The perils of dealing gently

2 Samuel 18:5 Now the king had commanded Joab, Abishai, and Ittai, saying, “Deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom.” And all the people heard when the king gave all the captains orders concerning Absalom.

By this time Absalom has:

1- killed David’s son Ammon

2- schemed to undermine David’s handling of kingdom affairs and sought to gain the favor of the people to himself

3-had himself declared king in Hebron and caused David and his household to flee into the wilderness

4-slept with David’s concubines

5- plotted to chase David and kill him

Most of our accounts of David show him as a man of mercy. And when dealing with our children our desire to be merciful is multiplied. But mercy to Absalom could have cost David his life. Had Absalom been spared, he would have eventually returned to his intrigues. That was what was in him. The kingdom would have been always vulnerable to another upending. Absalom, by his actions, had made himself an enemy to David and this situation had to be dealt with severely.

I am very aware how closely this mirrors my own situation from the last year. Compassions can be so strong that they override wisdom and good judgment and when we coddle and protect that which is at enmity to the life of the King is us, we leave ourselves vulnerable to spiritual overthrow.

Joab, the commander of the army, realized the foolishness of leaving Absalom alive (and actually David surely did also), and Joab did the hard thing that David wasn’t able to do-he removed the threat of Absalom. The Holy Spirit often acts as our heavenly Joab, rising up and taking action on our behalf to rescue our future. Sometimes we are just too weak to do the hard thing. But our Helper helps us. There may be some tears and sorrow, but that will pass and we will see the wisdom of God in what He has done.


Let me see His face

2 Samuel 14:32 And Absalom answered Joab, “Look, I sent to you, saying, ‘Come here, so that I may send you to the king, to say, “Why have I come from Geshur? It would be better for me to be there still.” ‘ Now therefore, let me see the king’s face; but if there is iniquity in me, let him execute me.”

Church is wonderful

Ministry is wonderful

Fellowship is wonderful

There are many things in the kingdom that are wonderful. But unless I encounter the King’s face in all these things, then the kingdom becomes just another way to live. The life of the kingdom is the King. The glory of the kingdom is the King. And it is the inheritance of the sons to enjoy the benefit of His face.

In a monarchy there are times that a king comes before the people. He is dressed in all His royal finery. He looks noble. He looks kingly. His subjects look upon Him with wonder. He may wave the royal hand at the crowd but no particular person can say that He waves at them. The Kings appearance is an impersonal thing for them. It is awe inspiring for a moment, and then life goes on as normal. They are excited when they happen to catch a glimpse of Him, but know they have no right to expect it. The subjects are under His rule, but the King remains an enigma to them

The sons know the King and are known by Him. He knows them by name and every detail about them. The sons share intimate time with the King and they know Him in a way that subjects never will. His eye lights upon them individually, particularly and purposefully. And they know it! For those who are sons, the kingdom isn’t a place-it’s a person. It isn’t merely an eternal future-it is a glorious now. And all the joy of being a son of the King isn’t in the power of the kingdom or the wealth of the kingdom…it is in the face of the King.


Sharing the spoils of victory

David had been through many years of struggle. Anointed as king by Samuel and then chased all over Israel by King Saul, he now lived in Philistine territory as an apparent ally to Israel’s most hated enemy. He kept his military skills sharp by going out on raids, but during the absence of David and the men of war, their city, Ziklag, was raided and burned and all the inhabitants were taken captive by the Amalekites. At the Lord’s direction, David and his men pursued the Amalekites and not only recovered all of their own people and possessions, but they got extra because the Amalekites had invaded several areas prior to Ziklag. David could have kept all the spoil for himself, but instead it pleased him to share it with others.

1 Samuel 30:26 Now when David came to Ziklag, he sent some of the spoil to the elders of Judah, to his friends, saying, “Here is a present for you from the spoil of the enemies of the LORD”–

His victory wasn’t just for him. It was for the benefit of the people of God.

Although we don’t fight physical battles, we definitely are in a warfare and there are victories that we win and spoils of those victories that we acquire. And these spoils are not merely for us to celebrate, but they are for the help and benefit and encouragement of the people of God. The battles you have won—share the fruits of it with others. Share your story. Share your failures and share how Jesus brought you through it. Tell the testimonies of His grace and His power at work in your darkest days. And tell how He brought you out of that darkness. Somebody needs to hear it. Your victory wasn’t just for you.

1 Chronicles 26:27 Some of the spoils won in battles they dedicated to maintain the house of the LORD.

This is what your victory is for- to strengthen the people of God and to encourage them.

To tell the story of God’s victory means that you will have to tell the story of your failure. Don’t be ashamed. Everyone else has failed too. They just may be more concerned about protecting their reputation than sharing the spoils. Tell your story as often as you can and watch what God does.