s time to kill. Sometimes it’s time for peace, and sometimes it’s time for war. I guess the key is knowing which time is which, and when one time will actually lead to the other.

The theme of 2 Samuel 19 was mercy and forgiveness. But in the next 2 chapters, the theme or season changes to punishment and avenging.

David sends his army to squelch a revolt led by Sheba. It ends in Sheba having his head cut off and tossed over the wall of the city in which he was hiding. Joab takes back his position of leadership by killing his cousin (who had been given the job,) and David turns over seven relatives of the former king Saul to be executed by the Gibeonites for crimes against them carried out by Saul.

It can feel a little like Jekyll and Hyde when you compare 2 Samuel chapter 19 to 2 Samuel chapters 20 and 21. And I admit, I’m not sure I have the contrast figured out. But it seems that all the actions taken in chapters 20-21 are for the purpose of restoring peace and unity.

So, perhaps the lesson is this…the goal should always be peace and unity. If that goal can be attained by extending mercy and grace, we should do so. If not, we may have to pursue more “aggressive” options…but only for the purpose of maintaining peace and unity.

And we must diligently seek God for the wisdom to know which option is called for.

2 Samuel 1 – Are We Talking About the Same Person?

I’ve been to funerals where they were eulogizing the “dearly departed” and thought to myself, “Are we talking about the same person?!” Now I know it would be in poor taste to bad mouth the deceased…even if they were a mean and difficult person in life. But sometimes the things that are said about a person at their funeral barely resemble who the person was in real life. When this happens, you can’t help but wonder, “Are we talking about the same person?”

I feel like this when I read 2 Samuel chapter one. Saul was a man who was egotistical, prideful, paranoid, and homicidal. Yet to hear David’s funeral song, Saul sounds like a cross between Billy Graham and Dudley Do-Right. Saul was a man who repaid David’s bravery and loyalty by incessantly hunting him down to kill him. Still, David sings his praises and morns him as he would his own father. Why?!

Perhaps it was because David saw the bigger picture…the broader plot. David was able to see beyond the injustices that were done to him. He was able to take the wrongs of Saul’s life and see them through a spiritual lens. David related to Saul as God would relate to Saul…with grace, compassion, and mercy.

We need to remember that we only have a small and narrow picture of the person before us. Consequently, we should respond to everyone with the same grace, compassion, and mercy that we ourselves receive from God. Otherwise, these people may attend OUR funeral and think, “Are we talking about the same person?!”