Skip to main content

Connect the Testaments

July 27: The Tricks We Play on Ourselves
2 Samuel 18:1–33; 2 Peter 2:12–22; Psalm 144:1–15
A great deal of leadership is based on consistency. King David is a prime example: He struggled most when he was inconsistent.
David’s son, Absalom, committed horrific acts of David and others (2 Sam 14–17). David repeatedly responded in a manner unbefitting a king, finally sending men out to destroy Absalom’s troops (2 Sam 18:1–4). As the troops headed out, he ordered his commanders—within hearing of the army—to “deal gently” with Absalom (2 Sam 18:5). With this order, David again acted beneath his role and duty as king: He asked for the leader of a rebellion to be spared—essentially using his own warriors as pawns in a game to regain his fallen son. Absalom didn’t deserve to be dealt with gently; he was a ruthless, terrorizing dictator and had opposed God’s chosen king. His time was up. For this reason, and perhaps others, Joab, one of David’s commanders, chose to kill Absalom (2 Sam 18:14).
It’s unlikely any of us will ever be in a position like David or Joab’s, but their story presents some lessons in leadership. Joab demonstrates that sometimes the “right-hand man” knows better than the commander-in-chief. David’s repeated inability to separate his emotions from the situation (he made this same mistake with Saul) could have resulted in his untimely death and the complete destruction of the kingdom God had given him to steward. If David was willing to be so merciful, he could have invited Absalom back into the kingdom. David’s actions show us that we should seek the advice of others, asking that they help us think through the full ramifications of our actions. If David would have sought advice from Joab or another of his trusted leaders, he probably would have made a wiser decision—and preserved his dignity as king.
Based on David’s track record as a military leader, he would have dealt swiftly with any other uprising, but he ignored resistance from his own son to the point of peril. The events between David and Absalom don’t portray David as a man of love and mercy; instead, they reveal him as a man too easily swayed by conflicting feelings.
Selfishness is David’s ultimate downfall. He wanted Absalom to live because it seemed best in his mind—it was the ideal future he envisioned. In making a move to create that future himself, David jeopardized everyone he should have protected. He even jeopardized his own reign, which itself was a gift from God.
What are you currently being selfish about that has, until now, been deceiving you?
John D. Barry


 Barry, John D., and Rebecca Kruyswijk. Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012. Print.

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Connect the Testaments

March 29: Prayer and Hope for the Anxious Numbers 33:1–49; 1 Corinthians 15:12–34; Psalm 28:1–9 Anxiety, depression, and fear aren’t part of the Christian life—or the ideal Christian life, anyway. But for those who struggle with these emotions, this tidy concept isn’t helpful or true. What is helpful is hope and belief in the midst of tumultuous emotion. The writer of Psa 28 expresses deep anxiety, but even as he does this, he expresses trust in Yahweh: “To you, O Yahweh, I call. O my rock, do not be deaf to me. Or else, if you are silent to me, then I will become like those descending to the pit” (Psa 28:1). Though he feels like God is not listening, the psalmist doesn’t stop pursuing God. He worships and cries for help anyway. In contrast to the “workers of evil” who “do not regard the works of Yahweh, nor the work of his hands,” the psalmist puts all of his dependence and trust in Yahweh (Psa 28:3, 5). Halfway through the psalm, the petition turns to praise when Yahweh answers his pray…

Connect the Testaments

March 28: Risk: Oversold and Underplayed Numbers 32:1–42; 1 Corinthians 14:26–15:11; Psalm 27:1–14 The fears of the psalmist are not our fears today, and the fact that they aren’t should bother us. The psalmist remarks, “Do not give me over to the desire of my enemies, because false witnesses have arisen against me, and each breathing out violence. Surely I believe that I will see the goodness of Yahweh in the land of the living” (Psa 27:12–13). How many of us have legitimate enemies because of our faith? And how many of us experience violence because of the way we believe? There are many problems with Christianity today, but one of the most pervasive is the lack of willingness to take major risks for Jesus. Likewise, there is unbelief in God’s incredible ability to overcome all that we face. We may say that we affirm God’s power to beat all odds, but we don’t face the odds as if that were true. If we did, there would be far more world-changing Christians than there are. Instead, most Chr…

Morning and Evening

Morning, December 2Go To Evening Reading
“Thou art all fair, my love.” Song of Solomon 4:7
The Lord’s admiration of his Church is very wonderful, and his description of her beauty is very glowing. She is not merely fair, but “all fair.” He views her in himself, washed in his sin-atoning blood and clothed in his meritorious righteousness, and he considers her to be full of comeliness and beauty. No wonder that such is the case, since it is but his own perfect excellency that he admires; for the holiness, glory, and perfection of his Church are his own glorious garments on the back of his own well-beloved spouse. She is not simply pure, or well-proportioned; she is positively lovely and fair! She has actual merit! Her deformities of sin are removed; but more, she has through her Lord obtained a meritorious righteousness by which an actual beauty is conferred upon her. Believers have a positive righteousness given to them when they become “accepted in the beloved” (Eph. 1:6). Nor is the Ch…