May 21

May 21

Abner & Ishbosheth Die — The murders of General Abner & King Ishbosheth.

Today’s Readings:

Reading 1: 2 Samuel 2

Reading 2: 2 Samuel 3

Reading 3: 2 Samuel 4

David is beginning to come into his power as king: God tells him to move back into Judah and live in Hebron. At first the people of his own tribe, Judah, make him their king. But Abner, Saul’s general, declares Ishbosheth king in Saul’s place. There is fighting between these two factions, and Abner kills Asahel, whose brother Joab is one of David’s generals. Over time, accusation gradually weakens Saul’s house. Ishbosheth accuses Abner of sleeping with one of Saul’s concubines, and Abner reacts angrily, vowing to make David king of the whole nation. After meeting with David, and being sent away in peace, Abner is pursued by Joab, who murders him in revenge for Asahel.

Then we see again David’s heart for justice and honor. He declares a curse on Joab’s family because Joab would not honor authority, instead taking matters into his own hands. David declares that Joab and his other brother Abishai are too strong for David to control, so instead he puts them in God’s hands.

Finally, we also see the same principles when two of king Ishbosheth’s soldiers kill their king, who is afraid of David. These men think they are doing David a favor (as did the Amalekite we read about yesterday) but they find again that David is completely opposed to those who kill God’s appointed rulers, and he has them executed for their sin.

So we learn from all these twists and turns to trust God when we face strong opposition, and to resist the temptation to take matters into our own hands when we think we know what is right. Whether that is in politics, or the workplace, or in our studies, only God has the authority to overthrow rulers (and others who have authority over us); we do well to remember that in our actions and attitudes today, just as David did all those years ago.

Have a great day!

Mark.

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