Today’s reading is 2 Samuel 9-10, 1 Chronicles 18-19, Psalm 89, and Acts 26.
We will keep our focus 2 Samuel 10 and 1 Chronicles 19 where both these chapters tell the same story I will lay out with a powerful lesson I believe God is teaching us.
King Nahash, leader of the Ammonites, passed away and his son Hanun took over as leader. David sent some of his men to Hanun to pay their respects because David and Nahash got along well, and David’s plan was to treat Hanun and the Ammonites fairly and with respect just like he had while Nahash was alive. However, Hanun received some poor advice from his princes saying that David was plotting against Hanun and had only sent his men to spy, not out to give their condolences. So, he took David’s men and shaved off half of their beards, cut off their robes at the hips, and sent them back to Israel in disgrace. Knowing this was likely not going to lead down a pretty path, then Hanun and the Ammonites hired the Syrians to help them fight against Israel.
As some might say, “Fight’s on!” When David heard of this, he sent his military commander Joab to fight against them. As it turns out, Joab and his army ended up in a very tough spot. They had the Syrians in front of them and Ammonites behind them. What should they do? This was a very tough decision. The prospects did not look good. Should they flee? Should they all attack the Syrians? Or should they all attack the Ammonites? They had some tough choices to make. Ultimately, Joab decided he would take the best men of Israel and attack the Syrians from the front and have his brother, Abishai, and other men attack the Ammonites in the back. Was this the best plan and strategy? Would it work and was it the best decision? No one knew and you can assume some questioned and doubted and others were nervous. Then, Joab said something we can all learn from…
“Be of good courage, and let us be courageous for our people, and for the cities of our God, and may the Lord do what seems good to Him.”
2 Samuel 9
1 Chronicles 19:13 nearly gives the exact same words from Joab.
We all have to make tough decisions and choices nearly every day. These choices might affect our career, relationships, finances, and our kids. Life is tough. But Joab gives us some great words of advice here… we have to do what we believe is right at the time for those we love and God.. and of course pray for wisdom first… and then give the outcome back to God.
Proverbs 19:21 reads, “Many are the plans in the minds of man, but is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”
Jesus taught us this Himself in the Lord’s prayer when He said, “Thy will be done.” (Matthew 6:10)
In Joab’s case, his decision paid off. The Syrians fled from Israel’s best men and then when the Ammonites saw this, they fled as well. Our decisions may not always end up and seem to be, or even actually be, the right one. We don’t know for sure. Again, all we can do is pray for wisdom, do what seems best for those we love and to honor God, and then give it back to God.
In the end, “Thy will be done,” and we know Romans 8:28 tells us God will work all things for good. We must trust in this..regardless of if we get the outcome we hoped from our challenging decisions.