Saturday after the Seventh Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Posted on August 10, 2019 byunder
Scripture: 2 Samuel 18:1-13 (NKJV)
18:1 And David numbered the people who were with him, and set captains of thousands and captains of hundreds over them. 2 Then David sent out one third of the people under the hand of Joab, one third under the hand of Abishai the son of Zeruiah, Joab’s brother, and one third under the hand of Ittai the Gittite. And the king said to the people, “I also will surely go out with you myself.”
3 But the people answered, “You shall not go out! For if we flee away, they will not care about us; nor if half of us die, will they care about us. But you are worth ten thousand of us now. For you are now more help to us in the city.”
4 Then the king said to them, “Whatever seems best to you I will do.” So the king stood beside the gate, and all the people went out by hundreds and by thousands. 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.
6 So the people went out into the field of battle against Israel. And the battle was in the woods of Ephraim. 7 The people of Israel were overthrown there before the servants of David, and a great slaughter of twenty thousand took place there that day. 8 For the battle there was scattered over the face of the whole countryside, and the woods devoured more people that day than the sword devoured.
9 Then Absalom met the servants of David. Absalom rode on a mule. The mule went under the thick boughs of a great terebinth tree, and his head caught in the terebinth; so he was left hanging between heaven and earth. And the mule which was under him went on. 10 Now a certain man saw it and told Joab, and said, “I just saw Absalom hanging in a terebinth tree!”
11 So Joab said to the man who told him, “You just saw him! And why did you not strike him there to the ground? I would have given you ten shekels of silver and a belt.”
12 But the man said to Joab, “Though I were to receive a thousand shekels of silver in my hand, I would not raise my hand against the king’s son. For in our hearing the king commanded you and Abishai and Ittai, saying, ‘Beware lest anyone touch the young man Absalom!’ 13 Otherwise I would have dealt falsely against my own life. For there is nothing hidden from the king, and you yourself would have set yourself against me.”
God’s kingdom is characterized by righteousness, not by punishment and violence. Satan would have people believe that God is a mean, bloodthirsty tyrant. However: “‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live’” (Ezek. 33:11).
The Lord was not bloodthirsty toward Adam and Eve after the Serpent led them into rebellion. Death came to them, and us, through their choices and actions. God was patient and worked to help them, cover them, and deliver them from Satan. He does the same for all of us who have been brought to faith by His Spirit. Our life and redemption are His goal; punishment and death are consequences that He gives because of justice and righteousness, which work together for a greater good.
Sometimes leaders, like King David, are needed to go forth and bear the sword, other times they are needed to stay back from the battle and show their followers how to be patient and discerning. Sometimes people must be punished under the sword, other times they may be pardoned for the sake of achieving an end that is better for many. In all cases, we must seek the Lord’s will and righteousness, and try to serve His kingdom so that life and salvation may be proclaimed in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!
We pray: O God, whose never-failing providence ordereth all things both in Heaven and Earth, we humbly beseech Thee to put away from us all hurtful things and to give us those things which be profitable for us; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.