…Now go out and encourage your men. I swear by the Lord that if you don’t go out, not a man will be left with you by nightfall. This will be worse for you than all the calamities that have come on you from your youth till now.” – 2Sam. 19:7 NIV
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A mutiny had been carried out against King David by his son Absalom who immediately did all he could to establish himself on the throne – 2Sam. 16:21-23. With the help of Ahithophel, a renowned wise man, he decided to further establish himself by arranging a war that will target and kill only David but with the help of the Almighty God and the counter advise of Hushai the Arkite who was a confidant of King David, Ahithophel’s advice was rejected and that of Hushai adopted – 2Sam. 17:1-14. With information made available through David’s mole in the Palace, King David arranged his forces headed by Joab, Abishai and Ittai to confront the forces of Israel led by Absalom himself and his Amassa, his army commander who himself is a cousin of Joab – 2Sam. 18:1-16.
In the course of the battle which God miraculously played a significant role in, twenty thousand men died most of whom were killed in an unknown manner – 2Sam. 18:6-8. One of those miraculous deaths happened to be Absalom whom David had specially asked that the soldiers should deal gently with 2Sam. 18:5. Although he got stuck on an oak tree, he was still alive but Joab completed his journey to death by striking him with javelin – 1Sam. 18:14-15.
Although the news of Absalom’s death was not expected to be good news to King David, his reaction got the soldiers feeling they had done something wrong by bringing an end to the enemy of the king in their show of solidarity and loyalty to him and this did not go down well with Joab who let the king realise that his manner of reaction was negatively affecting the moral of the soldiers as it seemed the King would have preferred all of them dead instead of his mutinous child. He warned the king in the text today, of the chance of a big calamity happening to him if all the soldiers decide to leave him because of his unguided reaction to the death of his son.
Some people are already in that kind of big calamity now or are on their way into that big calamity because of actions, reactions or decisions that bother on sentiments and ingratitude. King David’s action can be summarised as follows:
i. He no doubt wanted his throne back.
ii. He also wanted to have His son back alive not minding the gravity of his offence.
iii. He seemed not to mind the danger he exposed others to because of the action of his mutinous son.
iv. He seemed to want to save his son from the consequences of a very grievous crime against the state at the expense of loyalty of the soldiers.
Most people behave in a similar fashion today and in the process lose loyalty from people who ordinarily want to be loyal. The effect is that they get surrounded by people who will always bring them down and lose the support of those who are willing to protect their interest. The result is that that there will be no progress as nothing will work. It is not possible to surround oneself with enemies that present as friends and expect progress in any form. Anyone in such situation has only one way out and that is to do all you can to win back the confidence of the people that you lost and create a reasonable distances between you and these “friendly enemies”.
Joab told David to go out and meet the soldiers so as to encourage them for the good they did and he took his advice. You may also need to meet frontally those people who have lost confidence in you because you allowed sentiments to becloud your judgement. That person may be your spouse, child or have any other kind of sentimental relationship with you. Accept that your decision to allow that relationship to stop you from doing the right thing before these loyal people is like a betrayal of their loyalty to you. For you who have decided to surround yourself with all those friendly enemies, you may need to review your situation before you experience that impending danger.
Learn to be objective in your decisions and actions and you will be on the path to relief and restoration or sustained progress. May God help your decision making process in Jesus name. Amen.