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.

1 Samuel 25 – When You Want to Get Back at Someone

Have you ever wanted to get back at someone, because they were treating you with contempt…even though you were treating them with kindness?

  • Maybe it was a boss who continued to pass you over, despite your hard work.
  • Perhaps it was a friend who stabbed you in the back, even though you had been loyal to them.
  • Or maybe it was a spouse who continued to ignore you, despite your on-going efforts to serve them and build them up.

In 1 Samuel chapter 25, David wants vengeance. After showing Nabel kindness, (1 Sam. 25:5-11) Nabal completely disregarded David and treated him with contempt. David was instantly angry and wanted to get back at Nabal. (1 Sam. 25:13)

And once your heart is set on vengeance, it’s hard to derail it.

But David’s desire for vengeance was interrupted by Nabal’s wife…Abigail. (1 Sam. 25:3,33) First, she takes responsibility for Nabal’s sin, then she reminds David of his commitment to live rightly before the Lord and allow God to decide whether someone gets their “just rewards.” She averts David’s anger, allowing God to settle things in His own way.

How often I’ve been like David and wanted to “strap on my sword” when someone mistreated me. The feelings are quick and automatic.

But God has sent us an Abigail, in the person of Jesus. Jesus comes to us, having taken the sins of our Nabal on Himself. He reminds us we are to live Christ-like in the face of accusers and abusers. If we, like David, will allow the Holy Spirit to interrupt our vengeful attitude, then we will respond in a more Christ-like manner and trust God to administer the right justice. (Deuteronomy. 32:35) (Heb. 12:24) (1 Sam. 24:15)

So when you want to get back at someone, listen to Abigail. Listen to Jesus.

Genesis 27 – Fear and Striving

Some people are afraid of not achieving what they desire. They picture success as getting the right job, having the right house, raising the right kids, and taking the right vacations. They are driven by the fear of missing out on what they want.
Others are afraid of losing what they’ve already achieved. They pour their time and energy into improving and protecting their house. They hover over their kids, desperately trying to keep their grades up, their company right and their mistakes low. They give up family time for work, out of fear of looming cutbacks. These people are hyper-vigilant and hyper fatigued because they are driven by the fear of loss.
Both types of people operate out of fear, and that’s what they’re left with…fear.
In Genesis chapter 27, Isaac fearfully scrambles for something God has already revealed was his, and Esau fearfully scrambles for something God has already revealed was not his. (Gen. 25:23)
We are so fearful we’re going to miss something, and we work so hard to ensure we don’t miss anything. Scripture tells us this is wasted effort apart from God. (Prov. 16:33) (Prov. 20:24) (James 4:1-3) (James 4:13-15)
In his song “Prince of Peace,” the late Rich Mullins eloquently described our fear and striving with these words: “I’d rather fight you for something I don’t really want than take what you give that I need.”
How would your life change if, instead of scrambling to get what you think you want, you instead sought the peace and presence of the God you already have? How would your life change if, instead of trying to protect yourself from loss, you counted it all loss for the sake of something greater? (Philippians 3:7-8.)
Bret Legg is the Teaching and Counseling Pastor at Warren Baptist Church in Augusta, GA.

Looking for Peace

Insurance ProtectionThere’s a shortage of peace in the world. Terrorist invade and ravage our world like cancer cells invading and ravaging a body. Countries are on edge over territorial, trade, and nuclear issues. Racial tensions tear apart our communities and country. Political parties bicker and battle over every little issue. Husbands and wives divorce and fight battles over children and property. There’s a shortage of peace in the world.

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