We continue today’s story of David by understanding his desire to be loyal. As is written: 2 And David said, “I will deal loyally[a] with Hanun the son of Nahash, as his father dealt loyally with me.” His motive appears to be right with the culture of their time and continues to show he is serving God loyally, allowing God to guide his actions. Just as Jillian showed us on Monday in her post: “David reigned over all Israel, doing what was just and right for all his people.” 2 Samuel 8:15. We also saw in yesterday’s story, David showed compassion to Jonathan’s family. He showed grace to Mephibosheth by welcoming him into his home. He is performing God’s will. However, in today’s story, the word on the street within the Ammonite community showed a high level of mistrust of David’s actions. The people did not believe that David was being loyal when he sent his servants. They distrusted his actions based on all the prior deaths and takeovers. Hanun listened to and believed in his people and made David’s servants feel as if they were traitors: “ So Hanun took David’s servants and shaved off half the beard of each and cut off their garments in the middle, at their hips, and sent them away.”, all because he listened to the word of his people and thought David’s were sent to spy. How embarrassing (and odd!). The servants weren’t even allowed back into their country or city. This one act by Ammon of distrust then leads to more war, to more people dying and to David gaining more land and reigning over more people. He did not send his servants to force this type of outcome. He was trying to be a good neighbor. What would have happened if Hanun would have accepted this act of kindness? In the end, was it worth it?
It is interesting to think about this story in today’s world. Someone from another town, or company, or neighborhood, or church or even country tries to extend a helping hand or offer a comforting word, and there is a slight bit of doubt in the true intent of the action. A leader or a popular person might listen to their “people”. Then what happens? Do you then catch yourself wondering if you listen to your friends or do you genuinely believe in someone being loyal or above board off the bat? Are you trusting them or not? If you have even the slightest bit of mistrust, it could lead to negative action. You don’t sincerely accept their actions. You might tell someone what you heard and thus spread a rumor or gossip. What transpires from there could have a snowball effect, especially with social media. Is it worth it?
My takeaway from today’s story is to try to accept people’s actions as being sincere and genuine unless proven otherwise. If someone extends a helping hand, take it. If someone extends words of support or empathy, take their actions for what they are. Don’t overanalyze or second guess that individual. Above all else, don’t retaliate but harming the person who has extended a helping hand or kind word! It truly is not worth it!
Spoiler alert: David is about to change…..and it won’t be worth it!